The current mental health system in our state and the nation is struggling at best and broken at worst. Recent budget issues have led states to reduce the availability of community mental health services and also reduce the number of beds available for psychiatric care.
One study from 2012 indicates almost 40% of adults with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder received no treatment whatsoever in the previous year. Many of these end up in emergency rooms, jail or in homeless shelters placing larger burdens on entities that are already stretched to their limits.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 15% of all state prisoners and 24% of jail inmates are psychotic.
Suicide is a tragedy that claims 38,000 victims a year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention with about 90% of these being related to mental illness.
The total cost to the economy has been estimated at least $444 billion a year. Only 1/3 of that goes to medical care, the remainder comes from disability payments and the lost productivity of individuals who cannot work due to their mental illness. This total does not include caregivers lost earnings or the tax dollars spent to build the prisons where many of the mentally ill wind up.
For me, it’s also personal. My daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2013. Watching and helping her seek care and seeing firsthand the shortcomings and lack of resources available led me to the decision to run for office.
I will work to see that those who need care will get it allowing them to continue in or return to society and become productive citizens. It’s time to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health issues and quit avoiding the issue.
Higher taxes are a drag on the economy. Increasing the corporate tax rates will only mean dollars that the company cannot spend on payroll, expansion and growth or innovation. Increasing personal taxes means dollars that you cannot spend on a new(er) car, home improvements, a vacation, or saving for retirement.
I will work to make sure that our taxes are kept as low as possible.
Similar to taxes, increasing regulatory burdens only serve to stifle economic development and entrepreneurship. Companies spend ever increasing amounts on meeting regulatory requirements or individuals don’t start new companies because of the burden of regulations. These are jobs that do not get created, raises that do not get paid, expansion that does not happen and economic growth that gets stifled.
I will work to limit or remove these burdensome regulations so that our economy can grow.
When our economy grows, so do jobs and job opportunities. To help the economy grow we need to cultivate an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and the growth of existing companies. This comes from reducing taxes and burdensome regulations as well as providing incentives for companies to call Columbia home, and for companies that are currently here to be able to give their employees raises as well as grow and expand.
A good education is the cornerstone of a person’s life if they are to be productive members of our society. We need to embrace the new technologies that are emerging to engage and inspire our young people. Rather than trying to deny them how can we use them?
MIZZOU is a cornerstone of the economy in Columbia. It is a national leader in innovation and education and we must make sure it has the resources it needs to continue to grow and lead. The dark cloud on the horizon of a college education is the issue of student debt. How can we help those who want to achieve a college education do so without incurring thousands to hundreds of thousands of debt that is payable the minute they walk off the stage at graduation? That is a question that must be addressed.
A college education is an admirable goal, yet there is a constant and even growing demand for individuals with training and skills to work with their hands, a skilled trade. We need electricians to wire our houses, not electrical engineers; construction workers to build the houses, not architectural engineers; electrical lineman to repair downed power lines; the list goes on. Some call it the skills gap. Jobs are there, there are just not enough qualified individuals available to fill them. We can work to close that skills gap by making sure that training is available in Columbia and helping individuals find it.
I am ardently pro-life. My daughter is adopted and when she became pregnant in 2014 her decision to give the baby up for adoption helped answer the prayers for a childless military couple in North Dakota. I will work to protect the rights of the unborn.
Don is proud to be endorsed by MISSOURI RIGHT TO LIFE.
I am a proud Life Member of the National Rifle Association. More gun control doesn’t lead to less crime, it creates more victims. I will fight any further encroachment on our 2nd Amendment rights.