Ellis speaks at Democrat Club

8th Congressional District U.S. Representative candidate Kathy Ellis was the guest speaker at the Thursday night (September 28) meeting of the Iron County Democrat Club.

Kathy Ellis, a Democrat challenger for Republican Jason Smith’s 8th District Congressional seat (in 2018) was the guest speaker at last Thursday’s (September 28) monthly meeting of the Iron County Democrat Club.

Ellis is a first-time political candidate from Jefferson County. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who graduated summa cum laude from the University of MO-Columbia and received a Master’s Degree from Washington University.

The candidate presented her views on some core issues, but soon opened the floor to questions from the approximately 40 people in attendance.  

She handled all of them deftly and the following is some excerpts of those questions/responses:

 

What concerns me is the whole medical care issue.... I’m retired now and on Medicare, but what is it going to look like five years from now?

“I’ve had to deal with our health care system my entire career and, boy, I understand what it was like before the Affordable Care Act. You had to fight...to get someone admitted to the hospital after a suicide attempt because they didn’t have coverage.

“The logical place to start is to create Medicare for all.  I really think within five years we will have a single-payer system, but it is not going to happen without a fight.

“Throughout the district, I find what people are interested in is ‘How do we strengthen what we’ve got until we can move to something more progressive?’”

 

I’m over 65 and I’m worried about what they are going to do to Medicare and Social Security.

“Yeah, they say they are going to privatize it, but that isn’t going to work.

“What we have going on in the upper levels of government now is that we have people saying, ‘the model that works for business is the model that works for government,’ but it does not, and it isn’t supposed to.

“(The late Minnesota Senator) Paul Wellstone said, ‘There are things that government does and there are things that government doesn’t do.’  If you are in politics, it should not be about the money or the power. It should be about furthering the good of the people you serve.  We now have an administration that is in service to self in a way we have never experienced before. I’m a fiscal conservation and I find it disgusting.”  

 

How will you finance your campaign? Money is obviously important, but 

transparency is important, too.

“I’m not going to take and dark money.  I will not take any money that I don’t know exactly where it is coming from. I’m going to do the best I can.  I’m moved when a lady comes up and says, ‘I only have a $10 bill,’ and she gives it to me. I said that I would take care of it and spend it in the way it needs to be spent.”

 

You don’t yet have a Democrat rival for this campaign. How are the higher ups in the Democratic party responding to you?

“There is not a lot of money on the state level, but I’m totally impressed with (State Democratic Party Chairman) Stephen Webber. He has been a lot of help to me, encouraged me a lot, I can call him anytime I have a question.”

 

Directed to a group of high school students in the audience:

“I’m running for the 8th Congressional District, which is 30 counties and about 750,000 people. I consider myself to be a progressive - I want to look ahead at what is happening, not where we have been. I think that is the only way we have to grow as a nation. I’m glad you guys are here. There are a lot of young peoples’ groups active in the counties, so welcome.”

 

Could you touch on the two hot-button issues - gun control and abortion?

“I was raised around guns. On Saturday night my dad would say, ‘Come on down here, we need to load some shells.’ So I was six years old and I was pouring the gunpowder in.

“I believe in sensible gun laws. There are certain people who should not have guns. And as a social worker, I have worked with people who would like to use a gun as the primary means of killing themselves. They are going to harm themselves or they are going to harm somebody else. I can tell you, that is an awful lot of people. And with the state of our mental health system, as they keep making cuts, it is only going to get worse. We are going to see more murders, more deaths too horrible to imagine.

“I’m pro-choice. To me pro-choice means it is the woman’s decision with her physician.  It is the law of the land. If I get to the point I get to place my hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, that is one of the laws I will uphold.

“I think we need to respect where people are with being pro-life and pro-life is the right to clean water and clean air and taking care of children that are brought into the world and making sure they have adequate resources and making sure families have what they need to live in the world. It means so much more than the narrow view that we have.

“I’m interested in sitting down with people and talking with them because when you broaden that definition, that makes a huge difference.”

 

What about religion?

“We are certainly mixing religion and politics too much. In my opinion, we need to keep those separate. When someone starts preaching from the pulpit about how you are supposed to vote, that’s dead wrong.”

 

If you are elected and (Federal Special Prosecutor) Robert Mueller seeks some indictments, you might be right in the thick of things.  What is your take on all that?

“It would probably be the proudest moment of my life to vote for impeachment.

“We are in some serious trouble. There is a lot that needs to be corrected. I sincerely hope there is a way that happens. Stephen Webber was telling me that we are now on the radar; that because of all the grass-roots organizations that have popped up in Missouri, that we are players in the next election. I have also had the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of young people who are running for office. Our Auditor, Nicole Galloway, is fabulous. Their hearts are in the right place and they are willing to do whatever they can to bring this state where it needs to be in terms of services, health care, education.”