ELLISVILLE, Mo. – With just three days left before the November midterm election, Missouri 2nd Congressional District candidate Cort VanOstran is canvassing in the district.
“West County, let’s get some energy,” VanOstran said at the third canvass on Saturday. “We have three days to do what we need to do. We know just what is at stake and how important the next three days are. I truly believe that elections are won or lost in the last couple weeks.”
VanOstran noted how many people have been out knocking on doors, making phone calls and talking to family members and friends. He said that while everyone knows what is at stake he wanted to remind them.
“We have a member of Congress right now who has never held a town hall in six years,” VanOstran said. “Who has repeatedly had the opportunity to do things for our kids, to keep them safer in our schools but has refused. We have a congresswoman who has voted seven times to make it virtually impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to get access to healthcare.”
VanOstran said that in three days, they have an opportunity to send Congresswoman Wagner and Washington D.C. a message that they are ready for a change. He said that if they want to see decency and stability in Washington, they have to send McCaskill back to the U.S. Senate.
VanOstran said that Democrats also have to win some seats and that the 2nd Congressional District is their best opportunity to do so.
“We are statistically tied in the polls in our last two polls,” VanOstran said. “We were up in one, down in the other but both in the margin of error. So every single vote is going to count here.”
VanOstran spoke of former-Vice President Biden and the speech that Biden gave at the rally on Wednesday about character being on the ballot, he agrees with Biden. He also said this is why they need to send people to Washington who are going to show up, listen and work hard for the people in the district and in Missouri.
“Not for corporate special interest, not the people that are funding their big money campaigns but real people,” VanOstran said.
After the canvass, VanOstran took time to speak with Clayton Times.
CLAYTON TIMES: What is your stance on the marijuana amendment?
VANOSTRAN: I think we need to decriminalize marijuana in Missouri. I don’t have a specific stance, there are obviously a few initiatives on the ballot. But I do think that because of our frankly some iniquities in our criminal justice system and also as an economic issue, we have overcrowded prisons. And we are paying way too much to incarcerate folks because of drug-related offenses. I do think that we need to decriminalize marijuana.
CLAYTON TIMES: How do you plan to strengthen the Affordable Care Act?
VANOSTRAN: What I have said is that the very first thing that I will do if I am elected to Congress, is introduce legislation to encourage states, like Missouri, that haven’t expanded Medicaid to do that. The ACA cannot work the way that it was intended to work unless states, like Missouri, go ahead and expand their Medicaid programs. Until we do that, we are sending our tax dollars here in Missouri to other states, that is fiscally irresponsible. It doesn’t make sense to not give Missourians the same access to coverage that folks in other states have. So that’s the first thing that I will do. I think that we need to do other things, like make sure that young people are incentivized to buy into the marketplace, that’s the way to keep the marketplace strong. I think that what the tax bill did in terms of gutting the individual mandate was a step in the wrong direction. I am dedicated to working within the ACA to try to give access to as many Americans as possible. That doesn’t seem to be the goal of the governing Republicans right now.
CLAYTON TIMES: What do you believe is the first step to ensuring schools give equal opportunities to all students?
VANOSTRAN: I think we need policymakers and a Department of Education that is dedicated to that goal. My goal is to make it so that every single child, regardless of the color of their skin or the zip code that they’re in, has access to a great public school. As long as we have folks like Betsy Devos calling the shots when it comes to education policy on the federal level, as long as we have policymakers who are not dedicated to the goal of educational access for everybody, we’re not going to achieve that goal.
CLAYTON TIMES: How do you plan to work under Trump’s Administration?
VANOSTRAN: I am someone who will be happy to work with the President when he wants to get things done to benefit people in this district. If I’m elected, I’m going to join a group called the Problem Solvers Caucus – they have one Democrat for every Republican. I am proud of my beliefs, but I’m also somebody who wants to work across the aisle to get things done for people in this district and I’ll be happy to work with the President when he wants to get things done for the district as well. But I won’t be afraid to stand up to the President when he’s wrong or when he does things that are embarrassing or problematic. Our current congresswoman votes for him 97 percent of the time, never speaks out against him. We deserve someone who isn’t just a rubber stamp on this administration.
CLAYTON TIMES: What do you think is an important issue in the 2nd District that hasn’t already been talked about?
VANOSTRAN: One of the issues that I believe touches everything, that voters care about, is the issue of campaign and finance reform. Since the Citizens United decision, we have a campaign finance system where virtually limitless dark money, big money, corporate money can influence what voters see and hear about elections. I think that that is deeply corrosive to our democratic system. We need to have representatives who are dedicated to reforming our system, I am and that’s why I have rejected corporate pack money in this race. Congresswoman Wagner has taken $2.4 million corporate pack money. I think that we deserve somebody that is going to listen to real people in this district, be accountable to real people in this district. That has to start with campaign finance reform.
VanOstran is due to be at two more canvasses on Sunday.