Kathy Ellis

Kathy Ellis | Democrat | District 8

Public Health

  1. How would you go about addressing health disparities and similar healthcare needs among Missouri’s women, where the maternal mortality rate exceeds the national average and disproportionally impacts women of color?
    As a Social Worker for over 40 years, this issue is of key importance to me. I support expanding and extending federal funding our Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide comprehensive healthcare services, including OB/GYN care, primary care, dental care, behavioral health care, and drug and alcohol services; these health centers serve as a primary entry point of care for many individuals, especially women who are seeking maternal care. I also support the creation of a home visitation program by nurses to monitor pregnancy and post-partum care. This program would also allow for the delivery of nutritious food to individuals who are pregnant, which is a large need in our rural and underserved communities.
  2. What policies would you support to increase the availability of mental health personnel and services in rural and underserved parts of the state where COVID-19 has exacerbated widespread stress and anxiety?
    We must expand our network of mental health providers by allowing individuals to access no-cost or low-cost social work training programs, including Master of Social Work programs, provided they are willing to work two years in a rural or underserved community. We must also work to expand infrastructure, including Broadband, into our rural communities so that telehealth is an outreach option. All of this can be combined with an expansion and extension of federal funding for our FQHCs.
  1. How do you propose supporting efforts to equitably combat opioid use and fatalities?
    We must crack down on providers who over prescribe opioids, and on those who sell opioids to individuals. First, Missouri needs a prescription drug monitoring program. It is a shame that we are the only state in the country who does not have a program such as this. We must also develop and fund district-wide networks of inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities that support individuals facing addiction and the family members of those individuals. By utilizing tuition reimbursement programs for mental health providers, we can require psychiatric residency students to serve two years in a rural facility, thus increasing access and care.

Agriculture

  1. What policies would you support to enable agricultural producers to provide a healthy, affordable, and sustainable food supply while mitigating negative environmental or health impacts?
    We must crack down on providers who over prescribe opioids, and on those who sell opioids to individuals. First, Missouri needs a prescription drug monitoring program. It is a shame that we are the only state in the country who does not have a program such as this. We must also develop and fund district-wide networks of inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities that support individuals facing addiction and the family members of those individuals. By utilizing tuition reimbursement programs for mental health providers, we can require psychiatric residency students to serve two years in a rural facility, thus increasing access and care.
  1. How would you make programs and funding in the next Farm Bill science-based?
    We must use the latest information and methods from our scientific agencies on all levels, and we must introduce these new programs to the public in a way that educates and informs. Part of this conversation must be supporting STEM programs in schools so that the greater public has an understanding of science-informed policy.
  2. What is the federal government’s role in protecting farmers and landowners from extreme weather events?
    The federal government’s role must absolutely be to protect our small farmers and landowners. The government must provide preventative information necessary to ensure that farmers and landowners make decisions on the basis of protection and conservation of the land. We must also implement education programs in rural areas about the impact of climate change on the environment and our farms, and how best practices can monitor and remediate current problems. Overall, our farmers must be at the table for any decisions about this topic, and they should be encouraged to provide input on what is best and feasible for our communities.
  3. How would you propose funding and supporting long-term research on climate-smart and regenerative agriculture practices?
    The federal government’s role must absolutely be to protect our small farmers and landowners. The government must provide preventative information necessary to ensure that farmers and landowners make decisions on the basis of protection and conservation of the land. We must also implement education programs in rural areas about the impact of climate change on the environment and our farms, and how best practices can monitor and remediate current problems. Overall, our farmers must be at the table for any decisions about this topic, and they should be encouraged to provide input on what is best and feasible for our communities.

Environment & Energy

  1. How will you ensure that science and research play a critical role in monitoring and remediating water quality in Missouri’s impaired streams, rivers, and lakes?
    The federal government’s role must absolutely be to protect our small farmers and landowners. The government must provide preventative information necessary to ensure that farmers and landowners make decisions on the basis of protection and conservation of the land. We must also implement education programs in rural areas about the impact of climate change on the environment and our farms, and how best practices can monitor and remediate current problems. Overall, our farmers must be at the table for any decisions about this topic, and they should be encouraged to provide input on what is best and feasible for our communities.
  2. What role should renewable sources of energy play for energy consumption in Missouri?
    Safe and well-planned sources of renewable energy should be a part of any plan for the future of Missouri. In rural areas, expansion of renewal energy may create expanded environmental poverty in rural areas, and may further complicate the challenges of residents who are unable to afford current sources of energy. Ensuring equal access to renewable energy should be a priority of any program moving forward, and ensuring continued well-paying jobs for individuals is key in any renewable energy program moving forward.
  1. How would you support businesses, organizations, municipalities, public utilities, and individual home owners to implement more sustainable waste-management and energy-use practices?
    I support creating county-level committees across the entire district to receive the input of individuals before making any decisions. I would ensure that these committees include a broad coalition of stakeholders in the district.
  2. Research shows that floods are increasing in intensity, forest productivity is diminishing, and mosquito and tick-borne illnesses are becoming more prevalent in Missouri – What policies would you support to protect ecotourism and environments under these changing conditions?
    Ecotourism is vital to many of our communities, and can provide scientific knowledge about external environments and how other regions are addressing challenges facing our region.

STEM Education and Workforce Development

  1. What advisory mechanism would you implement to ensure that scientific findings are a critical voice in your policy-making process?
    I would make it a point to seek out top scientists in their fields to ensure that their scientific findings are a critical voice in any policy-making process. I would combine their information with the information provided by the local district committees to ensure that any decision made is both science-based and community-based.
  2. Science and technology are increasingly key economic components. What policies would you support or introduce to make such industries a greater part of Missouri’s economy and ensure workers are prepared for jobs in this sector?
    I would make it a point to seek out top scientists in their fields to ensure that their scientific findings are a critical voice in any policy-making process. I would combine their information with the information provided by the local district committees to ensure that any decision made is both science-based and community-based.
  1. In an age dominated by complex science and technology, how can we ensure that students receive adequate STEM education?
    One major problem in our rural and underserved areas is the lack of funding for programs like robotics, coding, and other important technological training. If we want students to receive STEM training and education – which I would argue that we do – then we must provide federal funding that specifies usage for technology in our rural communities. We also must include support and training for teachers who are new to these programs and are expected to teach them to our students.

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