Area Democrats had the chance to hear from three statewide candidates Monday night, who all said it’s time for change in Jefferson City.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who is running for governor, Attorney General candidate Rich Finneran and Secretary of State candidate Yinka Faleti spoke during the Pettis County Democrat Party Headquarters opening at 2650 S. Limit Court, as well as Lindsey Simmons, candidate for Missouri’s 4th District.

All four candidates secured their nominations during last week’s primary election. Galloway will face incumbent Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who was appointed to the position while serving as lieutenant governor when former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in 2018. Galloway was also appointed to her position as auditor in 2015 following the death of Tom Schweich. She was re-elected in 2018, making her the only female and Democrat in statewide office.

Voters also decided to expand Medicaid in Missouri in last week’s primary. Galloway said she plans to “respect the will of the voters” and implement Medicaid expansion if elected in November. 

“I believe in Medicaid expansion and believe working Missourians should have access to health care,” Galloway told the Democrat after her speech. “Gov. Parson disagrees, I mean he campaigned against Medicaid expansion, he has said he would raise taxes and gut other programs if Medicaid expansion passed — we should take his word for it. I certainly do. I will not raise taxes and I will not gut other programs to implement Medicaid expansion. It doesn’t have to be done.”

Galloway said a “reset” is needed for Missouri’s coronavirus strategy, noting economic recovery cannot happen until the virus spread is contained. 

“Our containment of it, our defeat of it, and our economic recovery from it will be the defining issue of our times,” she told the Democrat. “There have been so many cracks in our system because of the failed policies coming out of Jefferson City and these cracks have gotten wider under the coronavirus. Gov. Parson had his chance to lead us, he has failed, and now it is time for a change.”

During her speech, Galloway said she has continually heard from constituents during her campaign that they feel the system is broken or rigged. She said voters taking Medicaid expansion into their own hands after the Missouri legislature didn’t expand it is an example of a rigged system.

“People are not happy with the direction of this state and they want a new way and I’m feeling that energy no matter where I travel in this state,” Galloway told the Democrat. “People are energized. You can see it here, you can feel it here by the number of folks who turned out on a very rainy Monday evening to open this county office.

“... People are tired of the system not working, they’re tired of the system being rigged to favor special interests, meanwhile working families are not getting what they need to succeed. Working families are worried about education, health care, a good job they can provide for their family. Gov. Parson is part of the old way, the entrenched system and I’m offering a new way.”

Galloway has degrees in applied mathematics and economics from Missouri S&T and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner. Through her work in the auditor’s office, she said she has found more than $350 million in government waste and abuse, and her audits led to 60 criminal counts against public officials in Missouri.

“We cannot just go back to where we were on the eve of this (coronavirus) crisis because where we were wasn’t good enough for too many people,” Galloway said as she concluded her speech. “I have never settled for things just being the way they are as your state auditor. I have always fought for government to work better for you so you have an opportunity for your family, a good opportunity. “

Due to time constraints, comments from the other candidates could not be included in the print edition. Additional information will be added to this online version.

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Nicole Cooke is the editor for the Sedalia Democrat, overseeing all newsroom operations and assisting with news coverage of Sedalia and Pettis County. She can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.

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