Lindsey Simmons, who announced her candidacy this fall, has officially kicked off her campaign in Sedalia.
Simmons, a Democrat from Hallsville, is running for the Congressional 4th District seat which encompasses 24 counties including Pettis County. She is challenging incumbent Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, who has held the seat since 2011. Simmons kicked off her campaign Saturday evening at The Venue in downtown Sedalia.
“I grew up in Marshall, my family’s farm on my mom’s side is in southern Saline County over to Cooper,” Simmons explained. “On my dad’s side, my grandma and her family’s farm is in Otterville. I wanted to do it (kick off campaign) in a place that was like home to me and close to my family.”
Simmons told the Democrat one of the reasons she decided to run was because she is a part of an active military family. Her husband is an Apache helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army and is about to go on his third deployment. Simmons said there has never been a spouse of an active-duty soldier in Congress and Simmons said she feels military families are “without a voice and without representation.”
“There are thousands of military families living in the district and there’s just been so many issues for military families in recent years,” Simmons explained. “There’s a big housing problem in military communities…
“On top of that, money for military infrastructure including military housing but also for military schools and military hospitals was diverted to the (border) wall. So a lot of necessary projects that we just need to survive while our husbands are deployed has been rerouted. I really wanted to give a voice to that community.”
Simmons said she believes she reflects the 4th District. She was born and raised in the district and said she also understands many of the issues everyday district residents are going through.
“I have student loans,” Simmons said. “My family struggles to pay for health care. We aren't millionaires, we’re working family. We’re also an active duty military family and when issues of national security come up, they directly impact our family.
“Right now we’re represented by a multi-millionaire who is not part of a military family...Who doesn’t face the same kind of struggles that every day Missourians living in this district face. If you aren't able to understand those issues it’s really hard to represent the people who have them.”
Simmons criticized Hartzler for not hosting a public town hall in five years.
“If you think about what’s happened over the last five years, and to have a representative who's completely advocated her responsibility to the people, that’s just not what a representative is supposed to do,” she said.
Simmons was introduced by Lexington Mayor and former state Rep. Joe Aull who was the superintendent at Simmons’ high school when she was a student. He was also friends with and grew up next to former 4th District Rep. Ike Skelton, a Democrat. Simmons interned at Skelton’s congressional office in Washington, D.C., and later worked at his district office in Sedalia helping veterans get access to Veterans Affairs.
“I know if Ike was here today he would be so upset about what is happening in Washington and probably what’s been going on in the fourth district,” Aull said. “I know another thing he’d of been proud that Lindsey Simmons is stepping up and running for his seat. I see a lot of the same qualities in Lindsey that I used to see in Ike Skelton.”
Simmons has three main values that guide her campaign and her stance on issues: family, fairness, and freedom. In her speech, Simmons explained everything in her campaign will advocate for families, whether military, farming or union.
“We’re going to be fighting for fairness, fairness in elections,” Simmons said in her speech. “You shouldn't be able to buy your congressional seat. You shouldn't be able to buy the presidency. We’re going to talk about fairness in the tax code…Companies like Amazon shouldn't be paying less in taxes than all of us, that doesn't make any sense.”
When it comes to freedom Simmons said she was talking about the freedom to hunt, pray, breathe clean air, love who people want to love, and the freedom to be treated equally under the law.
Several area residents attended the event to hear Simmons and other Democratic state candidates talk and to give their support to Simmons.
“I just wanted to hear what a lot of the different candidates had to say and I knew there were going to be quite a few here...” said attendee Cindy Cramer, of Sedalia. “It’s just the whole vibe of everyone. It gets you fired up and all the candidates I was impressed with...You have to be active in politics these days. You can’t sit on the sidelines and just hope that things will go the way you wish they would.”