Peruse my thoughts...
I have a real fear of what our state is doing right now. I know that life is precious. I know that a lot of people think that abortion is killing a human being. This is a topic that is not easily discussed or decided on by anyone. Having been a school counselor and working with young people through lots of traumatic events has maybe given me another view but maybe not. Is abortion right? no. Is abortion wrong? no.
I have a couple of observations about the events that took place in Jefferson City as our representatives voted and passed the abortion ban. The main one is that I question whether they were voting for what the majority of their districts wanted? There were hundreds of women at the House in the Gallery trying to tell their representatives to listen to them and respect their individual rights. That didn't happen.
I know this argument cannot be won by either side. But I question, is the idea of abortion being wrong a religions idea or a constitutional idea? If your argument is based on your biblical beliefs then you forget that not everyone shares your beliefs or even your religion. The United States was formed on the principle of Freedom of Religion. If you believe abortion is wrong, don't have one. You should also know that full term abortions have been illegal since Roe v Wade. The pictures of baby bodies piled up in the trash behind the clinic are NOT REAL, at least not here in the US.
Years ago this topic became real in our family. A friend found out her very young daughter was pregnant and simply was too young to safely carry a child 9 months and was a child herself. The family decided to abort the baby. I know it was a difficult decision for them and they were in anguish over it. That young girl grew up to become a wonderful loving mother. Does she think about it? regret it? guess what- I honestly don't know because that was a very personal and private thing for her and I would not dream of asking!
As a Born Again Christian and member of a Southern Baptist Church, with my husband being a licensed Minister and Deacon I have kept quiet on the subject simply because I did not want to cause discord. When the topic was brought up in Sunday School, my husband always told me to speak my mind but I didn't share my opinions because they were just that, My Opinions. Personal and private opinions. I would never choose to have an abortion and never have had one. BUT, I do not know what my decision would be in some of the situations that arise. I did always say that if my daughter had been raped and ended up pregnant back when she was a teen that I would get her an abortion. Without an qualms if she were under 16, with her consent if she were over 16. Yep, I'm the Deacon's wife you sit next to on Sunday morning. For those of you who say God knew us when we were yet in the womb, to be honest he knew you when you were just a twinkle in your daddy's eye. And why does no one ever quote the verse about God breathing the Breath of Life into Adam and Eve upon the completion of creating them?
My fear of the ban goes beyond the religious realm. After all we are a country that has Religious Freedom to believe what you want and to have no fear of being persecuted for those beliefs. Am I right? But have any of you seen Dirty Dancing? Are any of you old enough to have talked to anyone who was an adult in 40's 50's 60's? I remember my mom telling me about an aunt that couldn't have children because of a motel room abortion when she was a teenager. She almost died and was not able to have children after because of the damage caused.
But doctors and nurses are going to be fined who perform these procedures you might say. But what about the people who youtube how to perform an abortion and set up at the local Motel 6 and perform $100 abortions? You say that would not happen. You are wrong. Women are going to die needlessly.
Do I think there should be restrictions on abortion and when it can be performed. Of course I do. In fact I am probably much stricter in my estimation of when is too late than most. I was also a child development teacher and know a lot about the development of the fetus. The bottom line is this: A woman's health decisions belong to her.
So much has happened since the election in November. Some good, some not so good. While we were able to pass some awesome ideas for out state, we elected representatives who were against the ideas we passed. I don't understand how we could have voted back in the same people who put Right to Work through and forced us to vote it out. Now some of those re-elected legislators have already pre-filed a bill to put it back in place. It has to make all of us wonder "what part of no don't they understand?" The honest truth is that they don't understand and the reason is that the Voters said no to Right to Work but put back in those same people, essentially telling them they support their ideas. Confused? So am I.
It seems the legislature is NOT listening to the people who elect them. They seem to be doing whatever big business is telling and paying them to do. So I challenge each of you to also watch the Clean Missouri Act. I wonder how many of our legislators will try to wipe it out so that they can still collect all of the money they can from supporters and lobbyists? Sound cynical, don't I? But, I have to admit, as I watch the news each night and read news reports from reliable sources I am amazed at what some of our politicians get away with.
The real question is HOW to we inform the public and average person and get them to see past the Democrat or Republican label to the everyday decisions and choices our elected officials are making? We need to help people have 20/20 Vision to see what is happening right in front of them. How do we make them open their eyes, look and truly see? Honest question.
The votes were counted and Mr Kolkmeyer had over 9000 votes and I had around 4000. So although we lost the race, District 53 won because we had so many people turn out to vote in a non presidential election year! I was very happy to see the numbers. It means that we have a group that care greatly about what is going on.
The question I have looking at the numbers is this: Why did the exact same people who voted against Right to Work, for Clean Missouri, for Medical Marijuana, for a higher Minimum Wage and against a Gas Tax vote back in the man who was FOR Right to Work, Against Clean Missouri, Against Medical Marijuana, Against a higher minimum wage, and For a higher Gas Tax? I don't mean to be or seem stupid or snide. I truly want to know what everyone who voted for him was thinking. Honestly! If any of you have any insights I would truly like to hear the reasons. Because I just don't get it...
So, what is next for Connie Simmons? My husband and I are thinking of buying an older house to restore and sell. I plan on continuing to attend Lafayette County Democrats meetings, Johnson County Democrats meetings, and get more involved in our communities. If you know of any groups that would like a guest speaker, give me a call. 816-456-8791.
Politically? I knew that a shy girl, new to politics was a long shot to be elected on her first try. Am I disappointed? Maybe a little, but not really surprised. I am so overwhelmed by the support that I received from each of you and am still receiving that I am proud to announce my candidacy for Missouri House of Representatives District 53 in 2020! We have two years to spread the word. My message for this campaign is that we need to educate District 53 that the issues they voted for and thought were important in 2018 were not the issues that their elected candidate thought were important. We need to help people see past the Republican or Democrat beside the name and vote for the Person who best matches their beliefs. We need to gain 20/20 vision by 2020!
So, keep those signs and keep following my webpage and facebook account. It ain't over til the fat lady sings, and I ain't singin' yet!
If you see any signs up after this weekend please let me know locations so that I can go get them. Those things are expensive and I plan on saving them for 2020!
I had a great night with new friends in Higginsville tonight. We met to talk about Tuesday's election and what each of the Amendments and Propositions meant and if we thought they were good or bad ideas. We discussed people running for office and who would be a good choice. Of course we thought Connie Simmons would be a good person for Mo House of Representatives District 53.
It has been a crazy last couple of months. I have discovered a new me inside the quiet, shy, non public Connie. I have gotten up in front of people of all ages and backgrounds and spoken about what my idea of a representative is. I believe that a representative's job is to find out what their district wants them to vote for and against and do what the majority wants, Not just what you want.
I believe that our future depends on our Children and their education and it is our duty to make sure that is a priority NOW. School funding has been cut over the last several years and we cannot afford for that to continue.
I believe that our elder community need our support and that health care and medicines should be available to everyone, equally.
I believe that our roads and infrastructure are in terrible shape and that we need a proposition that puts all of the proceeds directly into roads, immediately.
I believe that we need to help our veterans. If not for them we would not be voting. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.
I believe that we need to support veteran's homes and rural hospitals that are closing at alarming rates.
I believe that Right to Work was Wrong and we need to insure that it does not try and come back to Missouri.
I believe that it it way past time Missouri passed the Equal Rights Amendment brought up in the 70's. Women who do the exact same job as men deserve the exact same wages, not 20% less.
I believe that the second amendment is an important part of American History and should never be taken from us. I am a gun owner and a pretty good shot.
I believe that America is Great. Always has been and always will be.
I believe that Missouri is the greatest state to live in.
I believe that it is our DUTY to vote on Tuesday. Not just a right that our ancestors fought and gave their lives for. We owe them. We all need to read about each candidate and make informed decisions on each issue. Do not trust any media sources no matter where it comes from to make the decisions for you. Do not allow any political party to make the decisions for you. Read, ask questions, find the answers and Vote.
If you have any questions for me and want to know what I think about any issue, call or text me 816-456-8791. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will always answer your questions honestly and if I don't know an answer, I will tell you I don't and try and find an answer for you.
I have been telling people that a Vote for Connie is a Vote for True Representation. What do I mean by that? Simple. I have always been that straight A student who believed in the American dream and what our forefathers thought of as Democracy and the representatives were people who volunteered to represent those in their area. No pay, just a love of their Country. If you can make a career choice out of being a politician, you are not doing it for Country, you are doing it for money.
I have already had my career and made money and am now receiving a pension that I paid into. Does that mean I would not take the pay if elected. Be serious, I'm not rich like some. But to be honest I think our state legislators get paid too much. Around $37,000 a year but they really don't work all year. They get more months off than a teacher who gets paid far less. What I think is really criminal is that they get a daily stipend on top of their pay IF they show up to work on time! Like it's a choice to be on time? You can't make this stuff up!
But that's getting off on another topic. True Representation is the idea that our representatives listen to our ideas and take our thoughts and wants into consideration BEFORE making any decisions. Have you ever contacted your representative to let them know your thoughts on what was important and what you wanted? If so, did they listen, acknowledge what you had to say, seek any further advice from you? My plan is to do that and more as Your Representative. There are a lot of programs online where I can ask for your input and opinion and even yes or no votes on bills or amendments that come up in our State House. (and I can verify the person voting is in our district) These things are read several times and discussed in detail before a vote comes up. Plenty of time for me to ask YOU what you want. I will then place the vote the way the majority of our district wants. All you have to do it let me know. Keep an open communication with me. We just need to talk about it and share our thoughts and feelings with each other. If there are people who are not online, I will contact them through local newspapers and have them sign up for phone messages from me. The ONLY way for me to represent you is for YOU to tell me what to do.
What a concept! A representative who Actually Represents the People in their District! Um, I thought that was what it was supposed to be... (Maybe it takes a retired teacher, not a politician, to see that fact)
When I started this journey I was upset by our current Representative's lack of understanding his constituents. You and Me. It seemed that the way he voted on issues was simply what his political party told him to vote. At least I assume that you don't think women are not worth as much as men if doing the exact same job. I assumed you didn't want Right to Work, and I assumed you wanted our children to get a quality public education which was funded by the state government and not just our local tax dollars. So I decided to put my own questions out there and here are the results.
Fear of too much gun control was the top worry of issues facing our families. I would like to address that issue with my personal feelings and thoughts of the subject. Remember i will always vote the way most of our district tells me to but I will always be honest and tell you my feelings also. I was raised in a family where my mom was the best shot hunting than anyone else. She would hit the rabbits when no one else could. Yes, we ate rabbit shot on the farm. (tastes kind of like chicken. lol) When I went to college my roommate was a Criminal Justice Major and had never been around weapons so she asked me to take a shooting class on campus with her. I was the best shot in the class. I grew up around guns and dad used to leave one in the barn for coyotes (if you are a farmer/rancher you know why) My children were both on the trap shooting team in High School. Son and Daughter. My son got to use grandpa's shotgun and keep it as a family heirloom. Over the years he, my husband and a couple of uncles have owned and shared several rifles, shotguns, pistols and even an AR.
I cannot ever see myself restricting anyone's right to own a weapon. We own several. I do however think that maybe if some were not so easily accessible we could save some lives. ... High School Counselor here who worked with students that had friends accidentally and sometimes on purpose shoot and kill themselves. My children and I were taught the proper use and care of firearms before we were ever allowed to handle one. I don't think that is too much to ask of any person wanting to purchase a gun. Proper care also includes knowing how to keep one safe from innocent hands. Gun safes and trigger locks are available and well worth the price.
But enough about me, what do you think?
Have you had a chance to watch any of the hearing today? I did not watch all of it. I watched parts of it throughout the day and a sad day it was in America's History. Having been a school counselor for over 20 years I can tell you that girls do NOT report when they have been molested. I didn't for several months when I was 8 years old. But even at that when I told my mom she didn't believe me and told me not to tell my dad. The point is: Girls don't tell because they feel like they must have done something to "ask for it" whether it was dress provocatively ( they just thought they looked cute or hot ) gone into the wrong room at the wrong party (hey I have something to show you in the other room ) took a drink from the wrong person (Bill Cosby isn't the only one with access to drugs ) or simply went to sleep in one of the bedrooms ( and woke up with someone on her ) and so many other situations that barely touch the surface. What we are forgetting is that boys don't tell either. They feel like they are supposed to be tough so they should have been able to stop it, or that people will think they wanted it, or that people will make fun of them.
They result of not telling is that for many the incident lingers in the back of their mind and memory for the rest of their lives. Some can get over it and can move on and have a good life but others relive that event in dreams or flashbacks triggered by a completely unrelated incident. Some people don't remember because of the shock of what happened to them. It is as if their brain stores away the memory in order to protect itself and it isn't until years later that they realize what had happened.
Today's hearing was a travesty. A woman who had gone through years of counseling to deal with an event that happened when she was 15 was made to tell the "world" what happened in front of dozens of people, some sympathetic and some completely antagonistic and scornful. The fact of the matter is that none of US know what really happened and we never will. Only the two people involved remember and if it was a common event for one or the other they may not even remember because 'it was just another party...'
The real travesty though, comes in the fact that Democrats and Republicans again took sides and did not listen to what was being said on either side. I really worry about our children who are listening to this. Girls and boys are being taught that if they tell they will not be believed (I wasn't) and boys and girls are being taught that if a boy does something like this it is ok and just what boys do (and it's not).
This is NOT a democrat or republican Issue, It is a societal issue and it needs to be addressed. People are afraid that Judge Kavanaugh's life has been "ruined" by the accusations, but if Dr. Ford is telling the truth, her life was "ruined" a long time ago.
So many people complain about the taxes we pay for schools and yet those schools are struggling to keep afloat. Some have gone to 4 day school weeks. Teachers have not received raises in years, classroom sizes are getting larger as teachers retire or leave and are not replaced to save money. The question we should all be asking is if this is affecting the quality of education our children, the future of our country, is receiving. The answer is an overwhelming YES. The question we must ask ourselves and our legislators is this: Is education a priority in Missouri? To be honest and I have said I am brutally honest, I think this is a stupid question to ask. It had better be important because some of those kids are going to be future leaders and bosses and possible Governor or President some day. I want them to know how to spell words correctly, speak intelligently, and simply make good decisions based on fact and using history as a lesson on what worked and what didn't.
In our district the teachers average salary is $34,000. They have gone to college, some have student loans to pay back, some are supporting families, some are continuing their education as that is a requirement for a teacher to stay certified to teach. But I digress. The topic I want to talk about is this : Can someone tell me why the legislature each year discusses and argues about whether it should fully fund education? And to be honest they have NOT fully funded education since the Boats went in and started giving money to our schools. Yes, you read that right, "WE" are not fully funding education. Remember when we voted to allow riverboat gambling and everyone was fairly excited that there would be lots of revenue off the boats going directly to education? I have heard a lot of people ask what happened to that idea? Why didn't it happen? Well, it did .
The riverboat casinos actually do give to our schools. Since they started in 1994 they have given 6.6 Billion to Missouri Education. The problem and reason we don't see any change or difference is because the legislature decided that since schools were getting extra money the State did not have to pay as much! So what happened to the casino money meant for our schools? Basically our legislators stole it, diverted it, gave it to another area, who knows!?! We need to stop diverting money for what used to be a priority for our future and get our schools back in shape. The ones who have suffered the most are the rural schools. If we had better, full funding PLUS the extra given by the casinos we could hire teachers, keep more of the better teachers, purchase newer textbooks, computers for classroom use, expand our Band, Industrial Arts, Family and Consumer Science, Art and Business classes. Did you know those are being cut because they are too expensive to keep? Keeping buses running and picking up our students a priority? The reason some schools have gone to a 4 day week is to save money on this...
The time to do this is Right Now. If we don't correct and fully fund our schools we are not fully funding our future. I am a retired educator. This is a priority to me. I have been in the schools and have seen the shortcuts and dollar pinching that goes on; and that was in Blue Springs. One of the largest, most supported districts in the area. What are our small schools doing? Santa Fe in Waverly? Wellington- Napoleon? Higginsville? and the others?
I had the pleasure of going to TWO fairs this past Saturday and being in TWO parades! I spent the morning at Higginsville meeting lots of great people and learning a lot about what is important to people in Higginsville. We drove and walked some of the parade giving away some candy to a lot of kids. It scares me to throw it as the kids have no idea when they are running out that cars are still moving right beside them. Then in the evening we went to Waverly for the Apple Jubilee and parade there. I met up with my good friend Nancy Peters and we ended the evening in the beer garden.
The one thing that really got to me this day was that my teacher instincts are still very much in tact. It amazes me that people are so biased about political parties. This is something that didn't just show itself to me this week. We have had it come up since the first outing we went on in Mayview. People will ask what political party you are with and when you tell them, they will either say ok, I agree, I disagree or some other reply. The ones who make me want to "correct them" as I would a small child are the people who actually turn their back immediately, make a rude comment and walk away, or even the ones who don't even ask but actually turn their entire body away from you as the walk past, which is not easy to do.
I am afraid I get a little upset at complete rudeness. I have always been a person to make eye contact with people and just say hi if I am walking anywhere. I do this as people are walking past my booth at fairs and am not surprised when people do not look back. As a society we are afraid of the people trying to draw us in to a booth where who knows what they are selling! It's the people who I say hi to and ask how they are doing that when they see the political information actually snub me. Simply because I am running on the democratic ticket. Seriously? I am so much more than a D beside my name on the ballot. What happened to human decency, respect, getting to know someone before passing judgement. I bet if you spoke to me you would find out we would agree on many more ideas and notions than we disagree on. The reason I am running for office is because I believe that both Republicans and Democrats have good and bad ideas and we need people who are willing to look at the idea and not the person presenting it. Do what is RIGHT for Missouri and its citizens!
Moral of the story: Don't act like a child and ignore someone just because you THINK they are a different political party than you. How old are you, anyway? Cause you are acting like you are 6 and I am embarrassed for you.
There have been so many things happening the past week I have wanted to share and talk about, but time to sit and write just hasn't been available. I got to watch my 5 month old granddaughter and 5 year old grandson for 5 days and they kept me busy. During the time I had to have Aunt Lizzy keep them one night so we could go to the Concordia Fair. I will be honest. I had not been to the fair since my husband and I were dating way back in the early 80's! It has changed some, but I guess so have I. For one, I was old enough to go into the beer garden to eat some German Food! You may have seen me: I was the one with the white tennis shoes when I got there! lol Thank you, Lord God, for the moisture. We needed it and still do.
While at the fair I spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I have so much respect for these men and women. We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice. Some never came home, but those who did gave years of their lives away from family and friends to serve Our Country. I admit I am a little old school, but when an American Flag is being presented, it is our Duty to show our respect and honor it as we do the men and women who have fought for it. During the Parade several groups carried our flag proudly, presenting our colors, showing honor to who we are. What upsets me is that except for the opening of the parade and during the National Anthem, very, very few took off their hats, saluted our flag or paid proper honor to our History. So, here is the teacher in me saying, in case you didn't know, when a flag is being carried past in any parade or presentation, it is expected that we, as Americans, show the proper honor for it. Salute by placing your right hand over your heart, or if you have served or been active in any Scouting Groups, saluting by placing your right hand to your forehead in a proper salute. It is NEVER okay to leave on your hat, keep blabbing, or turn your back. Sorry, that is just the way it is...
The price of our freedom is High. Today is September 11. Again the price was high for our first responders on that day. Men and women who run into danger when everyone else is running away toward safety. May we never forget to include those who take care of us in our own towns with our respect and gratitude.