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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Kander Touts Support for Middle Class, Blasts Congress' Vacation

Jason Kander
Scott Harvey

Missouri Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Jason Kander says Congress should be fired for not doing its job.

During a stop in Springfield Wednesday, Kander railed against both the House and Senate for taking time off before solving important issues. Congress is currently in week two of a seven week recess, which Kander said “they had not earned.” He pointed to items like failure to pass a funding package to protect against the Zika virus.

“This is something that puts women across our state at risk of giving birth to children with profound birth defects and it is weeks away from being here in Missouri. But rather than pass the legislation to combat it they [the Senate] decided that they deserved a break.”

Kander’s stop was one of 50 as part of a statewide bus tour he’s calling #FixCongress, which also takes aim at his expected opponent in November’s general election, Republican Senator Roy Blunt. For his part, Blunt has also been critical of the Zika funding impasse, calling Democrats’ block of the bill earlier this month “shameful.” Party leaders had expressed frustration with provisions they said Republicans added to the $1.1 billion package.

Kander, who is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, also Wednesday blasted Congress for not conducting a “serious debate” about an authorization for use of military force against ISIS. He called the terrorist group the U.S’s greatest national security threat.

Kander accuses Blunt of bowing to the special interests and not working for the people.  

If elected, Kander says he’ll work to make college more affordable, cut taxes for the middle class, and help establish equal pay for woman.

“We can do all that if we elect a senator who understands that America is at its best when our middle class is at its strongest and it is not unreasonable for us to expect the people we elect to do the jobs that we elected them to do,” said Kander.

Kander is skipping this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to campaign. Blunt, who did not attend his party’s recent convention in Cleveland, is set to hit the campaign trail next week.

Meanwhile, Kander told reporters Wednesday he is standing by his decision not to disqualify a cigarette tax initiative from the November ballot even after a state appeals court rewrote the summary language.

“That language that the court did is gonna appear on the ballot if it makes the ballot. But as for the people who signed it, our reading of the law is that those signatures were valid at the time and should be counted and then the court’s change would be what would be represented on the ballot.”

Within the past few days, two new lawsuits have been filed by opponents of the initiative. 

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