By Dennis Minich
Democrat Renee Hoagenson, who is challenging Vicky Hartzler in the race for the Missouri Fourth Congressional District, was in Harrisonville for the Burnt District Festival and took the opportunity to share her thoughts and plans if elected to the position.
“My main objective is getting the corruption out of Washington. There are three planks: campaign finance reform, lobbying and redistricting. We need to get back to a government that serves us,” Hoagenson said.
The ultimate goal, she said, is to improve the economic prospects of working Americans.
“We also need to fix the foundation of families. The current congress is wanting to cut Medicare, cut taxes and we can’t afford the products we need.” she said.
Hoagenson is a small business owner who currently owns a magazine in Sedalia. She grew up in Warrensburg and Greenwood before moving to Columbia where she still lives. She is a single mother of three. One is a post-grad at MU, another is an undergrad at MU and the third is a student at Columbia Rock Bridge.
She said as a small business owner she understands things like increases in the minimum wage can have a negative impact on small business. “I know pay raises can be an issue, but it can be done in a way that small businesses will thrive.
“We need to invest in people. If you work 40 hours a week you should make a livable wage. We need to help those in need. Government should be for all of the people, but now they don’t care about the individual or the small business, they are focused on themselves and the big corporations, the 1 percent.”
Hoagenson said she would bring an independent voice to Congress.
“I like the Democratic Party message of hope and generosity. Meetings are always about how to help people. That is a lot of why I am a Democrat.
“If I could run as an independent and have a realistic chance of winning, I would,” she said. “There’s a sports mentality about politics and that does not work. We need to get rid of that the whole way down, to work together.”
She said a good example of working together was the recent campaign to overturn Right-To-Work legislation.
“Right-to-Work was a good example of the people coming together because they supported the issue. And because of it, we now have protection for pay and benefits and our workers can work in a much safer work environment,” she said.
Hoagenson said in principle, she supports term limits for Congress.
“I am actually for term limits. But the problem then is you just create more powerful lobbyists and you can lose a lot of intellectual skill,” she said.
A political newcomer, Hoagenson said running for Congress was a big first step.
“I thought about running for an office on the more local level but when I looked who was elected to those spots in 2016 I saw they were all good Democrats and there was no reason to create a primary battle for no reason,” she said. “I practice prayer and meditation and I asked if this was my race. I know that it is because I know who I am.
“Everything has opened up as I moved forward. I have been supported in every way; spiritually, making new friends and financially. I’ve had 4,000 donations and have had over $400,000 donated. There has also been a little bit of union money, but mostly it is from individual donors because all of us are in this together.”
To that end, she said she wants her constituents to be in involved in voting decisions.
“I will always be accessible to all constituents. I want people to be able to talk to me about how I voted. We should have a conversation about how I should vote before I vote. People do not believe we are being represented and I am very tuned into that.” she said.
Hoagenson said the public has been very receptive to her, including in Cass County.
“As I’ve traveled, people have gotten to know me and like me. We have a lot of fans on social media, 11,500 likes on Facebook and 10,000 followers on Twitter. People are very aware because we have a very populist message.
“It’s been a great experience and Cass County has been a tremendous support,” she said.