Apr 19

Decision 2016. Meet The Candidates: Bradshaw and Asbury

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – This week, we begin our series of interviews with those who want your vote for statewide office in 2016.

Dr. Brad Bradshaw is a medical doctor and an attorney with multiple offices around the state. He’s also a Democrat running for Lt. Governor. He addresses some of the top issues likely to be in the spotlight in 2016 including “Right To Work” and the debate over Medicaid expansion.MWSnap081

Bradshaw also promotes his idea to reduce the size of the State Legislature by reducing the number of State Representatives. It’s a plan he hopes to see on the statewide ballot at some point and believes it will both save money and reduce partisanship in an atmosphere he says is polarized.

Randy Asbury is a former Republican State Representative who wants to return to the Capital City. This time, though, he wants to come back as the state’s top executive: Governor.

He doesn’t see the “Right To Work” and Medicaid issues the same way Bradshaw does. Asbury also takes issue with the role money has come to play in Missouri’s elections and politics. He says he wants to see a review of that and of the trend of legislators jumping from making laws to lobbying for (or against) them.MWSnap082

So far, Bradshaw is the only Democrat to be involved in the race for Lt. Governor. Asbury is in an already crowded, and possibly growing, field of GOP hopefuls for Governor.

We will have more candidates for statewide office on “Missouri Viewpoints” in the coming months.

On the web:

Dr. Bradshaw for Lt. Governor: www.BradshawForMissouri.com.

Asbury for Governor:  www.AsburyForGovernor.com

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/decision-2016-meet-the-candidates-bradshaw-and-asbury/

Apr 12

Sex Trafficking In Missouri: Fighting Back

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – We may not want to believe it but Missouri is among the top states in the US when it comes to human trafficking. Thousands of forced labor and sex trafficking victims pass through our state each week. Some are being taken somewhere else and some are being brought here for exploitation.

When it comes to sex trafficking, the victims could be forced to work in strip clubs, could be the person offered through an online ad, could be bringing in money for an “escort service” or simply forced on the streets to work as a prostitute. The experts agree: it’s happening in most communities and is most profitable when those nearby either don’t recognize what’s happening or ignore it as “not my problem”.

This week, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R) explains the efforts being made to pass laws and crack down on the advertising of sex trafficking in print, online and through wireless devices. Her proposal, she says, also gives prosecutors more legal tools to use against traffickers.MWSnap078

Also, FBI Special Agent Jennifer Lynch gives us a look at federal law enforcement’s work to stop traffickers during a report by Dennise Ramirez. The Bureau provides video footage for this week’s program that gives us a look at those efforts from the front lines of sting operations. Agent Lynch explains why your help is crucial to taking on the multi-billion dollar underground industry that enslaves mostly girls and women.

The realities are brutal and not everyone who is trapped in sex trafficking survives.

Christine McDonald is back on “Missouri Viewpoints” as well. She survived being a trafficking victim for over 15 years. She talks about the efforts to rescue others from the life of underground trafficking and how you can help those who are trying to leave “the life”.MWSnap080

Fortunately, there are two organizations in our state working to get girls and women away from the pimps and into a safe place. While being sheltered, these groups work to heal them physically, emotionally and spiritually so they can make the transition from victim to survivor. The goal is simple: allow these women to live normal, healthy lives free of the abuse, danger and risks that come with sex trafficking.

On the web:

Congresswoman Ann Wagner: http://wagner.house.gov/

FBI – Human Trafficking Info: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking

Christine McDonald: www.CryPurple.com

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/sex-trafficking-in-missouri-fighting-back/

Apr 05

Cuba And Missouri: How Would Ending The Embargo Impact The Show Me State?

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – Is a half century long enough? Would a change to US foreign policy improve business options for farmers in the Show Me State?

The debate happening throughout the country could have a major impact on Missouri.

It’s been over 50 years since the embargo against Cuba began and now leaders in Washington DC and Havana are in talks to end it.

This week, retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Jaime Torres and Dr. Richard Millett of the Foreign Relations Council discuss what that could mean to the nation, to the state and to thousands of Cubans and Cuban-Americans in Missouri now. Because of political and human oppression, thousands of Cuban families have been separated over the years. Still, the island nation is run by a dictatorship and poverty remains widespread.

Many Cuban refugees settled in Missouri and even more Missourians are of Cuban heritage. What would changes mean to them?MWSnap077

Also, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst explains why he hopes Cuba is fully opened up to the US as a market and why he thinks it will benefit Missouri Farmers. Hurst recently went to Cuba as part of a delegation from our state.

Hurst describes what he saw and why he hopes Cuba will open up as a market for agriculture. He also believes that if that happens, Missouri farmers could be at the front of the line to sell food to Cuba.

What do you think? Should the United States ease or end the embargo on Cuba? What do you think that could mean to Missouri?

We welcome your comments on the “Missouri Viewpoints” Facebook page.

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/cuba-and-missouri-how-would-ending-the-embargo-impact-the-show-me-state/

Mar 29

Bullying: The Realities, The Myths And The Impact

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – She knows the loss and the pain that few parents have to experience and she’s working to stop others from suffering through it.

A recent case of violence in a Missouri school has her speaking out again.MWSnap076

Tina Meier, President of the Megan Meier Foundation, discusses the recent high profile case of bullying in Liberty, MO. That’s where a boy who is reportedly diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, was attacked and beaten so badly that he spent several days in a hospital. Among his injuries were a broken jaw, hearing loss and a fractured skull according to media reports.

Meier’s teenage daughter, Megan, took her own life after going through what we now know as “cyberbullying”.

Is there a difference between being a bully and just being rude or being a jerk? Yes. Knowing the difference matters, according to Meier. On this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints” she provides perspective on the realities and the misunderstandings of bullying and also discusses the impact it has on young people and communities. Find out why she believes there needs to be a chance in the law, a change in what school’s teach and a change in the hearts of many parents, classmates and others who are around victims every day.

Meier also offers suggestions for schools, parents and young people on how to deal with bullying when it’s suspected or witnessed.

On the web:

The Megan Meier Foundation: www.MeganMeierFoundation.org

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/bullying-the-realities-the-myths-and-the-impact/

Mar 22

Financial Fraud: Protecting Missourians From Crooks

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – A call. An email. Maybe even a knock at the door.

They come to Missouri’s senior citizens and sometimes result in thousands of dollars lost. It’s a growing problem across the nation. Here in Missouri, both lawmakers and seniors’ advocates are working on ways to protect our older friends and relatives from thieves.MWSnap066

This week, Rep. Mark Parkinson (R) discusses his proposal to change Missouri law in hopes of stopping fraud against senior citizens and the disabled. His bill would give some financial agents more leeway in handling financial accounts and contacting family and authorities when fraud is suspected. If a broker suspects fraud, for instance, his bill would give them the ability to stop some transactions and contact either family or the courts to look into the request.

That idea doesn’t have the support of all advocates for seniors even though they may agree on the overall goal.

MWSnap067

Also, AARP Missouri’s Craig Eichelman describes today’s most common scams that target seniors. He also offers advice on how to spot a con artist and what to do if you think you or a loved one is a target of financial fraud.

AARP offers a free fraud prevention program to all Americans, regardless of age and AARP membership is not required.

Get the details on this week’s program.

On the web:

Rep. Mark Parkinson: http://www.markparkinson.com/

AARP Missouri: http://states.aarp.org/region/missouri/

 

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/financial-fraud-protecting-missourians-from-crooks/

Mar 15

Should Missouri “Ban The Box”?

by Mike Ferguson

How long should past crimes affect Missourians? Do employers have a right to know about a past criminal history before they decide to consider someone for a job?

Over a dozen states and three cities in Missouri have already changed the rules when it comes to hiring in an effort to help convicted felons who have completed their sentences get jobs.MWSnap062

State Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and former St. Louis Judge Lisl King Williams, now with the Fathers Support Center, offer two different perspectives on the effort to “ban the box”. That’s the proposal to make it illegal for employers to ask job applicants if they have felonies on their criminal record.

With some exceptions, the proposal filed in the State Senate would also bar employers from disqualifying applicants from a job based on a prior conviction. A Senate committee voted the bill down recently but supporters say they will continue to push the legislation.MWSnap063

The idea is not popular with business associations, who view the idea as government overreach into a business decision. Supporters of the concept say it’s good for the entire community and state. They believe “banning the box” will create more job opportunities for those with criminal records and that will result in fewer offenders returning to criminal activity.

What do you think? Tell us your opinion on the Missouri Viewpoints Facebook page (linked at the top of this page).

On the web:

Caleb Rowden: www.CalebRowden44.com

Fathers Support Center: www.FathersSupportCenter.org

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/should-missouri-ban-the-box/

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