By Eric Bohl
Missouri’s 2018 U.S. Senate campaign has seen plenty of mudslinging and partisan attacks from both sides. But beneath the negative ads, each candidate has a significant record of actions against which voters can judge them. Our state’s “Show Me” motto speaks to our independent streak and the importance we place on results over empty words. For rural Missourians, the candidates’ actions on government overregulation are what set the two apart.
Rural Missourians value their freedoms and personal liberties. This is why government overregulation strikes such a chord with farmers and rural residents. They believe they know how to take care of their land and businesses better than the government.
The prime example of regulatory overreach during the Obama administration was the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule. This regulation would extend the federal government’s power to regulate land far beyond truly “navigable” waters as the law allows. Missouri Farm Bureau analysis showed that the rule would make over 95 percent of our state potentially subject to EPA regulation.
Senator McCaskill has publicly stated that she supports President Trump’s efforts to repeal WOTUS, but her actions tell a different story. In 2015 she voted no on S.J. Res. 22, a one-sentence bill that would have nullified WOTUS. This was not a trick vote – it was a straight up or down vote on WOTUS.
Attorney General Hawley has also publicly stated that he supports President Trump’s efforts to repeal WOTUS. However, his actions match his words. In April 2017, on behalf of the State of Missouri, Hawley filed a merits brief in the Supreme Court of the United States challenging WOTUS. At the time, Hawley said the rule was “unauthorized, unconstitutional, and unbelievably damaging for Missouri farmers.” In June 2017, he joined a 20-state coalition requesting that the EPA allow the states to govern their own water resources when reevaluating the WOTUS rule.
Hawley’s actions back up his words. Rather than say one thing but then do another, Josh Hawley did exactly what he promised he would do on behalf of Missouri farmers. Senator McCaskill had her chance to “show us” that she means what she says, but she voted with Bernie Sanders, Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer to keep WOTUS instead.
Missourians deserve straight dealing from their elected officials. Josh Hawley’s actions show that he says what he means and means what he says. On Tuesday, Missourians will show the rest of the country why we’re still the Show Me State when they make Josh Hawley their next Senator.
(Eric Bohl, of Columbia, Mo., is Director of Public Affairs for Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.)