Vote yes on Amendment 2, Tishaura O. Jones for STL treasurer

We have another full month of endorsements before the Tuesday, August 4 primary election. This will be an important election, and we hope people are checking to see that their voter information is current with the local election authority and with the State of Missouri. Last week we endorsed Yinka Faleti for Missouri secretary of state, wanting an upgrade in our state’s highest election authority. We also endorsed Nicole Galloway for Missouri governor. Galloway has distinguished herself from the incumbent Republican governor in supporting Medicaid expansion, which Parson opposes. If we vote to pass Medicaid expansion — as Amendment 2 on the August 4 ballot — we will need Galloway in power to implement this crucial measure rather than stifle it, as Republicans are trying to do with other progressive ballot initiatives that have passed statewide.

Voting yes on Amendment 2 for Medicaid expansion in Missouri may be the single most important reason to go to the polls on August 4. We have posted and printed more than a dozen pieces arguing for Medicaid expansion, which the Republican-dominated Missouri Legislature refuses to do and which voters may now do themselves by passing Amendment 2. Advocates for Medicaid expansion argue that adding health coverage for more people through this mechanism is both ethical — health care should be a human right — and economical. Not only does the federal government absorb 90% of the cost through the Affordable Care Act, but expanding coverage also adds health care jobs, which would stimulate other job growth. Also, we are already paying for this in other ways. Federal taxes we pay are going to states that have expanded Medicaid but not to Missouri, and low-income people who can’t afford health coverage still, eventually, incur health care expenses that they can’t afford in the expensive emergency phase of treatable conditions.

Truly, the only argument against Medicaid expansion (Amendment 2 on the August 4 ballot) is the Republicans’ failed argument that health care is a private matter: You get what you pay for and let the market sort it out. Governor Parson, when he was still on the verge of being a COVID-19 denier, said there is not much that government can do about a virus. Now anyone except a pandemic denier should recognize that government must address public health as part of its core functions. Health is a public, not merely private, concern and health care is a critical public investment. We the people can lead the way toward making this essential change in the philosophy of government by voting YES ON AMENDMENT 2 TO EXPAND MEDICAID IN MISSOURI.

In doubling up endorsements, we paired Amendment 2 with the St. Louis treasurer race since they are both no-brainer decisions where the thinking in our brain will surprise no one. Incumbent Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones has done remarkable things with an office that could be nothing more than a patronage job farm. Thanks to her leadership, thousands of St. Louis children now think of themselves as investors in their future education through the College Kids savings program. She started an Office of Financial Empowerment knowing that solidifying finances is crucial to bettering our community. She banned the felon box on job applications and raised the minimum wage in her office. She moved to protect her staff (and the public impacted by her staff) from the pandemic a week earlier than any other public official in the region or state. And she continues to be a progressive thought leader with the unapologetic courage of a smart Black woman and mother, calling on the city to Close the Workhouse, restrain and reform the police, and protect and develop our international airport as a public asset.

Her opponent, Jeffrey Boyd, currently an alderman, has two things going for him. He is not Tishaura Jones — and, make no mistake, there is a political faction (with its own advocacy daily newspaper) committed to stopping her rise. And he says he would end the practice established by the City Charter of administering the city’s hefty parking revenues within the Treasurer’s Office. To these two points, we say yes, Jeffrey Boyd is not Tishaura Jones. And it remains to be seen whether a different treasurer would actually disempower his or her office by divesting in millions of dollars in annual revenue. Surely there are better ways for the City of St. Louis to organize its revenues (and almost any aspect of city government). But we know who we want in a position of authority to make the many needed changes in our city. We face myriad, unmet challenges in a city that continues to experience population loss and lack of economic and social successes. Fresh, innovative leadership should be welcomed and encouraged. We strongly endorse TISHAURA O. JONES FOR ST. LOUIS TREASURER.

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