MO U.S. Senate Race 2018: Craig O’Dear

MO U.S. Senate Race 2018: Craig O’Dear

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Financial Responsibility

Our unbalanced budget and growing national debt is not sustainable. Passing income tax cuts and increasing deficit spending when the economy is strong and at nearly full employment is irresponsible. We have many competing interests to address. Social Security and Medicare must be secured for the future of those who have spent lifetimes paying for them, but adjustments are needed. The military industrial complex charges us too much for what is delivered. We have dire infrastructure needs. We must decide our priorities, and then we must make the difficult but necessary decisions to raise revenue to fund the level of spending we, on a bipartisan basis, decide to support.

Economic Inequality

There is a growing imbalance in economic opportunity, income and wealth in this country. We need to address this issue, not by pulling down successful people, but by helping others climb the ladder of success. Urban areas have taken great strides, while rural areas and small towns have fallen behind. The populist movement fails to honestly address the causes of these trends and is not leading us toward solutions. International trade and the global economy are not the bogey-men they are being made out to be. The trends that put our small cities, towns, and rural areas at risk are being driven by market forces and capitalism. If any country knows that free markets and capitalism offer more opportunity than challenges, it should be the United States. We must embrace the opportunities they present and find ways to bring the coastal economic momentum and entrepreneurism to the heartland.

Second Amendment and Gun Safety

We are a gun-owning family. I grew up on a farm, guns were part of life on the farm. I own guns from my childhood, and in more recent years, I have purchased guns for home protection, hunting, target shooting, and to support my son’s preparation for a career in military service. Shooting is one of our main activities on farm weekends. I have been trained in the use of firearms, and am licensed to carry. Everyone in our family has received training in the safe use of firearms. We consider it a life skill, something about which everyone should have basic knowledge.

So, I respect Second Amendment rights. I respect law abiding gun owners, and I understand and respect their desire to own guns. Having said all of that, I do not support efforts that made it difficult, if not impossible, to have a public discussion about any gun safety issue.

We can and should do better at keeping mentally ill people from purchasing guns. Extending background checks for private sales and gun shows seems prudent to me. Surely we can agree that people on a no-fly or watch list should not be allowed to purchase a gun. There may be other issues worthy of consideration. For any gun safety proposal, the issue is the extent to which gun safety would be enhanced compared to the reasonableness of any restriction it might place on law abiding gun owners. I care about gun safety, but I also care about the rights of law abiding gun owners. Reasonable people of good will can find common ground on these issues.


Healthcare is a fundamental human necessity. Any pro-growth, pro-business vision for the future must include a high quality, stable, and efficient healthcare system. Healthy people enjoy a higher quality of life. They work more, earn more, and pay more in taxes. In America, we spend twice as much per capita on healthcare, with outcomes no better, and in some cases, worse, that many countries. We must work toward a more effective and efficient business model in healthcare, and toward a lower uninsured rate. We need greater focus on mental health issues, which has impacted so many families, including our own, as well as assistance for those struggling with opioid and other addiction problems. The result would be happier, healthier, and more productive people.

Healthcare is the classic issue which illustrates the cost of partisan gridlock. Elected leaders in Washington have been at war for years, constantly arguing about the ACA or “Obamacare.” All of this noise–which has been about health insurance, not our healthcare system–has resulted in division and stalemate. All the while, our real and complex issues in healthcare go not just unresolved, but unaddressed.

Healthcare is the #1 concern this cycle. While the Senate bickers about the cost of health insurance, nobody is addressing the root problem, the cost of healthcare.

We need leaders to fix the business model problem instead of just creating more noise.

— Craig S. O’Dear (@CSODear) September 20, 2018