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Each election year, KBIA sits down with local candidates to hear what they have to say on their own terms. Some of these candidates you might see on TV every day. Others might be familiar by name only, if that. But KBIA interviews them all so that you can be informed when you go to the polls in November.

Candidate Conversations: Bethany Mann

Two speech bubbles on a purple background. There is a brown and gold podium in front of the speech bubbles with a spotlight on it. At the top of the image, it says "candidate conversations" in all-caps.
Ellie Lin

Ellie Lin: Bethany Mann is running for US representative of Missouri's Third Congressional District against Republican incumbent Blaine Luetkemeyer, in this episode will hear Mann's conversation with KBIA's Reagan Wiles.

Reagan Wiles: Go ahead and tell me about your background and why you're interested in running for this position.

Bethany Mann: I specialize in providing labs with research and development, instrumentation education, for a whole host of different industries. So whether it's food processing, agriculture, or energy, my life has been a giant episode of How It's Made. I am passionate about education, science and technology, and bringing people together. And my goal is to make Missouri and Missouri's Third District a leader when it comes to important issues that strengthen families and build up the middle class.

Reagan Wiles: If elected to office, what are some of the first issues you would tackle?

Bethany Mann: Sure. So a big issue that I would tackle is just really simply making sure that we're protecting and honoring the American worker. There's a piece of legislation, the PRO Act, that makes sure that all Americans can can gather and collectively bargain and organize for better working conditions and wages and better benefits. I think that that's fundamental to making sure that America, the American workforce, is protected from a lot of these market shocks that you see, from pandemics like COVID. And the other thing that I'd also like to do is I want to codify the Women's Health Protection Act, which would ensure abortion access and health care for everyone. And I would also like to pass Medicare for All, right now it is extremely vulnerable. The Republican Commitment to America plan right now includes raising the age of benefits to Medicare and Social Security to the age of 70. And the idea is to privatize it and to allow corporations to make as much money as they can off of American workers when they're at their most vulnerable. To strengthen and protect Medicare, I believe that it should be expanded so that everybody can have it.

Reagan Wiles: There seems to be a theme of rural attention throughout your campaign. What do you want to say to any listeners who are residing in these rural areas that would be impacted by your proposed policies?

Bethany Mann: What I would say to all of my rural listeners is that your voice matters, your stories matter, your lives, and your livelihoods, they matter. And we should not continue to let you get left behind. When larger cities or other states get resources for things that really make a difference and improve their lives. There are some really great things that we can do to build up and strengthen working families. Making sure that our water is clean, for example, is one way making sure that we actually meaningfully support farmers and that we clean up the environment. We've got a really big issue with CAFOs and industrial meat operations in our district, and it's ruining farmlands. The suicide rate among farmers in my district was up 8% last year. And it's because American farmers are struggling right here in Missouri, in a state where we can grow anything. And for a country like the United States, where we are a global driver of economy. So the things that we do here in Missouri in the US, they have market implications 5, 10, 20 years down the road for other countries. Why should our citizens particularly those in rural Missouri, suffer the most when all these other economies thrive? And so that's my message is we can do better and we do better by investing in America. We invest in our people, and rural Missourian's lives matter too.

Ellie Lin: That was KBIA's Reagan Wiles and Bethany Mann, the Democratic candidate for US representative of Missouri's Third Congressional District. Stay tuned for more candidate conversations, airing on KBIA leading up to Election Day on November 8.

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