KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 41 Action News wants to help you make an informed decision during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3. We reached out to the campaigns for Missouri's Gubernatorial candidates, Republican Mike Parson and Democrat Nicole Galloway.
Neither campaign responded, so we've compiled the candidates' answers to the best of our abilities based on past statements and actions.
Do you believe wearing masks should be a requirement, recommendation or neither?
Parson: 41 Action News believes Parson would answer "neither." Parson has said he will not issue a statewide mask mandate, adding, "You have to make a decision as individuals to decide whether you’re going to do that or not. You know the facts of whether to wear one or not,” Parson said. “... I think some of the freedoms that we all have in individual things have to be protected also for everyday people out there – also the ones (who) don’t want to wear a mask should have every right not to wear one if they don’t feel like they want to wear one.”
Galloway: 41 Action News believes Galloway would answer "requirement." According to an Associated Press report in August, "Missouri gubernatorial hopeful Democrat Nicole Galloway said she'll require face masks statewide as part of a plan unveiled Monday for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic."
What role should state officials play in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Parson: It is unclear how Mike Parson would answer this question, but on April 3 he issued a Stay At Home Order, which impacted individuals, businesses and schools statewide.
Galloway: Answer unknown.
Many have credited the Paycheck Protection Program for saving many businesses and jobs across the state. Would you advocate the federal government to expand that program if conditions warrant?
Parson: Answer unknown.
Galloway: In an interview with 41 Action News, Nicole Galloway said, "Yes, it's clear to me that Missouri will need more federal help in the future... As governor, I would work closely with our federal delegation to advocate for Missouri workers and businesses as well as local governments who are facing tough budgets right now."
Considering the pandemic, do you believe K-12 classrooms should reopen in the fall?
Parson: 41 Action News believes Parson would answer "yes." On the Marc Cox Morning Show, during an interview about kids returning to school, Parson said, "If they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they're not going to the hospitals. They're not going to have to sit in doctor's offices. They're going to go home and they're going to get over it." Parson later said his comments were "not articulated very well."
Galloway: "It's important for kids to return to be around their peers and to get the level of instruction that only our great teachers can provide. It's also vital in order for parents to be able to return to work full time. So, you know, that's a key part of our economic recovery. But in order to do this - in order to open our schools, we have to make progress in containing this virus, and we have to listen to public health experts," Galloway has said.
Who should make the final decision about classrooms reopening in the fall?
Parson: While the state provided guidelines to school districts, 41 Action News believes Parson would answer "city officials and individual school districts." According to the Springfield News-Leader, Parson said, "I think the schools have to decide that. It’s a diverse state. You’ve also got to trust the local elected officials to know what’s right for their communities.”
Galloway: Answer unknown.
If students return to the classroom in fall 2020, do you believe they should be required to wear masks?
Parson: 41 Action News believes Parson would answer "no." He has said he believes whether or not a person wears a mask should be their personal choice.
Galloway: Answer unknown.
We asked the gubernatorial candidates what kind of policies they support when it comes to abortion. While neither Parson or Galloway provided an answer, we were able to find the following information on their stances during our research.
Parson: It is unclear exactly how Parson would answer this question, but in May 2019 he signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, making it among the most restrictive abortion policies in the nation.
Galloway: It is unclear how Nicole Galloway would answer this question, but in an op-ed for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, she called Missouri's 8-week abortion ban a "travesty for women." She is also endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri.
Several U.S. cities are now discussing reallocating some police funding to other forms of public safety and community support, including to social services, mental health & addiction resources, housing, and health care. Do you support redirecting some funding from local law enforcement agencies to support other government agencies funded by local municipalities?
Parson: It's unclear exactly how Parson would answer this question, but in an interview with 41 Action News, Parson said, "The reality of talking about defunding the police or doing away with police officers is not even practical to be right honest about it. We've got to figure out how we get more police officers on the ground, how do you get them more involved in the communities?"
Galloway: 41 Action News believes Galloway would answer "no." She has said she does not support defunding the police.
We asked the gubernatorial candidates what policies they support from the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. While neither Parson or Galloway provided an answer, we were able to find the following information on their stances during our research.
Parson: It is unclear how Parson would answer this question, but in an interview with 41 Action News, he stated, "Look, I'm going to support law enforcement. I always have, but there's nothing wrong with talking about police reform. I think there (are) changes to be made. I think you'll see that offered up in (the) legislative session."
Galloway: It is unclear how Galloway would answer this question, but she has stated, "I think that we should institute a review of peace officer training to ensure that all Missouri law enforcement training includes best practices in community policing and implicit bias and de-escalation training... We should give an independent oversight board subpoena power to investigate use of force and conduct violations, including deadly use of force incidents."
The Kansas City Police Department is the only police department in the country that is governed by a state-appointed board of police commissioners. Do you believe KCPD should be under local control?
Parson: It is unclear how Parson would answer this question. When asked about local control of the KCPD, an op-ed in the Kansas City Star said he did not answer the question and stated, “It takes legislative action.”
Galloway: Yes. In separate interviews with 41 Action News, Galloway said "I believe that we should restore local control over the Kansas City Police Department to the people of Kansas City" and "I expect that the people of Kansas City will have their say on this and if they want local control then as governor I will work alongside them to make it happen."
In an effort to reduce violent crime, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas called on the state to enhance witness protection funding in Missouri. Do you support enhancing witness protection funding?
Parson: Answer unknown.
Galloway: Yes. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Galloway criticized Parson for not including money to pay for the witness protection fund.
In July, the Department of Justice launched Operation LeGend, which directs federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, DEA and ATF to "surge resources to Kansas City to help state and local officials fight the surge of violent crime." It is also preparing to expand in St. Louis. Do you support the use of Operation LeGend in the state of Missouri?
Parson: 41 Action News believes Parson would answer "yes, in Kansas City and St. Louis." In August, he stated, "We've got a serious problem in this state with the homicide rate, and we’ve got to deal with it. No one agency is going to be able to fix this... It's going to take all of us working together to really go after this problem.”
Galloway: Yes, in Kansas City and St. Louis. "I welcome assistance from federal law enforcement to address the heartbreaking toll that gun violence is having on our families and our communities. If that assistance can help solve crime and prevent more homicides, then we should welcome that help, but I do want to be clear I don't support federal law enforcement patrolling the streets, because it's unnecessarily provocative," Galloway said.
41 Action News is committed to providing comprehensive information on the 2020 primary and general elections with an emphasis on several key issues — the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations. Count on us to provide news and information to help you make an informed choice at the polls.