Letter to the Editor: Ignoring voters ruins democracy

Posted online

Dear editor,

What does it mean for democracy when elected representatives refuse to engage with voters? If they can’t be bothered with us, who do they work for?

Craig Fishel and Curtis Trent entirely disregarded at least six invitations to appear in candidate forums this fall, not deigning to reply.

Forum organizers are 10 leading organizations that work tirelessly to improve our community, including Drury University, Missouri State University, League of Women Voters, Junior League of Springfield, Leadership Springfield and NAACP.

We need representation that understands our struggles and concerns and they owe us answers:

• The daily increase in COVID-19 cases in Missouri has hit an all-time high, 113 people (Editor’s note: 116 at press time.) have died in Greene County alone, yet testing still lags. How do you propose to improve that?

• Our county Health Department rates its own capacity for contact tracing as essentially nonexistent, and hospital and testing capability barely at 50%. How will you help our community rise above these challenges?

• Children in our community are going hungry and uneducated, and their parents can’t help them. What is your plan to help families and businesses provide for themselves?

The dysfunctional establishment in Jefferson City reduces voters to ruling by initiative petitions, which our incumbent politicians then try to overturn with deceit, as in the current proposed Amendment 3.

This is what happens when gerrymandering makes politicians feel too secure to bother with voters.

By boycotting this forum, incumbents also prevent their challengers from appearing, so we won’t get to hear what Jeff Munzinger and Cindy Slimp have planned either.

This is bad for democracy and disastrous for our community.

When our current politicians feel invulnerable, it’s time to act. Anyone who is tired of such disrespect could improve our lives by voting for Munzinger and Slimp this Nov. 3, even if they never vote for another Democrat!

It’s time to put Jeff City incumbents on notice that we expect them to respond.

–Maggie Castrey, of Springfield