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HD 89: Luke Barber

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Who is Luke Barber?

Luke Barber is challenging the current incumbent Dean Plocher in the 2020 general election.

Luke is running to bring greater accessibility and inclusion for the disabled, to force government accountability and remove dark money from politics, and to correct the lack of response to COVID-19 as a public health concern that is costing us lost wages, poor healthcare, and the death of loved ones.

Luke Barber graduated from Kirkwood High School in 2014 and earned an Associate Degree from Saint Louis Community College in 2018. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work & Public Policy from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). He was one of the founders of the Able-Disable Partnership at UMSL which is a student club focused on advocating for students with disabilities, especially for needed building modifications. Luke Barber is a disability self-advocate, who has a diagnosis of autism. He is very familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. While not a lawyer, he has won several discrimination cases as a plaintiff. He also has presented several sessions at multiple national conferences about disability and self-advocacy.

Luke is currently employed by Easterseals Midwest as a Self-Determination Instructor , teaching others with disabilities about their rights and responsibilities . He also is employed by Schnucks Markets Inc. and works on the front line of the Des Peres Store, serving those who are sheltering at home. He is proud to be a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union local 655, and an Eagle Scout of Troop 313; his Eagle Project was building a training course for the Puppies for Parole, a rehabilitative program in which prisoners train dogs for adoption in coordination with the Missouri Department of Corrections and Local Animal Shelters.

Luke said, “I have come to understand the struggles workers face every day from slave wages, eroding collective bargaining rights, and most recently, the challenges that come with providing a safe working environment and customer experience while we navigate through this pandemic. I know the importance and invaluable benefits unions bring to the workplace. I am also a member of a vast community of individuals with mental and developmental disabilities whose contributions to our communities and the region often are ignored and marginalized. Being autistic, I understand the marginalization of my disabled brothers and sisters in our community and, with your help, can organize a district-wide coalition of community members to make sure our voices are not only heard but are respected and valued.My opponent has raised massive amounts of donations from special interest groups who are fighting to further marginalize members of our district and allow our workplace to be less safe. My opponent has also failed our district with an abysmal record for not voting on crucial legislation due to his poor attendance. Where is Dean Plocher? We must stand together to fix our failing healthcare system and to provide safety in our communities and workplaces. I will fight to expand social safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid. I will work to ensure that members of our district with disabilities are treated with respect and value in the workplace, and fight for a living wage.”

The lines have been drawn. We must act to ensure that our communities and the 89th district are protected, and our voices are heard at the State Capital. Let’s stand together to make our votes count in Jefferson City. Click HERE to begin making calls for Luke.

Ready to make calls? Click HERE. Want to know more? Scroll on down to see where Luke stands on the issues.

Healthcare

Quality, accessible, and affordable healthcare is every Missourian’s right. But every year Missouri families must make increasingly difficult decisions for how they prioritize spending on prescription drugs and medical bills over the basic costs of living.

At the same time, the Republican-led House has left millions of federal dollars on the table meant for expanding healthcare access to Missourians. Their inaction means less healthy communities, higher premiums for those with coverage, and the loss of hospitals, especially in rural areas.

As your state representative, I’ll support common sense measures like expanding Medicaid, so no Missourian is forced to choose between a decent job and keeping their healthcare.

There was a Purge of 100,000 individuals on Medicaid , Which involved outdated computer systems(Fortran) which did not reference the foodstamp, and Social Security lists meaning those with automatic eligibility under federal law were improperly removed .

Also in order to recieve Targeted Case management , and other services for those with disabilities it requires medicaid , and we are prohibited from using the healthcare exchange to get private insurance .

https://missourihealthcareforall.org/stories/luke-st-louis/

Education

Every Missouri child should have access to free, quality public education regardless of their zip code. As your representative, I will work to strengthen our public schools and fully fund our commitment to our kids.

I will support universal early childhood education, because investing in our kids from an early age is the best way for us to invest in our future. I will also support investment in higher education and workforce training, to ensure all Missourians have the opportunity to gain the skills to compete in our economy.

K-12 Education is the first step to workforce development ; Without basic math , the ability to read and write , it becomes next to impossible to gain even an entry level job .

We must also make sure Education is accessible and the academic accommodations are given so that those with disabilities can learn in a manner that allows them to achieve their full potential .

Jobs

A strong economy is one that works for everyone. As your state rep, I’ll fight for those who truly build up our economy—our workers—for the wages, benefits, and protections they deserve. I’ll support investments in educational opportunities to support a 21st century workforce.

I’ll work for policies that support local businesses who provide good jobs in our state and keep our economy growing. And I’ll work to bring new businesses here that want to capitalize on our skilled Missouri workforce and quality of life. But I’ll always put workers’ interests before the special interests of large corporations.

While Currently Missouri's Minimum wage is $9.45/hour. Missouri Also is an At-Will , Meaning you can be fired without just cause .

Public Safety

Central to the role of government is to fairly enforce the law, and to provide protection for its people. I will support our law enforcement officers in their difficult jobs, while also demanding accountability when they overreach.

I will support tough but reasonable sentences for violent criminals, while also seeking ways to reduce our prison population and reintegrate folks into society after they have served their time. I’ll also support drug treatment courts and diversion programs that find alternative ways to punish and rehabilitate non-violent criminals without simply throwing them in prison.

No matter where you live in Missouri, the root causes of crime are the same: a lack of educational and work opportunities, along with drug addiction and poverty. Addressing these basic issues must always be central in any conversation about crime.

Opioid Epidemic

Our prescription drug epidemic tragically touches too many families in every community across Missouri. Tracking the frequency of prescriptions filled for these addictive drugs would allow for a chance to intervene with high risk users and save lives.

It also would tell us if certain doctors are over prescribing , and thus could ask for the peer reviewed evidence that says it would be an effective treatment and if safer alternatives exist .

One critical tool our state can deploy to combat the misuse of opioids is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Missouri remains the only state in the entire country without a statewide PDMP, and I will support efforts to finally pass this legislation for our citizens.

Also with the invention of Narcan, Many people can step in and intervene to prevent a death from an overdose.

Farms

Agriculture is the backbone of Missouri, and at the heart of it are our family farms—where many of us call home and why generations before us settled here. But passing down our way of life to future generations is becoming increasingly challenging.

Our local communities used to have a say in how farming was done in our backyards, but the Republican-led state legislature has passed bills favoring large corporate farms and pushing out family farms.

Last year, state Republicans passed a bill taking control from local communities to regulate certain large feeding operations known as CAFOs. This allows large scale operations to buy up local farms, push the production limits of the land, and pollute our communities’ treasured landscape without local oversight.

As your state rep, I’ll advocate for the state of Missouri to protect local control, giving ordinary citizens easier access to have their say on how farming operates in their community.

Local Control

Government works best when it is closer to the people it serves. I respect the fabric of our local communities and trust them to know best when it comes to overcoming the challenges they face.

In Missouri, we have seen many decisions influenced by special interests, circumventing the will of local communities on local issues by preempting local ordinances with state law or by diluting local opposition to matters by including state-wide votes.

Fiscal Responsibility

I believe in the saying “show me your budget, and I’ll show you your values.” Our state’s budget serves as a moral contract with our citizens. Every year, it is up to the state government to allocate the tax dollars you pay to maintain and improve our quality of living.

But while our schools are underfunded, our healthcare costs are on the rise while our taxes increase, and we’re borrowing money to pay for our crumbling roads and bridges, corporations in Missouri are receiving tax cuts and incentive packages.

we can lower taxes at the same time we fund the things necessary as there is often matching grants , which the state has not taken advantage of yet .

We simply should not be handing out money to corporations hoping that prosperity will trickle down. As your state rep, I will be a careful steward of your tax dollars in Jefferson City.

I believe you and your family are the economic drivers of our state. Our budget should reflect that by investing in the things that will improve you and your family’s life, rather than lining the pockets of big businesses.

Reproductive Rights

Every person should have the autonomy to make decisions about their body and their life. Republicans have passed extreme abortion bans in recent years, limiting access to abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or medical need.

Mothers die from childbirth in Missouri in numbers far greater than the rest of the industrialized world, and instead of promoting healthcare, Missouri legislators have placed burdensome restrictions on it.

Republicans have gone so far as to pass legislation that costs hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend against Constitutional challenges, while at the same time blaming budget shortfalls for lack of funding for essential items like school transportation.

As your state rep, I will stand with women for their right to make the best decisions about their healthcare for their own lives.

Transparency and Ethics

Faith in government and the political process is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. As your state rep, I’ll fight to shine a light on those who conceal their donors and influence our politics with dark money.

Over the years, Republicans have eroded the barrier between special interests and politics. In 2018, Missourians overwhelmingly voted in favor of Amendment 1, known as CLEAN MO. It capped contributions and limited the way money could move in and out of campaign coffers. Special interests have continued to find loopholes around these laws, pushing ‘dark money’ further into the political process.

At the same time, Republicans are advocating for the repeal of Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana .

Ultimately, this campaign isn’t about me. This is your campaign and I want you to be proud of it and the coalition we build along the way. That’s why I’ll provide you easy access to the sources of our campaign money.

Nondiscrimination

Every year for the past two decades, the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA) has been filed, only to be blocked by Republicans. MONA would allow basic protections to our LGBTQ community by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Act.

Missourians should not have to fear losing their jobs or being denied housing for who they love—discrimination that is currently completely legal in our state.

Meanwhile, Republicans in recent years have also passed legislation that makes it easier for employers, landlords or businesses to discriminate based on race, age, religion or gender—more so than in any other state.

As your state rep, I will work for a Missouri that welcomes people regardless of race, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation, and protects all people from discrimination.

Those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are LGBTQ at higher rates . Those with Autism are 7 times as likely to be Non-binary (twainbow.org) .

Disability

People with disabilities are often Segregated in non-community based Settings.

Often Working in Sheltered Workshops under 14(c) certificates making Sub-minimum wage of as little as $ .60/hour

Often looked at as Less than , or not worthy of respect; we face higher incidence of Discrimination.

Often in Group homes or residential care facilities , where high incidences of abuse or neglect occur .

This Stuff Shouldn't be Happening !

As a disability self Advocate ; I will push for Accessibility and Inclusion . We need an increase in Home and Community Based Services which allow an individual greater privileges than these Segregated settings. We need People working in Competitive Employment Making Minimum wage or Higher. We need to Ensure that People have access to home modifications : Grab bars , Stair lifts , ramps , etc . that allow them to remain in their home and live in society .