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Politically Speaking: Congresswoman Wagner on her high-profile re-election bid

Courtesy of VonBrecht Mulvihill
Congresswoman Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, records an episode of Politically Speaking with St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner joins Politically Speaking once again to talk about her re-election bid in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.

The Ballwin Republican was first elected to represent the 2nd District in 2012. It encompasses parts of St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

Wagner has had a long history in Missouri and national Republican politics. She served as the chairwoman of the Missouri Republican Party in the 2000s. She also became ambassador to Luxembourg under President George W. Bush’s administration.

After the 2016 election cycle, Wagner considered running against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill — but ultimately decided to run for re-election. Wagner has generally faced low-key contests in the 2nd District, which is GOP leaning.

This year, Democrat Cort VanOstran has raised enough money to run television advertisements — some of which are criticizing Wagner’s votes on health care and tax cuts. But Wagner contends that the prospect of a ‘blue wave’ is overblown. She has a sizable amount of money in the bank for the final stretch of the campaign.

The 2nd District cast the most votes in Missouri in 2016 general election. So both parties are likely watching to see how the Wagner-VanOstran contest affects turnout, as it may end up playing a major role in McCaskill’s re-election bid against Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Here’s what Wagner said during the show:

  • Wagner is running advertisements touting her legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law aimed at curtailing online sex trafficking. “As we watched human trafficking move from the streets to the internet, the whole business model has changed,” she said.
  • After withdrawing her support for Trump in 2016 after the Access Hollywood tape release, Wagner said she’s “very pleased with the direction this administration has taken.” “And I think most of my constituents are pleased with the president’s policies,” she said.
  • She continues to be an opponent of the eight-year-old Affordable Care Act, calling its insurance and coverage provisions “unaffordable, unworkable.” She says there are other ways to provide coverage that are more affordable and not tied to the federal government.
  • Wagner contends that Medicare for All, a progressive proposal to expand Medicare, is too costly and would force people to give up their private insurance, while threatening traditional Medicare. (Backers say that Medicare for All would be an option, not mandatory.)
  • She opposes any federal minimum wage — now $7.25 an hour (in place since 2009) — and says wages should be left up to the free market.

You can listen to VanOstran’s Politically Speaking by clicking here.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Ann Wagner on Twitter: @AnnLWagner

Music: “Down” by 311

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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