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The Washington political establishment just doesn’t understand Missouri.

Missourians have felt the effects of COVID. Most of us have family, loved ones, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances who have had COVID. Those who have suffered it ourselves or watched a close family member suffer from it know what a serious disease it can be.

But Missourians also aren’t willing to surrender our freedoms just because we face a threat. When Washington politicians wanted to lock down our state forever, we said no. When Washington bureaucrats wanted to have us wear masks forever, we said no. Now, we are facing the greatest threat to our individual liberty, possibly of my lifetime: the right to make health care decisions for ourselves. And once again, Washington politicians and bureaucrats have skipped over the part where they trust people to make the right decision and instead have decided to implement a draconian – and I believe unconstitutional –mandate.

Every day, I hear from more and more people throughout Missouri whose jobs and livelihoods are being threatened unless they comply with an order to take a vaccine. This is offensive and wrong. When you threaten people’s jobs, threaten to isolate them, and threaten their ability to travel freely, you’ve effectively put a gun to their head. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Missourians are rightfully calling on their elected leaders to fight back on their behalf.

The Freedom from Mandates Act and the Health Freedom for All Act are two policies I helped author which will ensure that no vaccine mandate from the federal government will ever be allowed to go into effect. I am going to do everything I can to convince my colleagues to pass these bills and protect our freedoms and our rights. But the reality is, with Joe Biden as President, Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and Chuck Schumer in charge of the Senate, we have an uphill battle in front of us.

It is also time that employers take a stand for their employees. As I’ve said before, if you’re an employer and you trust your employee to make good decisions on behalf of your company, trust that they will make good decisions for their health, their family’s health, and your company’s health. Fight for their ability to exercise conscientious religious objections, to follow the science, to learn the issues and believe that they will act responsibly should they feel unwell. These are commonsense measures that will help prove to your employees that you not only care about them, but you care about their opinions as well.

One of the predictable but infuriating consequences of vaccine mandates is that they will cause workforce shortages in critical areas. For example, in New York, which has instituted a vaccine mandate for health care workers, New York hospitals are now facing critical workforce shortages because of how many health care workers aren’t ready to take the vaccine. They are even discussing using the national guard to help out. Can you think of a crazier policy than one that results in a weakening of our ability to care for sick patients?

And this fight is now being brought to our kids. California is the first state to mandate that children receive the vaccine to attend public or private school. There’s no room for opposition, there’s no room for concern – the message from California is comply or be expelled from society. The reality is this kind of authoritarian control will further divide our society at a time when we should try to come together to work our way out of this pandemic.

I promise Missourians I will always do all I can to speak out on your behalf and fight for your life and liberty. And I will stand up against the Washington politicians and bureaucrats who think so little of you that they would sacrifice the freedoms we all hold dear. This fight is nowhere near over, it’s just getting started.