Are you originally from Jefferson City? If not, where?
I was raised and lived in Poplar Bluff, MO until I enlisted in the US Army in 1986.
Who is your support system (spouse, kids, parents, etc)?
My family is the best! I have a loving wife, Rose Nelson, who stands beside me in everything I do. When Rose and I married in 2010 I also became step-dad to two incredible young men, Jason and Dylan Seehusen. We are a family and they are always there for me and me for them. They are a great support to me and together there isn’t anything we can’t work through.
Why are you running for State Representative?
I feel something has to be done for the hard-working men and women in Missouri. It appears our elected officials are busy working for donors and corporations and not the citizens that elected them. For example, the St. Louis area voted to have a $10.00 an hour minimum wage. Approximately 30,000 people lost that raise after our States Legislature voted with corporations and against the wishes of the people. The people of this state deserve to be heard and listened to. I want to be a State Representative so that I can help the people and bring about real change for the common good.
You ran in 2016 for the same position. What lessons did you learn and how will they make you a better candidate in 2018?
One thing I learned was that I need to start campaigning earlier. I need to knock on as many doors as possible. While we did reach a good number last time it wasn’t enough, and I will do better this time. One other thing I would mention is the importance of a “GOTV” strategy. This too is something our campaign is working harder at this time around.
Why did you choose to run as a Democrat?
Simple, I am a Democrat. The Democratic party embraces the political philosophy that I believe in.
Who is your personal hero?
I don’t have one. I was blessed to have two. I was raised by my Grandparents from very early on in my life. To this day I have never met any finer two people than my Grandma and Grandpa Nelson. They raised me to be honest with other people and to be honest with myself. They were kind and gentle yet strong and disciplined. They were wonderful role models. I continue to strive to be like them.
What are your top 3 issues that you would like to focus on if elected?
My main focus is pay raises for our Missouri State workers. Our state workers are hardworking dedicated people who deserve better pay than what they are getting. For years I’ve heard the Representative of this district promise better wages and then at the end of every legislative session say, “we got a lot done, just not the raises.” So, number one is raising the wages of State employees. I am also adamant about campaign finance reform. We must get dark money out of politics and create a level playing field that gives anyone who would like to run for office an equal chance. Number 3, Missouri workers need to be able to earn a living wage. Missouri needs to show that we can lead now and in the future. We need a minimum wage that is a living wage. Higher wages for working people build and ensures a stronger and vibrant economy. I am very passionate about these three issues and will commit to working on them when elected.
If elected, you will have to work with many people who may not hold the same values or concerns as you do. Tell us a time that you have been required to work with people with different values or opinions as you.
I am 51 years old. There have been numerous times in my life where these situations have arisen and yes, it is easy to get frustrated at times. I just continue to focus on my objectives and the reasons why the work is important. While working with any group you must realize that there is some give and some take. Someone else’s opinion may not be my own, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong. I hold my values share my opinions and try my best to forge good solid relationships with those I work with.
The Missouri GOP is focusing on labor again this year. They hope to repeal the prevailing wage in Missouri. Do you think the prevailing wage is positive or negative?
I am in favor of keeping the current prevailing wage law. This law is a positive. The prevailing wage helps to keep skilled laborers on the job. Lower wages and benefits would give rise to a less qualified workforce on Missouri’s construction sites. I see this as just another way the GOP is fighting against labor and unions.
A bill has been filed this session to ban lobbyist gifts to public officials. Would you support or oppose this bill? Why?
I would lend full support for this bill. Ethics reform is badly needed and banning lobbyist gifts is a good start.
There is some discussion of phasing out the state income tax. What are your thoughts on this and tax reform, in general?
I believe in a social safety net, good infrastructure, expansion of Medicaid, a good public education and low-cost college for everyone in the state of Missouri. Taxes
are collected to ensure the common good throughout the state. A fair progressive state income tax is necessary to ensure the financial health of our state.
What is the best way to contact you directly?
I welcome questions and comments and may be reached by phone at 573-645-1901 or email at Kevin_Nelson2016@outlook.com.