MetroVoiceNews.com recently interviewed Vicky Hartzler who represents Missouri’s 4th Congressional District. Topics included parental rights, critical race theory, Afghanistan, Congressional spending, terrorism, China, media, taxes, farming, runaway inflation, and election integrity. But we did not just talk about policy. We also asked the Republican Congresswoman about her faith, daily prayer routine, and weekly Bible study.
As an adoptive parent with husband Lowell, in a separate article we talk about adoption, kids who are aging out of the system and encouragement for them, and individuals considering adoption.
Metro Voice: What is your daily faith routine in Washington? How do you start your day and how does it progress?
Vicky Hartzler: I start every day reading the Bible and praying and just asking God for direction, strength, health for our nation, and for my constituents. I pray for our pastors that the Holy Spirit would just fill them and speak to them to minister to the people they serve. I pray for our families – that they be strong. I pray that our businesses would prosper. I pray that harmful things in our districts would not prevail.
I try to have an ear towards the Lord as I go about my business
And then throughout the day, I try to have an ear towards the Lord as I go about my business to try to make those votes, to do the right thing for my constituents.
On Wednesday mornings I participate in a Bible study with other house members. We take turns every week going to different member offices. The person who hosts it will lead the Bible study, sharing whatever God has laid on their heart for that day. Then we spend time praying for each other and for our nation.
Those are very meaningful times for me and I’m very thankful for the many Christians I serve with in Congress. People are always surprised that there are Christians in Congress. There are many and we appreciate the prayers of the American people as well and we know that that is the true hope for our nation.
FAMILY LIFE AT HOME
Metro Voice: How do you and your husband maintain a healthy relationship with your very busy schedule?
Vicky Hartzler: It’s keeping priorities straight. My first and most important ministry is to my husband and to my family. So we always set aside time during the weekends to prioritize each other and do things as a family. I rarely do official visits and meetings during those times. We try to have some evenings where we go on a walk or watch a movie together.
Metro Voice: What are your favorite movie genres? Do you force Lowell to watch romantic comedies?
Vicky Hartzler: [Laughing] We’ve become fans of the Hallmark Channel and enjoy those shows that end happily but we also like all the Marvel and other action movies. He likes action and I like romance.
Metro Voice: Let’s turn to some of the issues people are talking about.
Metro Voice: What are your thoughts on how the Biden administration handled the retreat from Afghanistan?
Vicky Hartzler: President Biden’s total withdrawal from Afghanistan is the greatest foreign policy failure in modern history. He abandoned Americans and turned his back on our Afghan interpreters and he broke with our foreign partners. Sadly, he has relegated us to President Obama’s position and his legacy where our enemies don’t fear us and our friends don’t trust us. The negative repercussions of this debacle will be felt for decades to come, weakening us on the world stage. By ignoring the counsel of his military commanders, the President has managed to squander away 20 years of progress. In abandoning those who’ve helped us, he has sent a message to the world that if you take a chance and help the United States, we will leave you behind.
Metro Voice: Do Biden’s actions increase the threat from terrorism?
Vicky Hartzler: Absolutely. The purpose of us going there was to take out a stronghold and the individuals who plotted 9/11. Leaving like we did creates a vacuum for terrorists that are already flooding in. They still are intent on chanting “Death to America.” Sadly, if we have to go back in the future, our soldiers will be met by the Taliban using our own equipment against us. [The Taliban] has secured over $85 billion of our military equipment that President Biden left there – everything from firearms to aircraft.
HOLDING LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE
Metro Voice: Concerning the weapons and technology left there, it includes eavesdropping equipment that our forces used to monitor terrorist activities. There are reports that this technology is now leaving Afghanistan for Russia, China and other nations. If it’s learned that China or other adversaries have come into possession of this, how should the U.S. respond? Who should be held accountable in the U.S. for the loss of that technology?
The responsibility for this debacle falls at his feet. He is the one who ordered this arbitrary withdrawal
Vicky Hartzler: Well, I’ve already called for the resignation of President Biden and I think ultimately the responsibility for this debacle falls at his feet. He is the one who ordered this arbitrary withdrawal on a date certain. He is the one who allowed Bagram Airbase to be abandoned before our American citizens had left the country. He is the one who negotiated and capitulated to the Taliban on the August 31 deadline. Americans have now been left behind. This is his Saigon. This is his crisis and he needs to be held responsible for it. Military leaders underneath him need to be held responsible as well but, ultimately, this is President Biden’s disaster.
THREATS FROM CHINA
Metro Voice: You serve on an important committee dealing with the Navy. China and Russia are greatly expanding their naval capacities. Is the U.S. stretched too thin between the Pacific and the Middle East – even after President Trump’s build-up within the armed services?
Vicky Hartzler: China has the world’s largest navy and army, and the third-largest air force. That’s why I have been advocating for our country to rebuild our military. The Navy says they need 355 ships in order to be competitive. We’re now around 297. Part of our National Defense Authorization Act is advocating for even more money and shipbuilding capacity. I believe in Ronald Reagan‘s mantra that we need to have peace through strength and deterrence is our greatest weapon now. Russia and China respect strength. That’s why we have to have military capabilities in order to deter them from taking action. President Biden is projecting only weakness, which further exposes our citizens to danger.
DEMOCRAT’S SPENDING BILL
Metro Voice: Democrats are pushing trillions in new “infrastructure” spending. What are the good things in that bill? What are the things that absolutely have nothing to do with infrastructure in your opinion?
There’s not enough good in here to warrant going further in debt as a nation when we’re almost $30 trillion dollars in debt already.
Vicky Hartzler: But first of all, there are two bills. It’s $3.5 trillion [Editor’s note: this interview was conducted before Democrats agreed on a final price] reconciliation budget bill is what they’re referring to as social infrastructure. Then there’s a separate $1.5 trillion supposed regular infrastructure bill, but as far as the $3.5 billion spending boondoggle, I obviously oppose it. There’s not enough good in here to warrant going further in debt as a nation when we’re almost $30 trillion dollars in debt already.
This bill is going to further fuel inflation and raise taxes on businesses. It’s going to make us uncompetitive with China by increasing our business tax at a higher rate than China. It is going to jeopardize our family farmers and small business owners by lowering the death tax exemption threshold, eliminating stepped-up basis and raising the capital gains tax to 40%. This basically will require every family to sell the family farm when their parents die, because there’s no way that they could pay the equivalent of 61% of the value of that farm to the US government if these provisions are passed. So it’s a devastating bill for families who will see more inflation. It also includes a lot of woke language with the word “equity” in there on 64 different things and infuses the green new deal and socialist elements into every aspect of government policy.
Metro Voice: Are Americans are paying attention to what’s happening concerning this legislation? Do Republicans have a problem with messaging?
Vicky Hartzler: It’s always difficult for Republicans to get their message out because of big tech, which is censoring a lot of the messaging that goes out through social media. Liberals control most of the mainstream media. So it is very difficult to let people know the truth behind these bills. We’re doing the best that we can and appreciate publications like Metro Voice, which does provide accurate and fair information to their readers. I encourage people to sign up for my free newsletter every week, which is the best way that I have to directly let people know what’s going on.
INFLATION AND NATIONAL DEBT
Metro Voice: China holds a considerable amount of our debt. Under the Biden administration does that affect our foreign policy and our engagement with China?
Vicky Hartzler: Yes. It definitely weakens our hand in negotiations when China controls so much of our debt. That’s why it is imperative that we balance our budget and we start paying off our debt so that China does not have another lever to use against us in our foreign policy.
Metro Voice: Inflation has hit a 35-year high and, for the family, it will have eaten up or surpassed their stimulus checks. Is it too late for policy to have an effect on curbing inflation? And what should be the response of the Federal Reserve?
Vicky Hartzler: Yep. Sadly. We are going to see increased inflation for some time to come.
We need to change course and quit spending money that we don’t have.
I believe we need to change course and quit spending money that we don’t have. And that will help start curbing the inflation and bring it back under control. But if this $3.5 trillion budget boondoggle passes, plus another $1.5 trillion, so-called infrastructure bill passes, that will just throw fuel on the fire. I’m very worried about what inflation will do. As a result, we already have inflation, as you mentioned, at a 35-year high. I lived through inflation and the tiny economy back in the early 80s. I saw how many farm families went bankrupt with interest rates at 16 and 18%. We cannot go there as a nation – we are just starting to recover after the pandemic and manufacturing and other businesses are hiring and services and products are coming back but all of that is going to be crushed if we keep going down this road of spending money that we don’t have.
PERSONAL REACTION TO INFLATION
Metro Voice: When you’re at home in Cass County, and you go to Price Chopper or Walmart, are you as shocked as the rest of us with what’s happening to the prices?
Vicky Hartzler: Yes, I’m shocked and I’m sickened seeing these prices go up for basic things like milk, fruit, and bacon and just about everything else that families need. Even though wages are rising, Missourians are actually bringing home fewer dollars in real wages because of inflation. And that’s hurting the families that I serve, who are having a harder time trying to make ends meet when they have to go buy groceries and put gas in their car. It’s tough. So we need to stop Democrats from spending money in Congress.
ELECTION INTEGRITY REFORM
Metro Voice: Many states are passing election integrity reform. A majority of your constituents believe that unless voters can be confident that their choice is not canceled at the ballot box then democracy is in danger. What do you believe are common-sense reforms that could rebuild confidence in the election process?
Vicky Hartzler: We need to know that those who are voting are doing so legally and they’re registered and they’re only voting once. We’re not so certain about this anymore. So I believe that identification should be required. Until the American people know their vote is counted and secure, we’re going to continue to have doubts which harm our country. Nancy Pelosi’s number one priority is HR 1 which would federalize all local elections and codify a lot of the fraudulent practices that raised so many concerns in this past election such as allowing ballot harvesting and preventing some of the voter identification systems that states have put in place. And that’s why we cannot allow that bill to pass. We would go absolutely in the wrong direction and further erode voters’ trust and confidence in their elections.
Metro Voice: Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support election integrity reform. What are you hearing from your constituents?
Vicky Hartzler: They’re very concerned about what happened in the last election. They don’t believe that all of the election was valid, they think there was a lot of fraud in many of these states. And I think there’s evidence to support many of their concerns. And so I agree with them that we have to take steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, I am encouraged by the number of bills that have been introduced in many of these states to shore up their election laws. Not all of these states have been successful in passing these integrity reforms. They must do that before the next election so that Americans once again feel confident that no fraud is occurring.
JANUARY 6 PROTESTS
Metro Voice: Hundreds of individuals are still being held without charges pertaining to the January 6 protest. The FBI has said no evidence exists that it was an organized insurrection. Has our judicial system become too politicized?
Vicky Hartzler: These individuals need to be treated the same as anyone else arrested for the same crime – no better or no worse. I’m concerned with reports that some have yet to be formally charged but were put in solitary confinement. This equates to cruel and unusual punishment. And I have asked the judiciary department to clarify if this occurred, and why. This is unconscionable if this is happening. I’m going to keep demanding answers to these very disturbing questions.
Metro Voice: The Hyde Amendment, which bans federal taxpayer funds paying for abortions, was saved from being ended by Democrats by one vote. How would you describe the life movement today and where are we are as a society in protecting the unborn, disabled and elderly?
I’m encouraged by what we accomplished during the Trump administration
Vicky Hartzler: I’m encouraged by what we accomplished during the Trump administration, including the appointment of pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. Obviously, there’s much to be done, including ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood. That’s why I have sponsored the bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and I’m going to keep fighting for that in Congress. And I’m hopeful that this pending Supreme Court case will end positively and we will see Roe vs. Wade overturned, or at least modified to allow states to have more pro-life protections put in place. I’m also encouraged by the strength of the pro-life movement from our younger generations, They see life for what it is, and a gift protected as a human right.
DOES WASHINGTON GET IT?
Metro Voice: Describe any disconnect you have observed between those in the Beltway and those in the rest of America. How do you stay grounded as a regular person?
Those provisions would equate to, at the death of your parents, the federal government inheriting 61% of that farm.
Vicky Hartzler: There is a disconnect between Congress and average Americans. It is just mind-boggling to those of us here in the heartland when we see Democrats want to do away with a stepped-up basis and lower the death tax exemption threshold. They want to raise the capital gains tax to 40%.
For west coast representatives, it is just academics as they don’t really understand it because most of them have never owned a business or farm. But for those of us here in the heartland, we know that the ramifications of that will be at the death of your parents, most farm families will have to sell the farm in order to pay the government. Those provisions would equate to, at the death of your parents, the federal government inheriting 61% of that farm. That is just criminal. It’s devastating to us here in the heartland. So it’s times like this, where I will try to let my colleagues know, on the other side of the aisle, what this actually means in real life, and try to stop this. But that’s just an example of how out-of-touch Democrats are in some of their proposals.
Metro Voice: Vice President Kamala Harris said that rural people don’t have access to copy machines, in terms of getting the documentation for voter ID. How did you take that comment? In your family business, you’re dealing with farmers who are educated; they’re running $500,000 combines that are connected by satellite. Is Harris’s statement a prime example of a disconnect between someone in Washington and middle America?
Vicky Hartzler: Oh, absolutely. It’s insulting. It’s like Obama’s comments a few years ago saying that we were just clinging to our Bibles and guns out here. Democrats and the media think we’re hicks unworthy of respect or consideration.
And yet I believe we have the values, the work ethic, and the common sense that our nation needs to turn this country around. The things liberals believe in like socialism, not supporting life, not respecting our basic Second Amendment rights, and not respecting us as families, are what’s ruining this country.
So comments like that just motivate me more to get on that plane every week and to go take our values, take our common sense to Washington, and to fight for the citizens I serve and for the future of our nation.
If they prevail, we’re not going to recognize our nation down the road. And if we prevail, we’ll be able to preserve America’s greatness and that’s what’s at stake.
Metro Voice: I’m thinking of the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” where a man with high ideals goes to Congress and is almost crushed by dirty politics. What’s been your biggest disappointment and what have you observed in Washington?
Vicky Hartzler: The inability to bring in runaway spending and balance the budget has been my biggest disappointment. I taught Home Economics for 11 years. Part of that is I would teach students how to balance their budget at home and students got it – you can’t spend more money than you take in. Forty-nine of our states have in their state constitution a balanced budget requirement, and they live within their means. In fact, in Missouri, we’re in such a strong financial position because of that provision that we actually have an excess rainy day fund that is available in emergencies. Yet at the federal level, there is no Balanced Budget Amendment. Even though I’ve co-sponsored the bill but it hasn’t passed yet. We just continue to spend more money than we have and go further in debt.
That is something I’m still committed to turning around and will continue to fight for. Because we’ve got to do it for the financial health of our nation.
Metro Voice: What is your suggestion for a person to be well-rounded in their news consumption and what news sources do you gravitate to?
Vicky Hartzler: That is difficult with a lot of the barriers today for accurate information. I get that question a lot and I don’t know exactly how to answer that. I think that trying to get news from a variety of sources so you’re not getting one perspective. I think that a combination of your local news and sources like Fox News and Metro Voice is good. I enjoy getting news from Tony Perkins Family Research Council and the Washington Watch daily email; World Magazine etc. I encourage people to read and watch from several sources.
Metro Voice: To be educated on the issues is hard and time-consuming. It takes effort and too many people don’t go beyond the headline. It really does take an hour a day to be educated on the issues.
Vicky Hartzler: That is problematic. A lot of young people get their news from Twitter or only what Facebook shows them and that’s concerning. We really need more conservative alternatives for our social media platforms to compete with news outlets.
ISSUES FACING MISSOURI
Metro Voice: What are some of the biggest issues facing Missouri?
Vicky Hartzler: The COVID pandemic and ramifications from that are still impacting us. There’s a lot of concern with mandates that are coming down from government, whether it be you have to take vaccines, or whether you have to wear masks and I hear a lot of concerns about those provisions.
People are also concerned about inflation. As I said, they’re paying more at the pump, as well as when we go to the grocery store. They have less real wages than did a few years ago, and families are hurting financially.
We also are hearing lots of concerns about what’s happening on the world stage and Afghanistan and the treatment of individuals and our basic security being at risk not only from terrorists overseas but also how they may come to our nation, to our neighborhoods, via the southern border.
People are livid at what President Biden has done to destroy the security at the southern border.
People are livid at what President Biden has done to destroy the security at the southern border. They’re now seeing over 1.4 million people flood across our border so far this year.
Plus, the drugs are coming into our communities We had a record number of opioid overdoses and we’ve also had a record number of suicides.
They want to see the southern border secure and they want to move past these mandates.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Metro Voice: A majority of parents believe that critical race theory is antithetical to ending racism because of how it frames entire classes of races, even in children, against each other. Do parents have a reason to be concerned? And as a former educator, what’s the best way to address the topic of racism in a way that doesn’t alienate students of different races or ethnicities?
CRT is one of the most poisonous issues facing our society today.
Vicky Hartzler: CRT is one of the most poisonous issues facing our society today. It is designer racism and extends an out-of-touch, unproven theory to the classroom. People need to push back and they are. I’m so proud of the parents who are speaking up.
I’ve introduced legislation that would end the teaching of CRT in our military schools. Can you imagine children and soldiers being told that they and their parents are inherently racist and the country they fight for is evil? We should be teaching kids that we are all equal and we deserve equal opportunity. And this doesn’t mean equal results – you can’t guarantee a result for anyone. But we need a fair and accurate representation of our country’s past while we celebrate the gains that we have made moving towards that more perfect union.
Metro Voice: Teaching remains one of the lowest-paid professions in the country. What should the government’s role be in supporting educators? Would you support additional funds for those seeking a teaching degree?
Teachers should not be paid less than other professions in the community.
Vicky Hartzler: Well, I think it’s good for anyone who to have a stake in their future. While not 100% grant, perhaps an additional percentage of assistance. There are currently loan forgiveness programs for graduates who teach in rural schools or in schools where there’s a high degree of poverty. And I think that’s a good incentive. But I concur as a former teacher, that our teachers need to be valued in their pay. During COVID something positive came out of it – a renewed appreciation for our teachers who were valiantly teaching our children. Some were at home, some over the internet and some doing all of it at the same time. They produced multiple lessons and worked even longer hours. Teachers should not be paid less than other professions in the community. They are holding our future in their hands every day, teaching the next generation and they need to be compensated accordingly.
Metro Voice: Many people are hesitant to seek additional federal funding because of the strings that are attached to that funding. Is there a way for school districts to be creative in funding?
Vicky Hartzler: Well, there’s a lot of funding that comes from the state as well. And I think that’s an appropriate role of the state to help provide funding for schools to supplement at the local level. That’s where we should look, both locally, where we can find creative ways to increase these teachers salaries, but then also some state dollars because each state has a vested interest in having an educated citizenry, and to make sure our next generation has the education possible to compete on the world stage, but also to be able to carry our country forward.
THE PANDEMIC AND MISSOURI
Metro Voice: We published a story in June that Missouri’s Department of Labor found that 1 in 4 Missouri businesses closed permanently during COVID in 2020. Now businesses are struggling to find workers and get their shipments.
Vicky Hartzler: Democrats in Congress sure got it wrong. The additional money that they gave for unemployment to pay people to stay home instead of going back to work is still having negative implications. In Missouri, we have businesses who are trying to reopen and grow and expand and they can’t find people to work because our government has incentivized people to stay home. And so I think that is the number one thing that has been wrong on the Congressional level, encouraging people to stay home rather than to work. Keeping our kids out of school has also been devastating.
Keeping our kids out of school has also been devastating.
MASK MANDATES AND KIDS
Metro Voice: Many districts across Missouri returned to school with a mask mandate in place. It’s divided communities. Who do you think should have the final say of our masking policy? Should it be parents, school boards, municipalities, or the state?
Vicky Hartzler: I always side with the parents on health. They know their children best and they should ultimately be responsible for making decisions for them. So while the guidance from the CDC is helpful, ultimately, it should be up to the parents to make those decisions.
ISRAEL AND BDS
Metro Voice: Unilever, owner of Ben and Jerry’s, received over $1 million in grants from Missouri to build an Independence manufacturing plant. Yet, they are boycotting Israel and it is breaking Missouri’s 2020 anti-BDS law. What message do you have for those who want to boycott Israel? [EDITOR’S NOTE: BDS is a movement to isolate and destroy Israel economically and socially]
Vicky Hartzler: Unlike the current cancel culture, which bans anything for any reason, the anti-BDS laws are legitimate steps taken to fight against antisemitism and I support them. Companies like Ben and Jerry’s, which prides itself on inclusion and diversity, should stop being so hypocritical.
Israel is one of the strongest allies that the United States has and we should honor that.
Israel is one of the strongest allies that the United States has and we should honor that.
2022 SENATE RACE
Metro Voice: You have announced your candidacy. How would you differentiate yourself from the other Republicans in the primary race?
Vicky Hartzler: Well, I’m a true conservative in this race. And my record proves that not only am I fiscally conservative, but I embrace the family values that Missourians hold dear. I do not run away from this – I run towards it. Instead of talking about what I will do if elected, I can point to a record of accomplishment. I’ve already done it in House and I plan on bringing that pro-life leadership to the Senate.
Metro Voice: If you win, you be only the third female senator and the first Republican female senator from Missouri. What will your perspective bring to the office?
My life experiences are very similar to most Missourians. My values reflect Missouri values.
Vicky Hartzler: Although this is a nice distinction, it’s not what motivates me whether male or female, white, black, Asian, or Hispanic, we all want the same thing, which is good jobs, safe neighborhoods, excellent schools, and productive life. I really do not do identity politics. We’re all in this together. But I do believe that I am the best person for this position. My life experiences are very similar to most Missourians. My values reflect Missouri values. My track record of leadership shows that I can get things done in Washington being their voice, and I want to take that fighting spirit, that grit, that faith-based value system to the Senate and get things done there, for our state and for our nation.
LIVING AS A CHRISTIAN IN WASHINGTON
Metro Voice: In your book, Running God’s Way, you put forth a plan for people to hold on to their personal convictions as they seek and serve in public office. What’s the one thing that you wrote in that book, that today, you still hold to as a central truth of your service.
That starts with daily prayer and spending time in God’s Word to hear His voice to direction, encouragement and strength.
Vicky Hartzler: Most importantly, it [service] needs to be based on God’s Word and His will for our nation. That starts with daily prayer and spending time in God’s Word to hear His voice for direction, encouragement and strength and to go forth every day trying to do His will, for the good of the people I serve.
Something I wrote at the end of the book, which I actually heard years before in a sermon during college, has become a motto for campaigning and life.
I like to share it with others. It’s to “face the worst, expect the best, do the most, and leave the rest.”
–Interviewed and edited by Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice