Cori Bush: Democrat running for Missouri 1st Congressional

Bush is a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Missouri’s First Congressional District and U.S. Congresswoman.

ST. LOUIS — Cori Bush is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Missouri’s First Congressional District. The primary is August 2. One Democrat will go on to face candidates of other parties in the general election in November.

Freshman U.S. Representative Bush will face the voters for the first time as an incumbent after she pulled of a political upset and toppled the Clay family dynasty that represented St. Louis in Congress for half a century. 

KNOW TO VOTE: Missouri primary 2022: Voter guide for St. Louis area

Bush, a Ferguson activist, has formed political alliances with a progressive group of Democratic women in Congress, and refers to herself as a “politivist,” or a politician activist. 

Her style of amplifying the voices of protesters in the halls of Congress has rubbed some politicians the wrong way, and yet has resonated with some grassroots activists in her district.

RELATED: Rep. Cori Bush doesn’t want to talk about a second term for President Biden

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5 On Your Side candidate survey

To the extent any single member of Congress can influence the U.S. economy and labor market, what immediate steps would you take to reduce the cost of living burden Missourians face during this period of inflation?

Bush: I for the last year. I as, as most people know, was fighting for the Build Back Better Act. There were provisions in that bill that would have done just that. And so that is one thing. That’s number one, I will continue to fight for Build Back Better at the provisions that were in there, such as universal pre-K, to make sure that our 3- and 4-year-olds, for the first time in 100 years, will be able to go to school for free public education, just like K through 12, and lowering the cost of insulin, capping the cost of insulin at $35. I know that’s something that I’m currently Congress has, making sure that that community violence prevention money is they are coming directly into our communities and money for substance use centers and so much more. So that is why in the second we introduced a bill called the Clean the Energy Security Independence Act. This bill would fund clean energy. It would lower gas prices. And what we were able to do was secure $100 million for President Biden’s initiative for clean energy. And that would directly help to lower well, it would help to fight inflation. The other thing is our district office is open. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 plus in our brick and mortar. And we have another we have we’re in like four local libraries to make sure that people have access to us, because when people come and see us, they’re asking us, how do I get connected to resources? And we’re connecting them on the spot, whether they call over the phone or whether they come into our offices. We have we have relationships with organizations and agencies to do just that. 

Missouri state law prohibits women and girls from seeking abortion procedures at any time during their pregnancy, regardless of circumstances involving rape, incest, or other unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. Would you support a similar law at the federal level? If not, then which women or girls should be allowed access to safe, legal abortion procedures?

Bush: No, I would not support a federal any type of national abortion ban. And actually, I not only have introduced legislation to help protect those seeking abortion care, because our rights to our body should be our own. The fact that we have this extremist, this far-right extremist Supreme Court that has been stacked on purpose to strip away our rights. So because we know this, we’re doing the work to make sure that people are protected. So just this week well, in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been able to introduce three pieces of legislation. One is a travel ban, our reproductive care travel ban. So people are able to I mean, I’m sorry, not travel ban a travel fund for people. So when we go back, we have just over the last few days, we’ve been able to introduce two pieces of legislation. One is Reproductive Travel Fund to make sure that those that are seeking abortions in other states have the funds to be able to do so. Another one is to protect access to medication, abortion. And then another one is even more broad that will take care of it will be money for child care and doulas and behavioral health care, because reproductive our reproductive health is so much is affected by what’s happening in our bodies. But it’s not only our bodies, it’s what’s happening around us as well. So we want to make sure that people are whole. And so these three pieces of legislation do just that. 

What specific policies or practices would you support from Congress that could directly improve safety and reduce violent crime in Missouri? 

Bush: We have a bill that we introduced last year. It’s called the People’s Response Act. What we know is that when there are encounters and I can take this back to my background as a registered nurse, I worked in community based mental health for quite some time. It’s the biggest part of my nursing background of patients who are living with chronic and persistent mental illness. It’s we should do the same as we would do for treat them the same as we would treat any other health condition, physical health condition, migraines of high blood pressure. You treat it medication, you treat it as based upon whatever the doctor’s regimen is. And so for us, we’ve seen that the high prevalence of people who call 911 who are seeking emergency help during a mental health crisis or a substance use crisis, and those incidents often can turn deadly and in having encounters with police. So we wrote a bill that says we want a non carceral approach to public safety. We want to transform the idea of what public safety looks like in this sphere. And so this would send first responders who are the experts in mental health to those calls, having people who are equipped and trained to show up when there is a mental health crisis to be able to assist those that are in need and help them not only keeping them safe, but connecting them to resources. And they would also fund organizations on the ground that are already doing that type of work and community violence prevention. 

What do you perceive as the single greatest threat to American democracy and how would you address it in Congress?

Bush: White supremacy is the single greatest threat to our democracy right now. I was sitting in the House chambers when the insurrection was taking place. I was able to escape through a tunnel and make it back to my office. But. But we were barricaded in our offices for hours, not knowing what was about to happen to us. That was our U.S. Capitol. But we’re also seeing this rise in attacks all around our country. And it is our job to make sure that we are keeping our people safe. But keeping our people safe means keeping all of the people safe. So that is why while we were barricaded in that office, we introduced House Resolution 25 to investigate and expel any members of Congress who participated in the overturning of the Democratic election. And that’s based upon the Section Three of the 14th Amendment. We so right now, we will continue to push this resolution to make sure that any of those members, because I think about those members, hold the same amount of power as those that did not participate do. Which means that there are people in their communities, just like in our community, that could be at risk.

To what extent do fossil fuels contribute to the changing climate? To what extent should Congressional action attempt to alter that trajectory?

Bush: It’s not up for debate, climate change, the climate crisis. This is an existential threat and we have to hit it head on. We have to address it in every way we can. Congress has a mandate to address the climate crisis, which is why I support the Green New Deal, but also authored the Green New Deal for cities and this particular legislation, which we worked with local groups here in St. Louis on this legislation. But this legislation would fund organizations in our local communities who are doing the work to make sure that we’re addressing the climate crisis. When we know the reports came out a few years back that Black children are ten times as likely to go to an emergency room for asthma than white children. And we know that Black women are three times as likely to go to die. Black women and pregnant people are three times as likely to die than white women. We have to address this head on. It’s about our in our full environment and whether it’s toxic and lethal. This is this is the work for Congress

Public polling shows most Americans believe the U.S. Supreme Court has become too political. What reforms, if any, should Congress take to reshape or reimagine the makeup or behavior of the court?

Bush: Right now as it stands. The Supreme Court is an illegitimate body. Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and his cronies, they orchestrated this far right extremist takeover of the highest court in our land. So we have to look at how do we make sure that this body, that the people are able to see this body as one that that can make a decision for all of all of the people of this country. One, we have to expand the courts. We need to expand the courts by four justices. We need to enact a binding code of ethics. As a member of Congress, we have a code of ethics. Many jobs that I’ve worked, we had a code of ethics. Why not are the highest court in the land? And one other is we need to strip away their power, their ability to be able to make decisions, to take away our fundamental rights. 

Which Constitutional amendment is your favorite and why?

Bush: My favorite constitutional amendment, I have to say, is the first one, which I don’t know that people would feel is to off. I consider myself I call myself a politivist. I have I actually made up that word because I am a politician, because of the definition of a politician. And then I’m an activist, which is just my it’s my background. And so having the First Amendment, which, you know, it ascertains our right to assemble and petition the government. And then I think a little deeper about how during the reconstruction period, that’s where we got the 13th, the 14th and the 15th Amendments. It was because the people assembled, it was because the people used their voices. They stood up and they spoke out. And so when we look at the First Amendment, this that the power and protection that comes with the First Amendment is how we will continue to progress forward for a more just United States.

What is your favorite movie, most influential book, and go-to genre of music?

Bush: So I’m a tough one to ask for favorites because I like different things at different times for different reasons. So but I will say this, I’m a Marvel. I’m a big Marvel person, so I can put on basically any Marvel movie that or like the Best Man. So like, those are kind of where I stay. I’m an action person mostly. I’m a preacher. So the Bible is my most influential book, but also 1619 by Nikole Hannah-Jones is a book that I spent a lot of time digging in, getting, getting, getting answers and just like getting a better understanding of even myself in that book. Again, like, you know, I’m a gospel girl, so I listen to contemporary gospel, but also you will you will hear old school R&B and hip hop. So hip hop I’m a Lil’ Kim, Tupac, you know, but a New Edition, Boyz II Men and, you know, and all the way Luther Vandross. I’m all of it. That’s great.

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