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Monday, July 28, 2014

Brandom learning on the job

Sunday, January 21, 2007

(Photo)
Ellen Brandom
JEFFERSON CITY -- With less than three weeks on the job, Ellen Brandom, state representative for the 160th District, is already hard at it.

"It's great -- it's really exciting and I'm working very hard to learn as much as I can every day," Brandom said.

Brandom said she worked hard and listened during her campaign to get elected, and now that she is in office, she is "trying to work harder and listen more. The most important thing I can do is serve the people of the 160th District."

Reflecting on her first couple of weeks in office, Brandom said: "I think it's a very humbling experience and I'm very appreciative of the advice experts have shared with me on various subjects. I want to encourage all the communities in this district to contact me if they have needs that need to be addressed at the state level or if there's some sort of legislation that needs to be introduced."

Brandom said she has already set several clear goals for herself.

"A priority would be that every child in Missouri has the best education possible. It is important that the 160th District receive their fair share of the funding," she said. "Another priority will be to work on expanding job opportunities and economic development. Hopefully we can continue to see the agriculture products taken to the next value-added level."

Brandom said another goal for her during this term is finding "a long term solution for a workable Medicaid plan for the future that takes care of the needy, punishes the greedy and does not break state government -- we need to get rid of fraud."

"I will continue to promote legislation that promotes our traditional, common sense rural values," she continued. "I'm going to work for tax relief, I want to see a balanced budget always and I would like to have English be the official language of the state of Missouri. I also believe in the Castle Doctrine which gives any of us as citizens the right to protect ourselves, if someone is trying to break into our home, without being punished."

Brandom said she has already co-sponsored several pieces of legislation including a resolution against the pending pay increase for legislators.

"I sincerely believe judges need a pay increase but I won't promote anything that increases my own pay," she said.

The pay raise for judges and legislators will go into effect unless voted down by a two-thirds majority.

"I have also co-sponsored an increase in funding for the sheltered workshops," she said, "and legislation to remove income tax from Social Security. We're one of only 15 states in the country that has taxes on Social Security."

Brandom said she and her fellow Republicans are also looking at removing the tax on military pensions.

"I also co-sponsored legislation to expand eligibility of our neediest seniors for food stamps. Seniors receiving the minimum Social Security may only be receiving $400 to $500 per month," she said. As it stands now, "if they own a very modest home, then they may only qualify for $10 or $15 worth of food stamps."

House committee appointments were released at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Brandom.

"I'm on Appropriations for Agriculture and Natural Resources; Health Care Facilities; Tax Reform; and Ticket to Work -- I'll be vice chairman of that committee," Brandom said.

The Tax Reform Committee works to simplify the tax code, she explained. Following Gov. Matt Blunt's state of the state message, "it will review the governor's proposal as it might relate to the tax code," Brandom said. "This committee will continue to look at ways to return tax money to the taxpayers.

"The Ticket to Work Committee is charged with correcting the Medicaid benefits that were inadvertently affected in the Medicaid reform that directly affect sheltered workshop and VIP employees. There may be other small, very specific Medicaid reinstatements that may be looked at."

Brandom encouraged constituents to call her toll-free number, 866-834-9219, if they have concerns.

"I'm enjoying it," she said of her new job. "I've been very busy and I'm working hard to learn. I'm learning a lot and I'm going to learn a lot more."