Incumbent Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler seeks second term in new district

Monday, October 15, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:00 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Vicky Hartzler, representative for Missouri's 4th Congressional District, talks at the Boone County Republicans Fall BBQ in late September.

COLUMBIA — Vicky Hartzler, the incumbent congresswoman seeking re-election in Missouri's 4th Congressional District, thinks she's had a successful track record in her first two years as a representative.

"I can say, in the House, we passed five bills that say 'let's use the resources our country's been blessed with. It's time to do it,'" she told an applauding audience of supporters at the Sept. 28 Boone County Republican Fall BBQ.

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Vicky Hartzler, the Republican incumbent from south of Harrisonville, is one of four candidates running to represent Missouri's 4th Congressional District. She faces Libertarian Thomas Holbrook, Democrat Teresa Hensley and Constitution Party candidate Gary Cowan. Cowan did not respond to numerous attempts by the Missourian to reach him.

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"The Obama administration failed to approve the Keystone Pipeline," she said, adding that it was a reason for the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Hartzler faces Democrat challenger Teresa Hensley, Libertarian Thomas Holbrook and Constitution Party candidate Greg Cowan in the race to represent the newly redrawn district.

Hartzler said that, if she is re-elected, her "undo list" will focus on building jobs and strengthening the economy.

Hartzler wants to remove "onerous policies and heavy-handed tactics," repeal "Obamacare," reduce over-regulations such as those set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and promote job growth by "using our energy" to reduce manufacturing costs.

"I am so excited about this election, and I am looking forward to having the privilege of representing you and fighting for you in Washington, D.C.," Hartzler told supporters during the barbecue.

Hartzler is proud of legislation this year that blocked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's plans to demolish 1,200 homes in the Lake of the Ozarks area last year.

She also participated in the first overhaul of Missouri's adoption laws since the 1950s. "We were successful and very thankful we got that done," Hartzler said.

Supporters say they are happy with the decisions Hartzler has made in office. 

"She's doing a wonderful job," said C. Ben Basye, who donated a signed copy of his autobiography, "Lightning Ben I Flew With Eagles," for a fundraiser at the barbecue. He was impressed that after he sent her a copy of the book, Hartzler sent him a handwritten thank you letter.

Hartzler and her husband, Lowell Hartzler, operate a farm south of Harrisonville and a farm equipment company with locations in Harrisonville, Nevada and Lamar. They received the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award for soil conservation on the farm. The Hartzlers raise corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, along with a cow-and-calf operation.

Hartlzer said she became interested in politics at a young age and was drawn specifically to the call to help other people. She was inspired by Lt. Gov. Harriett Woods and remembers listening to "every word" of her speeches shortly after her election in 1984. Hartzler became enthralled with the political process and the daily work of the lieutenant governor. 

Hartzler was valedictorian of her high school class and received the Citizenship Award, which was given each year to one male and one female student. Hartzler graduated summa cum laude from MU and was a member of the Mortar Board honor society. 

She received the Young Educator Award while a teacher at Belton High School.She also was a track coach for six years and co-director for Impact, an organization that worked with community support groups and parents to assist youth at risk of engaging in dangerous behavior. Hartzler likened it to a sort of intervention.

"It emphasizes the important role the family plays in a kid's life and education," Hartzler said.

Hartzler has served on the Cass County Council on Aging for 15 years and has helped run the Cass County Senior Citizens' Center in Harrisonville, assisting with programs such as Meals on Wheels.

"She is committed to taking care of elderly citizens," said Steve Walsh, Hartzler's spokesman.

Change is necessary, however, to retain services for senior citizens, Hartzler said. She explained that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted Medicare would go bankrupt in eight years "if we don't make some important reforms." She also said she is "working very hard to preserve and protect" Medicare and Social Security. 

Plans supported by Hartzler would bring down health-care costs for people younger than 55, Walsh said. Competition between two or more health care vendors could reduce costs, he added, similar to current plans for federal employees. People 55 and older could take advantage of the competition-based system or continue with a system such as today's Medicare.

Hartzler has been making campaign appearances throughout the 4th District, which includes much of west-central Missouri. 

"I love the people of this district," she said. "They're hard working and good people."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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