U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s congressional office helped provide space in a Capitol Hill office building for an organization that promotes the idea that LGBTQ people can change their sexual preference.

Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, was in Columbia on Friday to speak to a group of women farmers at the Pearls of Production: Women in Agriculture annual conference at the Drury Plaza Hotel. Afterward, in a meeting with reporters, Hartzler was asked about why her office helped the organization, called Changed.

Hartzler said she was not personally aware of her office’s choice to sign off on the public forum but supports the decision to do so.

“I may have been unavailable at the moment, but I would have supported this effort,” she said. “It wasn’t that big of a deal in that we were just helping to facilitate some people who wanted to come share their story with others. And I think their story needs to be heard.”

Changed is a group made up of people who used to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, but now say they identify as heterosexual and cisgender, according to the Huffington Post. The group says its members were able to change their sexual identity by leaning on their Christian faith. The group believes that sexual orientation is a choice and that conversion therapy should be legal.

Hartzler’s office was not involved in the forum itself.

Hartlzer has a history of advocating against LGBTQ issues. She pushed President Donald Trump to ban transgender people from serving in the military, according to the Kansas City Star.

In the same meeting with reporters, Hartzler also gave her thoughts on the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump and the recent vote in the house to endorse it.

“The vote validates a failed process. I think it’s interesting that it passed on Halloween because it tried to validate the witch hunt that has been going on,” she said.

Hartzler said the president has been denied “due process.”

At the conference, Hartzler talked about her support for legislation that favors rural farmers and agricultural businesses.

She addressed the issue of decreasing soybean prices due to tariffs on China imposed by Trump in June 2018.

Hartzler said the drop in prices were damaging because “one out of every three rows of soybeans went to China.”

“A lot of the farmers I have visited within my district are supportive of what the president is trying to do,” she said. “They understand it’s short-term pain that will hopefully result in long-term gain.”

Hartzler also spent time talking about the need for rural broadband expansion in Missouri. The state ranks 41st in access to rural broadband.

The most recent version of the Farm Bill established a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that gives grants to internet service providers in rural communities to make rural broadband more accessible. Hartzler helped add two amendments to ensure that the broadband offered under these grants would meet a certain speed criteria to ensure the internet offered is fast enough to keep up with modern life.

Supervising editor is Tynan Stewart.

  • State government reporter for the Missourian. Studying investigative journalism. Reach me at judyylucas@gmail.com or in the newsroom at 573-882-5700.

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