EXCLUSIVE: Governor hopeful Nicole Galloway discusses primaries and general election
COLUMBIA — It's primary day in Missouri, and voters are out in full at the polls.
State auditor Nicole Galloway is looking toward November's general election.
KOMU 8 News sat down with Galloway Tuesday morning to discuss everything from campaigning during a pandemic to what gives her hope for a win come November.
What has working and campaigning during a pandemic looked like for you?
"In the midst of a pandemic, you have to be pretty sensitive about how you're reaching out to folks. And so we're doing that virtually, through phone calls, virtual town halls, text messages, and getting out in every part of this state visiting with folks.
No matter where I go, and how I visit with them, whatever that medium is, the issues that I hear about, particularly healthcare, are consistent throughout this state.
Look, because of COVID-19, about 100,000 Missourians have lost their health insurance coverage due to the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, Missouri was in the top 15 of states nationally for uninsured residents.
And so the issue of healthcare has popped up everywhere I go. Governor Parson has no plan, he has no vision to address the issue of healthcare, and I am offering a change.
I want to see better coverage, lower costs, and we finally address the high cost of prescription drugs in this state," Galloway said.
You're a Democrat running in a predominantly red state. What gives you hope you'll win come November?
"The polls are shifting in our favor. We have completely erased Governor Parson's advantage in the polls.
And I think it's because people are ready for a change, they want strong leadership. The biggest issue in this race is going to be the coronavirus. Our recovery from it, our defeat of it, and our economic recovery.
And there have been existing cracks in our system that have just gotten wider because of the failed policies out of Jefferson City.
Governor Parson had his chance to lead. He has failed, and now it is time for a change. And I believe people across Missouri are seeing that same thing," Galloway said.
You've been critical of Governor Parson before, especially after his comments on kids returning to school. If you're elected Governor, what changes? What would you do differently than Parson?
"First, we need to completely revamp our strategy on how we address COVID-19, because what we are doing right now is not working.
Immediately, we need to realize that our economic recovery is based on the containment of the coronavirus.
And so we need mask orders, we need to give local public health officials the resources they need for testing and contact tracing.
But we also need an economic recovery that is not going to leave folks behind. In the midst of this pandemic, folks have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
To limit the availability of their unemployment benefits, of SNAP benefits just makes no sense.
As Governor, I'll convene stakeholders, public health officials, businesses, workers, and design a recovery plan that leaves no one behind," Galloway said.
You're clearly the front runner in this Democratic primary. How long have you been looking forward to November?
"Well, we have been doing 'Get Out and Vote' Rallies virtually, and throughout the entire state.
Over the last several days it's been a very busy schedule, but we've activated activists and volunteers through text messages and phone calls, so we can hit the ground running tomorrow when the General Election officially starts.
You know, I am proud of the service that I've had as State Auditor, identifying $350 million in waste and abuses, which have led to 60 criminal counts to corrupt public officials in this state.
The same urgency that I have taken in fighting for taxpayers as State Auditor, I'm taking it into this race for Governor," Galloway said.
Before becoming State Auditor, you were Boone County Treasurer. What in your past experience will help you step up into the Governor's role if you're elected?
"I did serve as Boone County Treasurer before I became State Auditor, and for me this is all about public service.
Realizing there are folks in positions of power and authority, elected office, that are making decisions on behalf of the folks of Missouri, but often times not considering how those decisions are going to impact them.
As treasurer in Boone County, I had folks in my office concerned about their roads, public safety, resources for their kids, and they look to their leaders to address those needs.
Unfortunately, they haven't had those needs addressed out of Jefferson City with Governor Mike Parson.
I mean, look, he's kicked a hundred thousand kids off of their health care, he has cut hundreds of millions from our education budget. He is not leading our state in a way that will help Missouri move forward," Galloway said.
You've been a big proponent of Amendment 2, how important is that for you?
"I am encouraging folks to vote yes on Amendment 2 for Medicaid expansion, so we can provide health insurance coverage for nearly a quarter million working Missourians.
And we can save our rural hospitals, and bring our tax dollars home from D.C. so we can invest in good healthcare jobs in our economy.
Medicaid expansion is the economic boost that our state needs right now, and we'll never succeed as a state unless folks have access to health care," Galloway said.
Updates on Tuesday's primary results will be both on air and online at komu.com.