Freedom Matters in Missouri By Henry Martin

In Missouri we understand that the role of the government is to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some folks in Washington, however, seem to have forgotten this. Cracking down on small businesses, criminalizing harm reduction, and establishing burdensome red tape has been the M.O. of MO’s 6th congressional district representative for far too long. I am running for congress to end this farce.

As a combat veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm I have seen firsthand the impact of cigarette dependence on our military. The daily stress and concern for one’s life will unnerve even the strongest among us. I can remember vividly the second-hand smoke that would fill the barracks. The smoke would cloud our rooms and the smell would linger for what seemed like hours. Vape products allow soldiers an alternative to stress-induced chain-smoking. Restricting the availability of vape products to our soldiers denies them the choice of a less harmful nicotine product. Speaking from the standpoint of a non-smoker, I would have greatly preferred that my buddies in the 3rd armored division puffed apple pie vape in my room rather than their cigarettes.

When I came back home to Missouri as a non-smoker, I found that many of my friends had taken up smoking and were dependent on cigarettes. Everywhere we went, they would need a smoke break. The public areas would be filled with irritable smoke that has incredible second-hand dangers. Vaping gives these people something that allows them to quit and keeps public spaces empty of the harmful tobacco smoke so now we all can enjoy the evening.

As a father, it was my responsibility to teach my children about adult products like tobacco and alcohol. I would always tell them that certain activities were only for adults and that adult products can be extremely dangerous for children. They would ask questions and I would patiently answer them. The bond between a child and their parents is naturally strong. It is our responsibility as parents to inform our children of the dangers of adult products, and it is our responsibility as parents to monitor our children. When our children act out of line or violate the law, it is our responsibility as parents to correct their behaviors through patience, understanding, and guidance. It is absolutely not the government’s right to criminalize adult products because some people knowingly violate the laws that regulate these products. The answer to the illegal use of adult products is to strengthen American families and give parents the tools they need to guide their children.

Flavors have been present in adult products throughout my entire life. So why are flavored vaping products being suddenly criminalized? If you are over 21 years of age, the government has absolutely no business telling you what flavors you are “allowed” to vape. American adults are not children, and their representatives in D.C. should not treat them as such. Family businesses should not be raided and harassed by government bureaucrats for selling a vanilla flavored vape when the liquor store across the street is selling vanilla flavored vodka. This is a clear double standard that shows how far the empty suits in Washington will go when left unchecked. Our freedoms and liberties should be protected by congress, and our representatives in Washington should be fighting against senseless overreach. Instead, Missouri’s 6th district representative has been swept up in D.C.’s coastal consensus.

While I may not get invited to the decadent D.C. dinners and fundraisers that my opponent has frequented for 20 years, it is hard for me to imagine that cosmos and martinis are banned from the bar for containing flavors. So why do our representatives legislate with one morality, then act with another? It seems to me that those who have been in office for decades have lost touch with their districts and have grown far too cozy in what is supposed to be a public service position. Our elected officials are out of line when they preach moral panic over the flavors that adults choose to vape. This is precisely why I am running for congress once again. We must end this Washington madness and fight for the freedoms of those of us who call Missouri home.

It is time to bring common-sense back to Washington. Over the coming months I will be reaching out to Missourians to let them know that their freedoms matter, and that they deserve better from their congress. I am going to be working hard to earn the support of folks from every county across northern Missouri in the democratic primary for Missouri’s 6th U.S. house seat on August 4th, and then again for the general election on November 3rd. Together, we can stand up to the bureaucrats and empty suits infringing upon our freedoms. It is time we send someone to D.C. who understands that Missouri matters.