Best State Legislator, Missouri

Rep. Marsha Campbell

Marsha Campbell, the 39th District state representative from Brookside, left the Missouri General Assembly this year because of term limits, but not before steering an act of heroism against seemingly insurmountable odds. Throughout the session, majority Republicans tried to make massive cuts in health-care funding -- money that takes care of the state's poorest citizens. As the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, though, Campbell fought hard. "For two years, Republicans in the House have been after health care," Campbell tells us. "The first year, they wanted to do away with the children's insurance program, which would have denied coverage to more than 80,000 kids. We stopped that in '03. In '04, they came back with a plan to do away with coverage for 20,000 kids and more than 40,000 adults on regular Medicaid. More than 70 percent of those people were working women with children. We thought it was mean and gutless, and we said so. The media picked up on it and agreed." Health-care advocacy groups joined in, too. Although 65,000 people stood to lose their health care, by the end of the battle that number was down to only 324. Balancing the budget might be hard, but as Campbell knows, health care ought to be non-negotiable. "It [the health-care portion of the budget] is a big number, and the biggest part of it comes from the elderly and disabled. Children cost us the least. There's no need to play [politics] around the fringes and claim you've accomplished something," she says. "It's just mean and nasty."
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