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The Leader continues its Voters Guide for the Aug. 4 primary election. To assist an expected high number of people who will cast absentee and mail-in ballots, we will be posting profiles on candidates in contested races and ballot issues. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot or mail-in ballot is July 22. For information, call the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office at 636-797-5486.

Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer of St. Elizabeth is seeking his sixth two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives, but in the most contested race of an officeholder who represents Jefferson County, he’ll have to defeat four fellow Republicans in the Aug. 4 primary election.

Joining Luetkemeyer in the GOP race are Brandon Wilkinson of Cedar Hill, Adela Wisdom of Williamsburg, Jeffrey Nowak of Winfield and Lynette Trares of Lake St. Louis.

None returned a Leader candidate questionnaire.

The victor of the primary then will square off in the November general election against one of two Democrats, with the winner also decided on Aug. 4. Those contenders are Megan Rezabek of Imperial and Dennis Oglesby of Warrenton.

It will be a three-way race in November, with Leonard Steinman II, who is running unopposed in the Aug. 4. Libertarian Party’s primary, joining the fray.

District 3 covers northern Jefferson County and extends north and west past the St. Louis area.

The pay for U.S. representative is $174,000 a year, plus allowances. The term is for two years.

DEMOCRATS

REZABEK, 29, lives in Imperial. She has two children. She is a maintenance worker for Woodly Building Maintenance.

She graduated from Seckman High School in 2009 and attended Jefferson College.

Social media: Website: meganrezabekforcongress.com

OGLESBY, 39, lives in Warrenton. He and his spouse, Jason, have been married for five years. He has worked in management in the print and promotional products industry for 16 years.

He has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration from Western Governor’s University and an associate degree from St. Louis Community College.

Social media: Website: oglesbyforcongress.com Facebook: Oglesby For Congress Twitter: @ForOglesby

What experience do you have (elected office, civic organizations, volunteer work, etc.) that might serve you well in this position?

Rezabek: I have experience as a stay-at-home mom as well as being a member of the working poor. While many will say this is not the type of experience needed for Congress, I disagree. We desperately need more everyday working people in Congress who understand issues like stagnated wages and increasing inflation, the struggle to afford health care and medication costs. That perspective is crucial to rebuilding the middle class and protecting human rights.

Oglesby: I serve as chair of the Warren County Democrats Club and am an active board member of Promotional Products Association Midwest. I have volunteered extensively with political campaigns at state and federal levels and am active with several charitable organizations.

How would you grade the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Explain your grade.

Rezabek: F. The federal government's response to COVID-19 has been devastating to the American people and the economy. Once again, they have put the interests of corporations before the well-being of the American people. Millions of Americans are now jobless and on the verge of homelessness, while large corporations received $500 billion of taxpayer money. COVID-19 has also shown the importance of health care as a necessity for public safety. The government’s failed response to COVID -19 has made us see we have little to no safety net for the working poor who must continue to work even when ill.

Oglesby: The passage of the CARES Act prevents me from giving a complete failing grade. However, I would grade the response with a D-. Our government clearly was unprepared for a pandemic of this scale. Previous warnings from scientists were ignored. While seeing the growing crisis unfold, our government was too slow to enact safety measures, which led us to a near-complete shutdown and the economic situation we see now. With strategic plans, mitigation could have been possible. At the same time, we are still not seeing long-term plans for this and future pandemics.

How should Congress respond to calls to improve social justice?

Rezabek: Congress works for the people. If the people are demanding action from Congress, it is their duty to work together to meet the needs of Americans. If the people want justice reform, climate action, higher wages, affordable education and many other improvements we can make for society, Congress needs to listen to the people not just the corporations that pay them money.

Oglesby: Congress needs to stop with the petty party games and finger-pointing and focus on issues that impact humanity. It is obvious changes need to be made to our police forces and we need to acknowledge the past problems and listen with open hearts and minds.

Why should voters elect you to this position? List your goals, if elected.

Rezabek: I have not accepted a dime in campaign donations, I am the only candidate who owes no favors to anyone, I cannot be bought and I will work for the American people. Goals: Campaign finance reform, justice reform, climate action, improve workers’ rights, and protect woman's and LBGTQ+ rights.

Oglesby: Any voter who has grown tired of the bickering in Washington needs to join me in fighting for the working class. I won’t bow to party lines and will not be bought by corporations or special interests. I am a member of the working class who is tired of politicians ignoring us and the issues that really matter. I offer true representation with compassion and empathy. Expanded health care with reduced costs is the top on most families’ lists and mine as well. I will work to balance our economy and focus on climate change issues, impacting our future stability.

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