Graves, Blackwell vie for congressional seat

Nate Robinson, Staff Reporter

On Nov. 8 the future of a vast number of politicians lay in the hands of American citizens. Beyond the hype and celebrity of the presidential election, hundreds of smaller local campaigns are working for your vote.

Missouri’s sixth district, which includes Parkville, is one of 469 Congressional seats up for election. In this race there are three candidates competing on the ballot: the incumbent Republican Sam Graves, Democrat David Blackwell and Libertarian Russ Monchil.

Graves has served the district since 2001 and remains a popular candidate in the rural district, consistently earning more than 60 percent of the vote in all of the following elections, except for 2008 with 59.43 percent of the vote.

Blackwell is a relative unknown in the political arena. His campaign does not have an official website, a Facebook page serves as the primary communication tool. The page lacks any original platform or agenda information.

According to, Blackwell has passed their 2016 Political Courage Test which aims to define “clear stances on key issues.” The site also identifies Blackwell has earned a zero percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Blackwell maintains a consistent liberal stance on every major issue. In a statement made in the Political Courage Test, Blackwell identified his top priorities if elected.

“I support automatic universal voter registration, and the American Anti-Corruption Act. Both have a cost, but I believe that cost to be easily manageable. We should either expand the ACA, closing the coverage gap and provide a public option, or shift to a ‘Medicare for All’ single payer system,” stated Blackwell. “The cost for single payer could be offset with an expanded payroll tax, replacing current employer provided health care at a substantial savings, and should be revenue neutral. Single payer would greatly reduce costs and administrative overhead for our health care system, and be a boon to small businesses.”

Monchil, the Libertarian candidate, is also a newcomer to the political scene. Monchil’s official campaign website,, is minimal and identifies him as a family man, who buys/sells livestock, and defines libertarianism.

According to this site the three issues Monchil is addressing are: criminal justice reform, proportional representation, major business tax breaks for businesses located in the U.S., and hiring American citizens.

Monchil passed the Political Courage Test in 2012. However, he has failed the test in both 2014 and 2016. This is due to ambiguous answers on the majority of questions and has not provided a stance on energy or the environment. Monchil’s Libertarian stance combines issues of the two major platforms. He is pro-choice, pro-gun, he approves full legalization of marijuana, and wishes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Graves comes to the election with the greatest name recognition, experience and funding. The Monchil and Blackwell campaigns report $0 in funding and $0 in campaign expenses each, while the Graves campaign reports more than $1.4 million in receipts, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The Graves official website provides information addressing the Congressman’s position on his most prominent issues. He has an extensive record of sponsored and co-sponsored bills, all of which represent his conservative values. He is also a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Armed Services. According to his website,, Graves adamantly opposes and wishes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“I believe marriage is between ONE man and ONE woman and that we should protect the lives of the unborn under all but the direst of circumstances.” Graves published on his website, identifying his position on same sex marriage and abortion. He also states, “This president has taken unprecedented actions to restrict our second amendment rights, which is why I introduced legislation to restrict all funding for Obama’s executive orders that target and reduce our second amendment rights,” cementing his stance on guns.

Graves is a small government Republican who believes that “the federal government does not exist to create jobs. What Washington should be doing is cutting taxes and limiting harmful regulations.” A large majority of the bills Graves has sponsored or co-sponsored are economic and trade related.

“I believe the federal government should throw out the current system and adopt a much simpler, more stream-lined code. That is why I am a co-sponsor and consistent supporter of the Fair-Tax, which would replace the current progressive income tax with a national sales tax,” he currently proposes.

State and local races are opportunities to let your vote be heard by candidates far closer to home, who have great ability to impact your daily life.