The News is not always right

Article courtesy of Senator Mike Moon

A recent (February 10, 2022) article in the Branson Tri-Lakes News entitled “Does Moon’s DHSS grandstanding hurt his district?,” Jason Wert asserts that actions taken “against a man who was more than qualified … to lead the Department of Health and Senior Services, … wasted … political capital” and “will hamper [my] ability to help advance legislation which could actually provide economic help and jobs to the residents of southwest Missouri.”
While I recognize the importance of jobs in the MO 29 Senate District (and the economic benefit accompanying them), there is, perhaps, something far more important: the protection of the people of Missouri from despots.
In the case of Mr. Don Kauerauf, the former appointee to head the DHSS, we must consider his background, his ability, and his intent.  I met with Mr. Kauerauf on two separate occasions – both in my Capitol office.  I found him to be pleasant and extremely bright.  We talked about family (he is a father of triplets), hobbies (he is a fitness enthusiast) and, of course, public health.
Since I have a daughter who, along with her husband and children, are missionaries to Australia, I asked Mr. Kauerauf what he knew about the countries’ health policies.  (Government officials in Australia are enacting some of the most severe COVID restrictions in the world.)  Specifically, I mentioned a program called SHIELD (often referred to as SHIELD USA, SHIELD T3 and in the state of Illinois as SHIELD Illinois).  SHIELD incorporates features such as contact tracing, proximity tracing, and test-to-stay (a test required in order to determine whether or not an individual has COVID).  SHIELD Illinois is being utilized in Illinois (Mr. Kauerauf’s wife, Judy, was involved in establishing SHIELD Illinois, as part of her responsibility in the IL Department of Public Health).  During one of our conversations, he took a smart phone from his pocket and pointed to an app used for contact tracing.
Mr. Kauerauf had previously made statements, such as, Missouri’s vaccination rates were atrocious and that he would like to see 100% of Missourians vaccinated.  To be fair, he also stated that he was against mandates.
I mentioned to Mr. Kauerauf that I would likely asked him some hard questions during the confirmation hearing.  He responded by stating he expected to be questioned.
During the hearing, I asked Mr. Kauerauf many questions.  Among them, in reference to the appalling percentage of vaccinated Missourians, I asked about his goal of 100% vaccination.  His response reduced the goal to 75%.
When I referenced our conversations in my office (a DHSS staffer and two of my staff were present), specifically regarding the SHIELD program and the contact tracing app (on his phone) he denied any knowledge of the program (or phone app).
It concerned me that, in public, he had changed his previous answers.
Mr. Kauerauf often stated in public that he was pro-life.  In the hearing I asked him what being pro-life meant to him.  He responded by saying that all children should be cared for after birth.  (His response led me to believe that, as the director of the state public health department, he might not be willing to protect a developing human baby still in the womb.)
I asked Mr. Kauerauf when life begins.  He stated that he could not answer the question.  I persisted by asking, if he were confirmed as the DHSS Director, would he approve the funding of entities which either provided abortions or support abortions.  Again, he would not answer the question.
These unanswered questions caused me to wonder why he was being deceitful (lying) and what else might he be hiding.  Would he attempt to enact public health policy which would be detrimental to Missourians?
I could not risk allowing Mr. Kauerauf’s nomination to be confirmed by the Senate.
So, if taking firm action to stop the confirmation of a gubernatorial appointee, in order to protect Missourians from a heavy-handed government,  is “wasting” political capital, I’ll do it again in a heartbeat!
As for my quote by the AP (leave it to the press to pick and choose parts to include and parts to omit), my full statement was, “It was a sweet victory for the people of the state.”  I’ll stand with the people any day!
Just recently, a letter was received from a MO DHSS employee.  In the letter, the employee stated:
“I am… an employee of Missouri, in the Department of Health and Senior Services. A few months ago, the department instituted a “procedure” which requires all employees who interact with the public to show vaccines cards, or be tested weekly, or be terminated.  There are no exceptions, not even for those of us who already had Covid.”
This was not written in department policy (otherwise, it would have been public knowledge).  This was done while Mr. Kauerauf was acting DHSS director.  This “private” department policy could easily become public policy if Don Kauerauf had been confirmed as the director.
Perhaps, my action was the correct one after all.