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U.S. Senate candidate Schatz supports Ukraine aid, abortion ban and gun owner rights

Sen. Dave Schatz speaks on the Senate floor on Feb. 22, 2022.
Madeline Carter
Missouri Independent
Missouri state Sen. Dave Schatz, shown in February, is in a crowded field of Republicans trying to replace U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. Schatz served in the Missouri Senate for the past eight years and as its president pro-tem during the past four.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz says he initially delayed declaring his candidacy for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat because he was waiting for a candidate who would offer what Missouri needed most in Washington.

When that candidate didn’t appear, he decided to run, he said Monday on Politically Speaking.

“I think that we have folks that are entered in this race that are looking for the next office. They’ve been running from one to the next,” Schatz said.

Schatz, R-Sullivan, is part of a crowded field vying to succeed Sen. Roy Blunt, who announced last year he would not seek reelection.

Republican candidates include Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Gov. Eric Greitens, U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long and attorney Mark McCloskey. Schatz is currently polling sixth.

Schatz has represented the 26th state Senate District, which includes Franklin County and part of St. Louis County, for the past eight years. During the past four, he has served as Senate president pro tem, whose responsibilities include appointing committee chairs and assigning bills to committees.

Schatz owns a telecommunications company, Schatz Underground.

With the primary Aug. 2, Republicans and Democrats now have less than two months to convince Missouri voters that they should be the candidate who moves forward to the general election in November.

Schatz talked about his candidacy as well as where he stands on national and international issues.

Ukraine aid

Schatz is in favor of continuing giving monetary and military support to Ukraine. He said providing some financial support and resources is necessary.

“I think we're gonna have to stand in there and support them and make sure that we do it in a financially, fiscally responsible way, that the resources get to where they can be utilized in the best fashion,” Schatz said.

He also said though he didn’t feel it was a perfect piece of legislation, he would have probably supported the $40 billion package recently approved.

While Schatz’s support aligns with Blunt, it’s opposite of the position taken by Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, who said the bill did not serve America’s interests.

On the argument that the United States should focus more on domestic issues as opposed to Ukraine, Schatz says it needs to be a balance, but what is happening in Ukraine is impacting areas beyond its borders.

“We have to take that into account strategically, all of the resources that are being produced outside of the United States,” Schatz said.

The U.S. economy, including inflation

Schatz said the United States first needs to get its finances in order.

One thing he thinks has caused high inflation is the Biden administration’s current energy policies, such as canceling work on the Keystone pipeline.

“We can work our way and migrate towards greener energy and opportunities, but again, shutting the pipeline down, doing some of the things that have led to these historic high gas prices has led a lot to the inflation that we're seeing right now,” Schatz said.

Abortion rights

Missouri is one of several states with a law that would make abortion illegal in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, a decision that could be announced any time now.

Schatz was president of the Missouri Senate when lawmakers passed that legislation, and he believes they “got it right” in 2019 and would take that same position as a U.S. senator.

The law's ban applies to cases of rape or incest.

“It's unfortunate that these situations occur. But choosing to end someone's life is not an acceptable process,” Schatz said.

Gun control

With calls for gun control front and center after recent mass shootings, Schatz said that any conversation centered around prohibiting someone from having access to a gun would require a close look.

Schatz said the person, not the gun, is the issue, but he also stated that a mental illness should not impede someone from obtaining a firearm.

“I'm not sure what is the appropriate measure, when we talk about people with mental health issues, but I would be fearful that it would be used as a tool, potentially, to harm individuals,” Schatz said.

He defended the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, which bars state law enforcement from upholding federal gun laws that aren’t already in Missouri law. He said it was the right approach to making sure the federal government doesn’t encroach on Missourians' right to defend themselves.

Schatz also did not support the idea of a red flag law, calling a measure that would provide a judicial path to remove firearms from someone considered a danger to others a slippery slope.

Transportation policy

Schatz touted his work on transportation within Missouri and hopes to continue that on a larger scale if elected to the Senate.

He says that from working firsthand with Blunt, he knows how important it is to have someone in Washington advocating for transportation funding.

“Infrastructure is one of the core functions that the federal government should be engaged in,” Schatz said.

He defended the passage of a gas tax increase that the state legislature approved last year, saying he could not have left the Missouri Senate in good faith without funding the state’s transportation needs.

Race relations and the police

He said there has been a breakdown in relationships with law enforcement and spoke on the need for the necessary training and resources for police officers, so they have “quality people doing the job.”

But he also said the issue of race relations and law enforcement is more suited to state or local governments, as opposed to the federal government.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the local neighborhood, the local municipality, and how they ultimately interact with their constituents and their folks,” Schatz said.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Sarah Kellogg on Twitter: @sarahkkellogg

Follow Dave Schatz on Twitter: @DaveSchatzMO

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.