Conservative, grassroots candidates with decades of public service push fiscal responsibility and common sense policies in race for health board seats in Missouri

Three conservative candidates with decades of public service are pushing fiscal responsibility and common sense policies in the race for the Clay County Health Board in Missouri.

Incumbent Debbie…

Three conservative candidates with decades of public service are pushing fiscal responsibility and common sense policies in the race for the Clay County Health Board in Missouri.

Incumbent Debbie Florido and newcomers Dr. Jim Dixson, DDS and Dave Ferrara hope to win all three open seats on Tuesday, when voters in the county will choose between five candidates. A sweep would effectively flip the board from liberal to conservative control.

Florido is a wife and mother of five, with one grandchild. She has almost 40 years of experience in nursing, and was originally elected to the board on a one-year term in April 2023. After seeing the board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative impact that lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates and school closures had on the community, she knew she had to get involved.

Now, she’s running for re-election, believing her work is unfinished in light of rising fentanyl overdoses, suicide rates at historic highs and a teen mental health crisis looming. 

“I have been a registered nurse for 37 years and have held many different nursing positions,” she told The Lion, “all of which have given me significant experience to lead. I have been face to face with patients for my entire career, which has allowed me to see first-hand the public health issues that are prevalent in the Kansas City area. 

“There are many challenges in public health. It is important to prioritize these issues and act for the greater good of all Clay County residents. While some problems are ongoing, there are new challenges that we also face.” 

If re-elected, Florido told the Gladstone Dispatch she will continue prioritizing the constituents’ needs and promote responsible spending. 

“Board members are elected by the people of Clay County. We are invested in the well-being of our constituents because we are also county residents who benefit from strong public health programs. Fiscal accountability of taxpayer dollars is key to a successful health department.” 

Dixson is a husband, father and dentist with almost 30 years of experience. He was the first dentist for Miles of Smiles in Clay, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri. Miles of Smiles, which provides mobile dental care for low-income families, has treated over 25,000 children since 2002. 

If elected, Dixson hopes to oversee the county’s public health center dental program to provide high quality, affordable dental care for the county’s fixed-income residents. 

His priorities include healthcare accessibility, disease prevention, overall health and wellness and fiscal responsibility. 

“I am running to ensure that the citizens of Clay County receive quality services and the care needed at their public health center. Access to care is a public health issue in Clay County, as well as the opioid crisis. Improving our community health outreach to all residents is important, as well as providing affordable healthcare options. 

“The health board trustees should be representing the community. They can work together to make health care more accessible, ultimately improving health outcomes.” 

Ferrara is a husband, father and grandfather. He’s EMT-certified and served in the Kansas City Fire Department for 30 years. 

If elected, Ferrara aims to use his experience to promote fiscal responsibility, mental health initiatives for veterans and first responders, as well as support the county’s opioid task force. 

“The collaborative relationship between elected health board members and residents is vital to good public health governance. Good communication and transparency will ensure that our health policies are reflective of the values and priorities of Clay County. 

“I am running to make sure citizens of Clay County know they can count on full transparency and accountability with their public health services. Clay County isn’t unlike many other counties in that opioid abuse and fentanyl is a public health threat. I plan on working alongside the Sheriff’s Opioid Task Force to reduce the number of deaths in Clay County.” 

Florido, Dixson and Ferrara now follow a growing nationwide trend of conservative, grassroots activism spurred on by the lived experiences of concerned citizens over the last few years.