By Ann Wagner
My grandmother always told me we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. She was an amazing woman who lived through the Great Depression, survived polio, helped my grandfather start a manufacturing business in St. Louis, and like all grandparents had clever ways of teaching us life lessons such as learning requires more listening than speaking.
As a first-time candidate for Congress I do a lot of listening these days and, as a result, a lot of learning. Whether visiting at kitchen tables and coffee shops or businesses throughout Missouri's 2nd District, I am hearing from a lot of women and they are genuinely and sincerely worried about the future of our great nation. They fear their children and grandchildren will not have the same opportunities they did, the same shot at the American Dream.
Some work at home raising their children, some work outside the home juggling a job or career along with their family needs, some are retired, some unemployed or underemployed, and some are fresh out of college. Most of them are mothers.
We've watched the progression of these women and their concerns over two decades, from multi-tasking "soccer moms" to "security moms" worried about foreign wars and the threat of terrorism.
Today, these women are frustrated with prolonged unemployment over 8 percent, national debt well above $15 trillion (100 percent of GDP), and an irresponsible U.S. Senate that hasn't passed a budget in more than 1,085 days. I believe this new group of concerned, and politically awakened women are echoing the major concerns of this country. They will be heard and known as "Budget Moms."
These Budget Moms are universally fed up with a federal government that is mortgaging our children's future with reckless spending and dangerous, unsustainable debt. Budget Moms have to juggle the family finances, and during these difficult economic times, they have had to cut back and live within their means. They want a government that does the same!
Budget Moms make more than 70 percent of the household purchasing decisions and account for some 80 percent of consumer spending. They fill up the family car with gas and know the high price at the pump is a result of this administration's failed energy policy.
As mothers, wives, and daughters, Budget Moms are involved in most healthcare decisions as well. They know the value and cost of quality-individualized care and how crucially important the relationship between patient and doctor must be, not patient and government tribunal (or bureaucrat).
Budget Moms want an economic environment that fosters growth, encourages competition, and creates jobs and opportunities so the free enterprise system can flourish unencumbered by government over-regulation and interference.
They are tired of an Administration that seeks to divide us for political gain by class, race, age, or gender - pitting American against American. They see the impact this divisiveness has on families and the fear it creates, generating an instinctive skepticism toward an over-reaching government that wants to replace the family structure and chip away at our liberties.
Now they're talking about a war on women, but there shouldn't be a war on women; there should be a battle -- a battle for our votes. In the St. Louis area alone, we account for nearly 53 percent of the population, making us one of the largest voting blocks in the country and we have our sights set on the 2012 election.
My grandmother always said that a mother is only as happy as her most unhappy child and I see a whole generation of unhappiness ahead if we continue down our current path. Budget Moms understand this, they know we must make a change and if you listen you'll know change is coming.