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Jefferson County Democrat Josh Nicoloff will challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer in 2022 to represent Missouri's 3rd Congressional District.

Nicoloff, of Herculaneum, is the revenue audit manager for a large hospitality company. He previously worked in community pharmacy for more than 10 years.

Nicoloff said he decided to run for Congress because we need more people in Congress "who are going to make decisions that make American families' lives better and not worse."

"After the 2020 election, I just realized that we needed more people in Congress that were actually working for the American people — not for people that were going to help them line their own pockets," he said.

Nicoloff's top issues are health care, equal rights, and ethics and transparency.

He said it's important all Americans — especially those in rural areas — have access to quality and affordable health care.

"For so long, rural Americans had access to good health care, and then all of the larger hospitals and companies came in and started buying those up and moved all the specialists to the bigger cities, and now, rural Americans have to drive multiple hours just to get the treatment that they need," Nicoloff said.

If elected, another priority would be to work to close the gender pay gap, he said.

"It's astonishing to me that in 2021 women still only make 81.6 cents to every dollar a man makes," Nicoloff said.

He also said the 14th Amendment should be broadened and improved.

"We need to be focusing on equal rights for the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) and the LGBTQ communities and making sure that all Americans are treated fairly," Nicoloff said.

The best way to run government, he said, is with a well-informed electorate by actively having tough conversations with constituents.

"We're not going to agree on everything, but I think if you have those tough conversations, you can find the important issues that you do agree on and then talk about why legislation is important for them and what it means for them," Nicoloff said.

Nicoloff would also like to grow business and agriculture by giving "small businesses and the the middle class the tools they need to thrive."

He believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act needs to be reformed to "give the middle class their fair share," according to a news release from Nicoloff's campaign manager.

"As a result of representatives that care more about special-interest groups rather than their constituents, Missouri is time and time again in the bottom percentile for job growth, education and health care, the most important aspect in everyone's life," he said in the news release. "As Americans, we shouldn't have to choose between buying medication or putting food on the table."

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