GOP congressional candidate from Stockton focusing on agriculture and rural health care; district includes Columbia

Agriculture is a top priority for a farmer and certified public accountant who’s running for Congress in west-central Missouri’s fourth district.

Stockton Republican Kelena Bruce tells “Wake Up Columbia” that her daughter’s future also prompted her to run.

“I’ve been given this voice and it’s been cultivated and it’s been, you know, people have helped me streamline what my message is and how I can be most effective,” Bruce says.

Then-President Donald Trump publicly recognized Ms. Bruce in 2019 for her efforts to help pass the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. The fourth district includes Columbia, Moberly, Sedalia and Stockton.

Keeping rural hospitals open is a top priority for Ms. Bruce. The Missouri Hospital Association says ten rural hospitals have closed since 2014, including Boonville’s Pinnacle Regional Hospital. She says Cedar County, where she lives, is on the brink of losing a critical care access facility.

“It’s hard for people to understand how important those are until you need them, right. My daughter was born very ill, and it was imperative that we had that critical care access center close to our home so that we could even just come home from the hospital after being there for months,” says Bruce.

The fourth district has also lost two other rural hospitals since 2014: the Southwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehab Center in El Dorado Springs and Osceola’s Sac-Osage Hospital.

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