A candidlook at the past, present and future of the Democratic Party in Missouri was the focus of a gathering last week of more than 150 Democratic leaders, faithful and friends from across the state hosted by UFCW Local 655 at our union hall.
President David Cook set the tone: “Missourians are under attack from a radical wing of the Republican Party. We have to fight back! We have to all pitch in and elect our friends, 95 percent of the time that will be Democrats.”
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, whose recent re-election to a six-year term could allow her a few years of ‘peace and quiet’ before she needs to begin campaigning again, put aside that notion and pledged to work as hard for Democratic candidates in the 2014 election as she did in her own campaign.
“We’re going to take back the House next year. I challenge everyone to keep up with me,” she said to wild applause, pledging not only her time and energy to find and elect solid candidates, but her personal money.
“Taking back Missouri for our working families has to be our number one priority,” she stressed. She praised Local 655 and President Cook for showing “real leadership to move Missouri forward.”
House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, a member of IBEW Local 1, made the point that “Missouri is not as red as people think.” When people really look at the Republicanagenda that wasted so much valuable time and did nothing to help working families, they will return to the Democratic Party, he stressed.
He noted that the Republican-dominated legislature wasted valuable time by making it a crime for police officers to enforce federal gun laws not even in effect yet and turned down a billion dollars in federal funds that would have provided health care to over 300,000 Missouri families that would have cost taxpayers nothing, among other things.
Jeremy LaFaver (D-KC), the new chairman of the House Democratic Victory Committee, expressed enthusiasm and confidence for his new role, pointing out the Democratic Party has a new leader – Executive Director Jordan Overstreet -, new staff and a renewed sense of direction designed to restore balance in the political composition of the Missouri legislature, balance that will benefit all Missourians, not just the very wealthy.