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Mobilize Missouri Endorses Michela Skelton

“The hard-working people of Mid-Missouri are tired of government that works only for the few, for the wealthy and for the well-connected. I’m running for state representative to stand up for working men and women, for seniors, for people with disabilities, for students, for teachers and for everyone in the 50th District who isn’t being heard in Jefferson City.”  

This statement on Michela Skelton’s website echoes the core values that Mobilize Missouri embodies. It also serves as an appropriate introduction to our first endorsement of 2017: Michela Skelton for MO House District 50.

Skelton is the sole Democratic candidate running in the Aug. 8 special election for Missouri’s 50th House District. The district includes portions of Boone, Cole, Cooper and Moniteau counties. The election was set by former Gov. Jay Nixon after former Rep. Caleb Jones, R-Columbia, resigned to become deputy chief of staff to Gov. Eric Greitens.

Michela Skelton and family

 

We sat down with Michela to learn more about her and the upcoming election.

Q: If I had an opportunity to ask you to describe yourself before you decided to file, how would you have answered back then?

A: This is a really hard question, but I think the honest answer would be lost. When I was working for the Senate, I was prevented from participating in discussion of anything that could be perceived to be political and I’ve always been a very passionate and opinionated person. So while I loved being a wife and mother and an employee, my job had limited me so that I could not be a whole person with thoughts and ideas about how to make our world a better place. Leaving that job to work on the Bernie Sanders presidential primary campaign helped me to find myself and my voice again.

Q: You’ve been quoted saying, “I plan on winning this race by talking to everybody I absolutely can.” How does the special election change the way you approach that? What are you losing or gaining from having more than a year of campaign time cut out of your strategy?

A: I will definitely be short on time to talk to every potential voter, but I still intend on trying to knock on every door where I think someone is open to hearing from me. I also think it will inhibit my ability to reach out to non-voters to get them engaged for this election. But after the election is over in August, I’ll be right back out there again trying to reach anyone I missed between now and August.  I’ll be getting new people registered to vote and engaged in the political process. Because after the August election is over, November of 2018 will be coming quicker than we’d like to think.

Q: You are running as Democrat. Are you able to identify a few key ways in which you deviate from the current national Democratic Party? From the current Missouri Democratic Party?

A: I think one of the few key ways I would deviate from the current national Democratic Party is that I do not believe focusing almost to the exclusion of all else on the advancement of the knowledge economy is going to be able to lift up all of those suffering in my district. I also think we need to be focusing on our moral values of compassion, equality, opportunity and justice for all and bring every policy prescription back to those basic ideals. One of the key ways I differ from the current, though evolving, Missouri Democratic Party is that rural areas and rural constituents are important for the future of our party and our state. We need to do better to hear and recognize the concerns of those people and spend more time and resources on engaging with those communities.

Q: From your website, “I will fight for the rights of workers to unionize and bargain for higher wages and better working conditions.” In the event that House Bill 91 (“Right to Work”) becomes law, what does your vision for “fighting for workers’ rights” look like?

A: My vision of fighting for workers’ rights would be about changing the narrative about the purpose and function of unions as the protectors of worker freedom and strength against corporate tyranny. Until the greater public recognizes what an important function unions and the workers that participate in them serve, it will be hard to turn back legislation like HB 91. I will also support efforts through ballot initiatives to restore the rights of workers through amendments to the Missouri Constitution.

Q: If you are elected, how do you plan to balance your personal beliefs with the needs and desires of your constituents? Do you feel capable of voting against your personal beliefs in a situation where the voters make their opposing opinion very clear?

A: As a representative, I will be elected to serve the varying needs and desires of my constituents. So long as the desires of my constituents do not conflict with the core principles of compassion, equality, and justice upon which I am basing my campaign I can and will set aside my personal beliefs and preferences to meet the needs and desires of my constituents.

Q: What is your biggest takeaway from your time working as Staff Attorney for the Missouri Senate?

A: Term limits have had the unfortunate side effect of taking the power of expertise out of the hands of long serving legislators and placing it with lobbyists. More often than not, when I was writing legislation as a nonpartisan staff person, I was working with the lobbyists because the Senators did not have the knowledge or expertise to grapple with complex issues especially in their first several terms.

Q: Why are you running for office?

A: I am running for office because I believe the voters of the 50th House District deserve are representative who is willing to return their phone calls and emails, be present in their communities, and actually serve their needs and interests rather than those of big-dollar donors and industry lobbyists. I think I have the knowledge and training to be an effective representative from the day I am elected.

Q: Why now?

A: When I was interviewed for the position at Senate Research, I was asked if I had ever thought about running for office. I said that I had when I was younger, but the currently hostile partisan environment convinced me that I didn’t want to. After working there for several years I realized that the reason the system was broken is because too many good people with the knowledge and skill to do a good job were afraid to put themselves out there and do the messy work of leading. I have seen up close and personal how the system is failing us and I want to be part of the change to make it better. If not me, who? If not now, when?

Q: The percentage of active and resident lawyers in Missouri compared to employment is less than 1%. Lawyers represent nearly 13% of all seats in the Missouri House. As a lawyer, how important do you think it is for the makeup of our policy makers to mimic that of the represented population?

A: I think it is very important for the makeup of our policy makers to mimic that of the represented population. However, because of term limits there is a need for more specialized knowledge about how the law works that I think is an important consideration in terms of the over representation by lawyers. I think considering the background and life experience and not just current occupation is also an important consideration in determining appropriate representation. There are huge barriers to a truly representative citizen legislature and many voices and life experiences get left out. We don’t currently have the support mechanisms in place to allow minimum wage workers, single parents, and those living in poverty to serve in the state legislature. The least we can do is elect people who are willing to listen to their stories and represent their needs just as they would for everyone else.

Q: What is something you’d like the people in St. Louis and Kansas cities to know about the people of Boone, Cole, Moniteau and Cooper counties?

A: There are so many more things that we all have in common than the things that make us different. We all want our children to succeed, to have a job that allows us to pay the rent or mortgage and put dinner on the table, and have a purpose in our lives that brings us joy and fulfillment. The more we can talk about those commonalities the easier it will be to stand together to make life better for everyone.

Q: If you could speak to Governor Greitens today as an elected official, what would you say to or ask of him?

A: When you do things that improve the lives of average Missourians, like opposing corporate welfare in the form of tax incentives for a sports arena, I will stand with you. But, when you do things that hurt average Missourians to benefit big corporate interests, like stripping the rights of workers to freely contract with their employers through a union or cutting funding for our community schools to pay for big corporate tax cuts, I will be loud in my opposition and be sure that every voter in my district knows how these policies will hurt us all.

Q: What’s one thing you wish every voter already knew about you by the time you arrive at their door?

A: I care about each and every person in this district and I want us all to succeed. The most important thing I can do as a representative is listen, and that is what my visit is all about.

Find out more about Michela and her run here.

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Fight for $15 Event Coverage

Guest blog post by Jack Seigel

I participated in the last event of a day of action organized by Fight for $15 and Jobs with Justice yesterday. The focus was economic justice, living wages, and putting people over profits. There was a strong union presence, plus many religious leaders and politicians.

A brave few decided they would engage in civil disobedience by sitting in the streets, arms linked in solidarity and prepared to be arrested for disrupting the flow of traffic. But disruption is the reason for events like this.

It is easy to get caught up in daily life, to worry about ourselves instead of others and in our daily routine, lose sight of the humanity of the service workers with whom we often interact. We forget that those people have families and struggles, and that their fair treatment is more important than our convenience.

As we assembled outside the union hall people passed out signs for living wages, reproductive rights, environmental rights, and labor rights; all important factors that play into the ability of working people to get by in life. The spectacle was impressive as people played music and danced in anticipation of the coming march. A few other marshals and I moved ahead of the group and blocked the road allowing the procession to cross.

Drivers were mad at first, but that transitioned to curiosity about what was going on as the mass crossed Hampton and went into the McDonalds parking lot. As we circled the building via the drive thru, we chanted:

“Show me 15!”
“Shut it down!”
“This is what democracy looks like!”

Most workers smiled and waved, appreciating that the exploitation of their labor was the reason for our protest. We lined up on the sidewalk as the chants continued.

The police arrived in force and local news stations covered the event.  As the labor leaders led the chants, volunteers moved into the street and sat down together.

Eventually the police issued a warning that our action was illegal, that people risked arrest and that officers would use nonlethal force if necessary. Excessive force or violence was not necessary and the officers rounded up about 20 people. They then warned that they would re-open the street and arrest more people if necessary. Again, force was not needed.

At this point, people made speeches about living wages, social justice, the importance of community, and the history of labor unions becoming active in the struggle for economic justice. Speakers also mentioned how multiple faiths came together recognizing the morality implicit in demanding higher wages and better working conditions. It was refreshing to see such a large and diverse crowd recognizing we all share the burden in exposing oppression.

The protest reminded me of a Cornel West quote, “Justice is the expression of love in public.”  Together, the power of working people will triumph.

Feedback Encouraged.

Mobilize Missouri Endorses Curtis Wylde

Curtis Wylde is currently running for the Missouri Legislature in District 107.

 

It is easy in this current political climate to get caught up in the cult of personality and to lose sight of the issues facing us on a daily basis. Curtis is larger than life and it would be easy to dismiss him as a big personality and little else.  But here, as in all discussions about people running for office, it is best to do a bit of digging, learn about the man, his ideas, and how he plans to govern.

As a newly elected member of the DNC, he will be representing progressive ideas for the next 4 years, pushing the Progressive Platform that we worked so hard to create forward on a national level. But that is not enough; Curtis wants to make sure that Missouri moves forward as well.  He states, “If you choose to vote for me in this race, I promise you this; I will make mistakes, I will be learning as I go, but I will do my very best to Represent YOU! I will bring an authenticity, honesty, and integrity that are largely missing from our government on all levels, and may be considered Revolutionary in today’s political landscape. I do not look forward to being a “Politician”. I am very excited and eager to become a “Public Servant”, which is what this office was meant to be. This country is ready to once again be a nation “Of the People; By the People; and for the People”.

To that end, Mr. Wylde supports limitations on campaign financing, believing that publically funded elections; with full accounting transparency is necessary for our democracy. It is no surprise, therefore, to learn he fully supports repealing Citizen’s United. On national issues, he is a staunch supporter of individual rights:

  • For Single Payer Healthcare – so that no person has to die because they cannot afford care;
  • For Criminal Justice Reform – so that no person is seen as a paycheck from the Federal government; why are taxpayers funding private corporations for handling our justice system;
  • For de-escalation of Armed Military Action – so that our soldiers are healthy and ready to defend America, not off policing the world;
  • Against the TPP – so that good paying jobs for working Americans, stay in America;
  • For revision of the Patriot Act – so that individual privacy is maintained, while providing tools for law enforcement to protect our citizens.

Here in Missouri, Curtis wants to fight against Right to Work in Jefferson City, noting that the wage suppression tactics have “no place in creating a robust economy for our state.” Consistent with that, he supports raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. He logically points out that in a consumer-based economy, consumers need to have money to spend, it is therefore necessary to raise the minimum wage so that more people have disposable income, and this helps us all. He fully supports Unions and diversity in their rank and file, so that “all voices get heard”.

Particular to Missouri, due to the aftermath of the Ferguson Protests, he supports the use of Body and Car cameras for the police.  This is for the protection of the citizens AND the police. Video and audio records are much better than eyewitness accounts and help those charged to protect us to quickly get to the facts of an incident. In addition, knowing that police encounters are being recorded holds both the police and the citizens accountable for their actions. That being said, Mr. Wylde is committed to working to de-militarize our community police, stating, “No community should ever fear those that are charged to serve and protect them”.

To better serve our senior citizens, whose ranks increase daily, Curtis supports raising the cap on Social Security to ensure its solvency.

To better serve all our futures, he encourages the legislation for a transaction tax on Wall Street to fund tuition to public colleges. An educated populace leads to a more robust economy and a more socially just society.

To better care for us all, Mr. Wylde is a passionate environmentalist, wanting to ensure that we respect and protect the Earth, which provides our sustenance in all areas of life.

To ensure individual rights, he is Pro-Choice, ensuring that women and their doctors make the choices best for each individual without governmental interference. He is Pro-Love, ensuring that all humans have the right to love and create a family as they see fit.

In his own words, “I am running for State Representative in Missouri’s District 107, because I could no longer stand by and watch bureaucrats not represent the will and needs of the people they’re meant to. I felt compelled to do what I could to make a difference. I saw an opportunity to effect change in my community. I wasn’t groomed for State Congress, but I feel I can be a progressive voice to represent you, our friends and our neighbors in District 107, because I AM one of you. I’ve experienced struggle and pain, success and devastation, and through it all found love and happiness. I was not born with a silver-spoon, didn’t have all the opportunities that some of my more well-off contemporaries may have had. I created my own opportunities, and along with my wife carved a path we can be proud of.

Curtis Wylde – Principle Progressive.

www.wyldeforthepeople.com/

Mobilize Missouri Endorses Bill Otto for US Congress

Impressed with his strong convictions that all Americans should receive a living wage, quality healthcare, and a strong education, Mobilize Missouri endorses Bill Otto for the U.S. House of Representative in the 2nd Congressional District of Missouri.

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Bill Otto knows how to work hard for his country. A U.S. Navy veteran, he has worked for 26 years as an air traffic controller at Lambert International Airport. His discipline and ability to work under pressure proved critical to his success in one of the most stressful occupations in America. Given his background in the air traffic controllers’ union, he has always been a strong Union supporter, stating, “The US was built by labor unions… unions are critical to the American way of life. I will work tirelessly in Congress to protect our labor unions.” Otto has received the endorsement of every major union in Missouri, as well as the AFL-CIO.

From his experience as an air traffic controller, Otto backs legislation in support of rebuilding infrastructure. He is strongly opposed to the TPP, which he believes “will accelerate the decline of American manufacturing.” He also sees a way forward in sustainable energy initiatives noting, “Climate change is real… there can be no more arguing with reality. This is critical. We can create jobs and lower energy bills by investing in sustainable energy.” Finally, he understands that raising the minimum wage, and tying it to inflation, returns the pay of hardworking Americans to a middle class living standard—just as it was originally intended. By getting money into the hands of consumers, the economy will blossom as more as Americans buy more of each other’s products and services.

Otto strongly believes that the infamous Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision needs to be overturned, and he is committed to bringing “greater transparency to our democratic process.” In addition, Otto will work to update Glass-Steagall Act, and he will fight the creation of “too-big-to-fail” banks. He supports updating our criminal justice system, making changes that counteract the systemic racism in what should be our most colorblind of government institutions, demilitarizing our police, making BodyCams standard, and ensuring that for-profit prisons are closed. 
Otto takes a pragmatic approach to dealing with the country’s care for the most vulnerable members of our society. He believes in raising the cap on Social Security to ensure its solvency for the protection of seniors and disabled Americans into the next century. While single payer healthcare is what Otto ultimately hopes for our country, until Republicans and Democrats “work across the aisle and get healthcare for every American,” he supports expanding Social Security and Medicare, helping our most at-risk populations—seniors and low income Americans—to land in a safety net that currently is too weak to catch them. In support of this, the government needs to have the power to negotiate drug prices to contain costs to reasonable rates. All Americans will benefit from lower drug prices that reflect reality, not obscene corporate profits.

Bill Otto is Pro-Choice, believing that women know the best when it comes to their healthcare, stating ardently that “the government should not be involved in making critical healthcare decisions, those are best left to a woman, her doctor and her God.” He is Pro-Love, believing that marriage should be all; and emphatically supports LGBTQ rights. He is Pro-Education, proposing a tax on Wall Street to make sure that public universities, colleges and trade schools are free to every American who wants an education past high school. An educated citizen is good for our democracy.
Otto is a patriot, a navy veteran who understands the true cost of war. He believes military action to resolve problems should always be a last resort. Explains Otto, “We must use diplomacy and other soft power measures before we seriously consider any armed conflict.”

A vote for Bill Otto will send a message to our government that its people want logical, compassionate and realistic solutions to our problems. Now more than ever, the importance of sending the right person to Washington is critical to the continuation of America’s promise of opportunity to all people.

To learn more about Bill, please visit www.billotto.org.

HUGE wins in the Committee on Tuesday

HUGE wins in the Committee on Tuesday:

8th Ward’s Annie Rice won by 536 votes (26%)
9th Ward’s Sara Johnson won by 245 votes (16%)
7th Ward’s Marty Joe Murray Jr. won by 136 votes (9%)
14th Ward’s Madeline Buthod won by 13 VOTES (1%)
20th Ward’s Wendy Campbell won by 28 votes (2%)

Other progressives, Bryan Walsh, Torrey Park, and Anthony Brescia also were elected in uncontested races.

The Central Committee will look much different from here forward. I am proud to have been a part of this historic election year along with over 50 ‪#‎mobilizeMO‬ friends.

BUT – there were some loses, by slim margins. The political establishment has not had to work this hard in DECADES to attempt to keep ahold of their power.

Great job, all Mobilize Missouri volunteers!
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Bruce Franks in the 78th: Super Heroes Unite!

I’m Bruce Franks and I’m a South St. Louis City native and small business owner. I’m a husband and a father, in addition to being a community activist and leader.
As a small business owner, I have employed several members of my community and given back through sponsorships and numerous philanthropic endeavors.

In January of 2015, I was appointed as Police Community Liaison by the St. Louis City Police chief. This position allowed me to facilitate the necessary and crucial conversations between the community members and the police department. From this point, I have been able to pave the way for police accountability reform.

I have a profound passion for encouraging and guiding youth. As a regional organizer for Generation Progress, an organization designed to reach young progressive leaders throughout the region and arm them with the appropriate resources to combat gun violence, I have been able to serve my agenda to decrease crime rates in challenging communities.

In September of 2015, I was awarded the Champions of Change award by The White House for my exceptional work with law enforcement and community leaders to bridge the gaps in communication and create mutual understanding for targeted communities.

Now, I am taking a stand for my community and running for State Representative of the 78th District in St. Louis, MO. With your support, we could begin to get legislation on the table to reform Police/Community protocol, the current state of education, business growth and development, financial literacy and financial empowerment.

Please vote for me, Bruce Franks, on Tuesday, August 2nd for State Representative of the 78th District so that we may continue the conversation and the fight for justice, equality and unity.

Meet Dan Wibracht, state house district 73 candidate

I am a 3rd generation member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562. As Representative, I will protect workers’ rights and actively fight against all Right-to-Work legislation. As a father with three of my four children attending schools in the Hazelwood district, children’s education is a priority. I want to see more state funding go to our public schools because they are currently underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. My wife, Kaleigh, and I met in high school where we both graduated from Hazelwood West in 2004. I will also do my best to help pass Medicaid Expansion; far too many people are not receiving the health care they need because they simply cannot afford it. I have always been a resident of the north county area, and as Representative I will do my best to keep it a great place to live and raise a family.
-I firmly stand against Right-to-Work legislation. Typically in RTW states you see lower wages and incomes, lower rates of health insurance coverage, less investment in education, and higher workplace fatalities. For these reasons I believe RTW laws will only harm the economy of Missouri.
-Currently our public schools are underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars, an average of $700 per child. By properly funding our schools we can ensure that we are producing an intelligent workforce that businesses are looking to hire. Our children are the future, and we have to give them the best education possible.
-Currently Missouri has thousands of people without insurance coverage because they can’t afford it. By expanding Medicaid people will be able to receive the healthcare they need without shifting what would be uncompensated costs to the insured patients. Medicaid expansion will also create more jobs, as well as save hospitals from closing in rural and inner city areas.
-We need to close the gender wage gap; women deserve equal pay for equal work. I also believe it’s a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body.
I still work as a union plumber during the day and knock doors after work hours. The Missouri Times voted my race as the hottest Democratic primary this year because Courtney Curtis is the only Democrat to support all RTW legislation. I have been endorsed by the two major democratic clubs in the district, Airport Township and Ferguson Township. As well as mayors, labor unions, State Representatives, and National Organization for Women.

These are important things we need to all be aware of about Missouri politics:
1. We are not the only state that allows unlimited donations. One person with a million dollar check is legal.
2. We are not the only state that allows unlimited gifts to legislators. Dinners, trips, shows, sports tickets are all legal.
3. We are not the only state that allows legislators to resign one day and be a paid lobbyist the next.
4. We are the only state that allows all of the above.
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Meet Ben Murray, candidate for state house representative, district 80

Hi my name is Ben Murray. I’m running for State Representative in the 80th District. I’ve actually worked for progressive candidates and campaigns for the last 13 years, most recently leading Megan Green’s two successful campaigns for Alderwoman.

I have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, as well a graduate certificate in Local Government Management. I have been active over the years with the St. Louis Young Democrats, the Eight Ward Independent Democratic Organization, and the 15th Ward Democrats, and am a former member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.

My first job out of college was working for Congressman Russ Carnahan. In 2008, I served as the organizing director at the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition. In 2011, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attacked public workers, I travelled that state to work against him. Later the same year, when Ohio Governor, John Kasich tried to force through a bill to strip collective bargaining rights for teachers, police officers and firefighters, I joined that fight as well. For the last three years, I’ve worked for St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

I’ve been pretty lucky to work behind the scenes for some great candidates and honesty I never thought I would be running for office myself. When this race came open, I looked at the field that was coming together and I looked around our Democratic caucus.

We have Democrats who are good on labor issues, but are anti choice

And we have Democrats who are good on LGBTQ issues but are bad on environmental issues.

And we have Democrats who are good on racial equity issues, but are bad on labor issues.

The 80th District is arguably one of the most diverse, progressive districts in Missouri. We deserve a representative who is an outspoken progressive. Not just somebody who checks most of the boxes most of the time.

The longer I work in government, the more I realize that it’s all tied together.

You can’t talk about being pro-choice for too long without acknowledging that woman who doesn’t earn a living wage, doesn’t have meaningful reproductive freedom.

You can’t talk about being an environmentalist for too long, without acknowledging that too often pollution disproportionately impacts communities of color.

That’s what people mean when they talk about intersectionality. We need a robust progressive agenda

So let it not go unsaid:

I’m proud to be prochoice.

I’m proud to support LGBTQ rights.

I’m proud to fight racism.

I’m proud to support labor rights.

I’m proud to be an environmentalist.

Having said this, one of the things folks hear me talk most about in this campaign is ethics reform. I’ve worked in campaign finance for a most of my career. I have seen first-hand the effects of big money in our politics. I’ve watched people with the best of intentions get into office and get seduced by the lifestyle.

It hangs over every issue big and small in Jefferson City. For all the big talk at the beginning of this year’s session, both from the Speaker and the Governor, the Legislature only passed a handful of watered down reforms. There are still no limits on the steak dinners or Cardinals tickets or booze that legislators can take from lobbyists. I’ve said I’m not going to take any of that stuff and I’m going to keep talking about it, to anyone who will listen, until we can get real ethics reform done.

It is my passion. It’s why I’m running. I ask for your support. More than that, I need your help. We’re out there knocking on doors every day. Come by the office. Get involved. I can’t do it without you.

Thank you for your time and giving me the opportunity to serve you.

-Ben Murray, Candidate for 80th District State Representative

Annie Rice for Democratic Committeewoman

I believe that the Democratic Party in St. Louis should lead our region in equality, innovation, and progress, and I believe that new involvement and new ideas are necessary to achieve those goals. I believe that we should be inviting all voices into the conversations that shape our communities, and that’s why I’m running to be your committeewoman.

The Committeewoman and Committeeman are the chief Party volunteers in the neighborhood, working to make sure you’re informed, included, and represented. But, the committeepersons are also the future of the Democratic party, working locally to make sure that the party has a farm-team and is readying the next generations of leadership in our city and in our state. As a transplant to St. Louis, I’m able to see the unique qualities of the 8th Ward and bring outside energy and perspectives, and quite frankly, I haven’t been here long enough to have anyone pulling my strings.

I’m a Missouri-licensed attorney, practicing primarily immigration law. I’m a Shaw resident, a renter, and as soon as I moved in, I was eager to get involved in my new community. I’m a member of the 8th Ward Independent Democrats, the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association, and I’m on the board of the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project – a local immigration nonprofit working to ensure noncitizens know their rights and have access to quality legal assistance. I’m passionate about human rights, inclusion and equality, public education, worker protection, and about making sure there’s room at the table for us all to be heard.

What is the 8th Ward in St. Louis? The 8th Ward includes the Shaw, Southwest Garden and Tower Grove East neighborhoods of St. Louis, Missouri. It also includes the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Tower Grove Park and parts of the Grand South Grand Business District. Here’s a map!

What is Committeewoman?

A Committeewoman exists to 1. Encourage people to become involved in the democratic process through voter registration and organization to get out the vote; 2. Communicate the views and needs of the Ward to the Democratic Central Committee and our elected officials; 3. Stimulate and facilitate discussion of important issues facing the Ward, the City of St. Louis, the state of Missouri, and the nation; 4. Educate Ward residents regarding current ballot initiatives and legislation that will affect them; 5. Serve as a voice for the future of the Missouri Democratic Party in the City of St. Louis.

Why I’m Running – Adam Kustra

Last July I walked into a CWA hall in Maryland Heights and sat down with about 400 other people to watch someone speak to us from a large screen at the front of the room. That same evening over 100,000 people in over 3,000 different locations across America were doing the same thing. We all sat patiently and waited for this person to speak and, ultimately, give us some instructions. That person was Sen. Bernie Sanders. His instructions were simple – if we ever want to see real change in this country we need to be more involved in our Democracy. He said we need a political revolution in this country. He said the political revolution starts with us, and it starts from the bottom up, not from the top.

Over the next months, I had the incredible pleasure of meeting hundreds of new faces from all different backgrounds. We drove to Iowa together to knock on the doors of strangers; we sat around tables in local pubs to discuss the issues facing Americans and Missourians; we planned BBQs, concerts and meetings; and we shared our personal stories as to why we were all there and why this was important to us. Every day someone would challenge how I think and inspire me to do better. The people I have met have been some of the most intelligent and passionate individuals I’ve ever come across. Some care deeply about reforming and expanding healthcare, others about education and the environment. Some have been fighting racial and civil injustices; some have been fighting for the poor and disenfranchised. Some marched in the streets of Ferguson; some protested the proposed riverfront Stadium; some protested against the developments in North St. Louis and the advantages the wealthy and well-connected have over lifelong residents of a community. Some were getting involved in politics and activism for the first time. All of us seemed to share one common goal – to make sure our government works for us, not just for a handful at the top.

These last months have opened my eyes and my mind. I have never felt more inspired to participate and become a part of the process. Because of that, on Tuesday, March 29th, I drove to Jefferson City and I filed to become a candidate to represent Missouri’s 81st House District.

Over the next several months I will listen to the concerns of the residents of the 81st district, and, if elected, will be your voice in Jefferson City. An office like this is a great responsibility and should not be taken lightly. This election is not about me, this is about us. It’s about creating a government that truly works for, and represents, the people.

The political environment at the Capitol is often contentious and a challenge for those that represent our big cities and for Democrats as a whole. We see a constant push from the opposing party to strip away our rights – our rights to determine our own laws and the ways we generate revenue; our rights of individual liberties and freedoms; the rights of women to control their own bodies; the rights of the LGBTQ community to be treated justly; the rights of the poor to have access to basic services; the rights of people not to be discriminated against or targeted simply because of the color of their skin or religion; the rights of all Missourians, and especially those who live in St. Louis. Because our party sits in the minority, our collective voice needs to be louder and stronger and ready to stand up to those working hard against us. We must be electing true progressives who will fight hard for all Missourians.

These last months have been a truly humbling and amazing experience and it’s exciting to think about what the future holds. I will work hard to earn the trust and respect of this incredible district, as well as your votes so I hope you will join me in a people-powered campaign to bring a true progressive voice to Jefferson City. It would be an honor to represent the residents of the 81st District in our State Capitol. I appreciate your support of our campaign and your vote on August 2nd.