Debbie Dilks for MO House Representative District 48

Is change coming to the 48th House District?

For more than 18 months, democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders encouraged people to not only get involved in the political process, but to run for office.

In Missouri, we have large swathes of legislative districts that only have a republican candidate on the ballot for state house representative. In the 2014 general election, 56 districts lacked a democratic candidate, while 25 districts had no republican. Forty-three percent of Missouri voters were effectively disenfranchised.

As a Nation, and as Missourians, we will all be stepping into the voting booth November 8th with big questions on our minds as to which way we want our country and our state to progress in the next 4 years. For the people of the 48th House District of the Missouri Legislature, please consider Debbie Dilks as your representative.

Dilks is running as an independent against a republican challenger who was previously unopposed by a democrat or libertarian. She was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ message to get involved.

Indeed, Ms. Dilks is championing many of the causes Missouri Progressives hold dear. She supports overturning Citizen’s United and takes no campaign contributions from corporations or PACs; believes a woman’s health decisions are between her and her doctor, no government needs to be in that room; and regarding equal rights for the LGBTQ population, she states that “everyone has the right to love who they love.”

She stands firmly against Right to Work legislation, noting it destroys jobs, decent pay, and therefore our economy. In conjunction, naturally, she is a champion of the $15 minimum wage fight, noting that to grow our economy we need to get more money into the hands of as many consumers as possible. Debbie emphatically says NO to fracking, noting that the damage we see inflicted on our environment will only get worse if the practice is allowed to continue.

48th House District with logo and headshot
The 48th district has parts of Howard, Cooper and Jasper Counties. The largest cities are Boonville and Fayette.

If elected, Ms. Dilks vows to fight for Medicaid expansion in our state. We have lost healthcare jobs because the Missouri Legislature voted against expansion. In addition, it leaves too many people with no health insurance, or severely underinsured — a cost burden is shared by all taxpayers. She will also help Missouri send the message to Washington that we need to eliminate the cap of Social Security. Why is there a cap? Having one ensures that the middle class has to work longer before hitting their limit for the year – some folks in minimum wage jobs NEVER see FICA drop off their paychecks.

Education needs to be affordable and encouraged. An educated workeforce helps the economy and halts the flow of high-tech jobs overseas. Reducing current student debt is another issue she is ready to tackle, again with an eye to putting spendable income back into the hands of consumers; this grows our economy and is the right choice for Missourians.

“I am voting for people that will be in danger under a Trump presidency. I am voting for the minority parties, for the disenfranchised, and for those that need protection,” — Debbie Dilks on her choice to vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election via the Marshall News

Finally, Ms Dilks is tired of fear-based politics. There is not a terrorist in every backyard. Instead, she wants to focus on community-based policing, retraining our respected men and women in blue to appreciate diversity, special needs, and the value in investing in the communities they police. We need to hold both the police and the communities accountable for their actions, so body and dash cameras should be standard equipment. Transparency is key.

Debbie pullquote

To learn more about Ms. Dilks, please go to www.debbiedilks.com or www.facebook.com/48thforprogress.

Lawsuit Filed by Bruce Franks, Jr., Local Media Takes Notice

Photo by Andrea McMurray

This past week, Bruce Franks, Jr., the Mobilize Missouri-endorsed candidate for State Representative in the 78th District, made progress in his push for an investigation into the absentee ballots that led Penny Hubbard to an alleged victory in his race.

The dispute received attention from various local news outlets, including an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A summary of the recent coverage:

The Riverfront Times, Aug. 16:

“The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office confirmed that they are reviewing two formal complaints related to the race. And the FBI has also reached out to several people alleging misconduct in the election, Franks says.

Franks says he personally has heard from several whistleblowers, as well as voters alleging irregularities. He’s shared that info with the authorities.”

St. Louis Public Radio, Aug. 17:

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Franks alleged that at least 280 people who cast absentee ballots in the race did not qualify to apply for an absentee ballot. Previous court rulings, the lawsuit argues, make it clear that “voters’ failure strictly to comply with the laws governing the use of absentee ballots is sufficient grounds to justify ordering a new election.”

KDNL ABC 30 St. Louis, Aug. 17:

“Franks Jr. filed a petition for a recount on Wednesday at the Board of Elections Commissioners Office in St. Louis.

Dozens of other St. Louis residents filed complaints with the Board of Elections Commissioners Office Wednesday as well. The complaints range from absentee ballot fraud, ballot tampering and electioneering on primary election day on August 2nd.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial, Aug. 18:

“Election officials across all levels should have been onto this issue long ago, especially given the climate ahead of Nov. 8 elections where voter fraud is a hot issue. Full voter confidence in the electoral process must take the highest priority.”

The Telegraph, Aug. 18:

“Franks’ attorney, Dave Roland, said he has “230 strong leads” on absentee ballots cast improperly. He said the most common reason for absentee voting in the district was cited as “incapacity or confinement due to illness or disability,” which also includes people who serve as primary caregivers for the disabled.

Roland said he is confident some voters claiming to be incapacitated were not, based on interviews and observations on social media.”

 

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.

Meet Michael Dorwart

I am running for Missouri State Representative in District 106. For those of you who don’t have all 163 MO state legislative districts memorized, D-106 is located smack dab in the middle of St. Charles (30 minutes outside of St. Louis). I know you probably have some great questions for me already:

  • “Why should I vote for you?”
  • “What makes you qualified to represent anyone?”
  • “What high school did you go to?”
  • “Isn’t Missouri a Republican state?”
  • “What?”
  • “How old are you?”
  • “Why isn’t this bio written in the third person?”
  • “What is a state representative?”
  • “Why is this so conversational; are you a serious candidate?”
  • “I’d never vote for a Democrat?”

Hey now, that last one isn’t even a question, but I will address it along with your actual (hypothetical) inquiries in time. I want to start by telling you why I’m running.

I’m one of the lead organizers of St. Louis for Bernie Sanders. The past 6 months has been the most eye-opening, educational, exciting & inspirational time I’ve had the pleasure to experience in my 28 years of life. I’ve helped organize countless canvassing efforts (locally and across state lines), phone bank sessions, rallies, marches & events. Time after time I meet passionate people of a broad demographic that are hungry for meaningful and progressive change. I also learn hard truth, after hard truth at every turn. There are millions of hardworking people in this country who are hurting. For instance, 60 million people in the US are either uninsured or underinsured. Worse yet, people who are insured are going bankrupt from medical bills. That’s simply unacceptable. We went to the moon over 46 years ago; I think we can find a way to guarantee healthcare as a human right. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even scratch the surface. Please check out my issues page to learn about some of the other very serious problems I want to help solve.

I can no longer simply cast my vote and hope my representatives do what is best. There is too much at stake. We need representatives who are willing to fight for what the people deserve at every turn. I aim to restore the public service component to elected office.

No president alone can resolve the very real issues our people face. Real change happens from the bottom up. I ask that you join me in my effort to achieve MO Progress. I cannot do it alone.

Meet Cori Bush

Born and raised in the St. Louis Missouri area, Cori is an ordained pastor, an activist & organizer with Ferguson Frontline, co-director of the Truth Telling Project, an international presenter on nonviolent conflict, and a Nonviolence 365 Ambassador with The King Center, and a part of Ferguson’s Women’s Caucus. She is an organizer with Michael Brown Sr.’s Chosen for Change Foundation and is the host of her own internet radio show titled ‘ground.ed’ on BlogTalkRadio produced by Tribe Family Channel and Gumbo for the Soul. Cori is also in the process of forming the new Ferguson/ St. Louis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), to help ensure that the Kingian philosophy on nonviolence is ever present in the St. Louis area.

Cori Bush

She is a recipient of the 2015 Woman of Courage Award from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, the daughter of her politician father and a computer analyst mother. Cori is the proud parent of two amazing teenagers and the sibling of two. She is also a registered nurse, supervising nursing services for several mental health facilities in St. Louis city that serve the homeless, underserved, underinsured, and uninsured.

Cori has been on the frontlines of the Ferguson movement as a protester, as clergy, as a medic and as a victim of police assault on the day of the announcement not to indict Darren Wilson. She has been interviewed numerous times by several local, national, and international media outlets and travels the country highlighting the voices of the voiceless bringing light to their stories. Cori plans to continue to stand alongside the youth of today in the fight for justice and equality for all.