Category: State Representative

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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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/

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.

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 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.