Clem Smith, who has served as vice chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party since 2018, has been named acting chair of the organization, replacing Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker in the state party’s top post.
A former state representative, Smith (D-Velda Village Hills) is vice president of the St. Louis chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and a member of Operating Engineers Local 399. He served eight years in the Missouri House, from 2011-2018, before being forced out by term limits.
Baker said Smith “is the right person to lead our party at this critical moment.”
Smith says he is focusing on Medicaid expansion, which will appear on the Aug. 4 ballot as Amendment 2, and the November elections.
“Between expanding Medicaid in August to restoring effective leadership in the governor’s mansion in November, this election will have historic consequences,” Smith said.
Medicaid is a federal and state program that provide healthcare coverage for residents who have limited incomes.
Medicaid expansion supporters, including the Missouri AFL-CIO, St. Louis Labor Council and Missouri Chamber of Commerce, say it will create more than 16,000 new jobs annually during its first five years, and increase average personal income in Missouri by about $1.1 billion.
Smith also is focusing on the November elections, when Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway will face off against Republican incumbent Mike Parson, and Democrats have a chance to pick up seats in the Missouri House and Senate.