Volunteer for Labor walks to help get her elected
Labor has a chance to elect a strong pro-worker candidate, Democrat Trish Gunby, in the special election to fill Missouri’s 99th House District in St. Louis County on Nov. 5.
Gunby was one of the speakers at a recent “Hold the Line” rally in support of UAW members on strike against General Motors in Wentzville. One of the key sticking points in contract negotiations has been GM’s insistence on the use of long-term temporary workers on the assembly line.
“The fact that a company can hold onto part time workers as long as they can without paying them benefits just isn’t right,” Gunby said. “The same sort of thing happened to my son in an ad agency. People want to get a job. You need a job. You get on and think ‘They’ll hire me permanently.’ But what we find is companies are looking for ways to cut corners and it’s all about making the shareholders happy. I’m very supportive of what the UAW workers are doing. I hope they get what they want.”
The 99th House District represents parts of Manchester, Twin Oaks and Valley Park, and was held by Jean Evans, who was named executive director of the Missouri Republican Party earlier this year.
Evans was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2016 when she defeated Democrat Bill Pinkston. She was re-elected in 2018, narrowly defeating Mike LaBozzetta. Evans resigned and vacated her House seat on Feb. 4, leaving the 99th District without representation for 80 percent of this year’s 128-day session.
The seat is winnable, with Labor’s support.
WHERE SHE STANDS ON THE ISSUES
Gunby, of Manchester, is a married mother of two, and has lived in and been politically active in the 99th District for 25 years.
She attended the University of Tulsa, majoring in political science and advertising/public relations, and previously worked in project management and marketing for Citicorp Mortgage and Purina.
Her husband, Mark is an internist and geriatrician with BJC Medical Group and has been designated as one of St. Louis’ Best Doctors by St. Louis Magazine.
Gunby was co-leader of West County Community Action Network’s Voting Rights Team, a non-partisan voting rights advocacy group, board secretary with the non-partisan Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, and social justice coordinator at Manchester United Methodist Church, where she worked to elevate the congregation’s awareness of issues related to gun violence, hunger, and poverty, LGBTQ rights, mental health, and racial justice.
PRESERVING YOUR VOTE
Following voters’ defeat of Prop A (the phony “right-to-work”), which was rejected 67 to 33 percent, and Clean Missouri (Amendment 1), a measure to improve transparency in state government, which voters approved with a 62 percent majority, on the ballot, Republicans in the Missouri Legislature spent much of the 2019 session trying to make it harder to place such initiative petitions on the ballot.
“They’re trying to make it harder do get things like this done by attaching costs to the ballot initiative process. At the grassroots level, when you see how effective that can be when you can rally a bunch of different groups around an issue, that scares some people.”
Gunby believes additional efforts should be made at the legislative level to encourage voter participation and protect voting rights, including:
- Passing legislation that supports no-excuse absentee voting.
- Implementing early voting and automatic voter registration.
- Opposing any voter suppression efforts that target lawful voters, like purging rolls and requiring photo ID.
- Requiring Department of Revenue/Department of Motor Vehicles offices to expand their hours for easier access to ID services.
SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING
Gunby believes quality public education provided by qualified teachers and staff, funding for higher education and vocational training and protecting and promoting union apprenticeship programs are essential to providing the trained, educated workforce Missouri needs to move forward. She also favors:
- Increasing funding for higher education and vocational training so Missouri colleges and universities graduate high-caliber students that return home and help grow local economies.
“Everyone talks about wanting to attract industry and trained workers,” Gunby said. “But if you’re cutting education at that high level, how do you expect to have the trained workers that are needed in the 21st Century?”
- Protecting public school funding from government voucher handouts.
“I’m a proponent of public education and public schools,” Gunby said. “First and foremost we should support our schools and the transportation that supports those schools. If people choose to send their children to private schools, I have no problem with that, assuming the schools are fully funded and accredited, but there should be no public funding that goes with that.”
- Helping failing schools. Rather than providing public funding to private schools to counterbalance some public schools that aren’t up to par, Gunby says “the state should intervene for failing schools so we don’t have unaccredited schools to begin with.
“The way the model is set up, even starting out as a kindergartener, where you live is going to determine how you do in school. That’s the problem with the property tax model of funding schools. People say everything should be equal, but I don’t know that they really believe that. I think everything should be placed in one pot and divided up, so everyone has the same starting point.”
- Supporting subsidized breakfast and lunch programs so that students can focus on their learning rather than their hunger.
Gunby supports law enforcement and neighborhood watch efforts keep communities safe and supports efforts in the region to address criminal justice reform and gun violence, including:
- Working with neighboring communities in St. Louis City and County to better understand the needs of people of color and dismantle long-standing barriers to racial justice.
- Investing in mental health resources and subscription medicine databases to assist those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.
- Instituting common sense gun reform, supported by law enforcement, educators and advocacy groups.
“I’m not against guns, I’m against gun violence,” Gunby said. “Whatever we can do to reform things with universal background checks and red flag laws, that is a no-brainer to me.”
To ensure the 99th District and the state are places where people want to live, raise families, send their children to school, start businesses and prosper, Gunby says Missouri should:
- Pass the MO Non-Discrimination Act, or MONA, guaranteeing protection of LGBTQIA+ persons who today can still be fired from their jobs, refused service or denied housing because of who they are
“After 21 years, I cannot even believe this has not passed,” Gunby said. “I don’t know how a state expects to attract industry tourism or encourage younger people to stay when they’re not supporting all persons in terms of the fact that you can be fired from your job or evicted from your home in terms of how you identify your sexuality.”
- Bring all parties to the table to create a unified governance model for the St. Louis region, one that doesn’t repeat the missteps and inequities of the “Better Together” plan.
- Institute a living wage and support workers’ rights to collectively bargain to protect the middle class from the growing power of mega-companies and the super-wealthy.
- Listen to our neighbors of different colors, creeds and origins to ensure that national groups like the NAACP no longer deem Missouri an unsafe place for African-Americans to visit and reside.
- Finance infrastructure programs that repair Missouri’s crumbling roads, bridges and riverside levees, along with other structures that keep freight and capital moving.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘No new taxes,’” Gunby said. “I understand that feeling, but you don’t buy a house and put nothing into it and watch if fall down around you. You have to pay for things that get broken or make upgrades. I don’t know why our infrastructure should be any different. You don’t build a highway and never put anything into it. I don’t’ know if we do that through a use tax or a gas tax or some other means, but you’re going to have to put more money into it.”
- Protect the Affordable Care Act from attacks that negatively affect older citizens, people
with disabilities and children whose families cannot afford exclusive, private healthcare plans.
Labor walks for Trish Gunby
Trish Gunby has been endorsed by the St. Louis Labor Council and the Missouri AFL-CIO in the special election Nov. 5 for the 99th District Missouri House seat.
The Missouri AFL-CIO has scheduled a series of Labor walks in support of her election.
The walks will start at UFCW Local 655 Union Hall at 300 Weidman Rd. Ballwin, Mo. 63011 on the following dates and times:
• Saturday – Oct. 19, 2019 – 10 a.m.
• Thursday – Oct. 24, 2019 – 4 p.m.
• Saturday – Oct. 26, 2019 – 10 a.m.
• Tuesday – Oct. 29, 2019 – 4 p.m.
• Saturday – Nov. 2, 2019 – 10 a.m.
• Monday – Nov. 4, 2019 – 4 p.m. –
For more information about participating in a Labor walk, contact Lori Giannini at 314-780-2270.