Labor, local political leaders rally behind Lucas Kunce for U.S. Senate


LABOR FOR KUNCE: About 250 supporters turned out for a rally in support of Labor-endorsed Senate candidate Lucas Kunce on Aug. 28 at Machinists District 9 Hall in Bridgeton. – Kunce campaign photo

Labor and local political leaders are rallying behind Democrat Lucas Kunce in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) in next year’s election.

More than 250 people joined Labor and St. Louis County leaders for a rally Aug. 28 at Machinists District 9 hall in Bridgeton. Kunce hosted the rally alongside the Missouri AFL-CIO, the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, and the Missouri State Council of Machinists.

A 13-year Marine veteran, national security expert and antitrust advocate, Kunce has promised to be a warrior for working people in the U.S. Senate.

Kunce was introduced at the rally by State Council of Machinists Secretary-Treasurer and District 9 Business Representative Joe Eccardt, St. Louis County Council Chair Shalonda Webb, International Association of Fire Fighters 2nd District Vice President Mark Woolbright, and St. Louis Alderman Rasheen Aldridge.

“It is imperative that we elect good candidates like Lucas Kunce,” Eccardt said. “The IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) knows Lucas will have our backs in Washington D.C. when it comes to issues like outsourcing, offshoring, and the overall agenda of corporat

LUCAS KUNCE addresses supporters at a rally on Aug. 28 at Machinists District 9 Hall in Bridgeton. – Labor Tribune photo

e America, which are the main reasons IAM has lost 400,000 members. We need more politicians who think like Lucas Kunce, who believe everyday products should be made in America by Americans. Addressing these issues is crucial to the survival of the Labor Movement and good paying jobs here in America.”

“Our core political philosophy has always been, and still is, ‘We support those that support us.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat,” said International Association of Fire Fighters 2nd District Vice President Mark Woolbright. “Our IAFF affiliate members here in Missouri are confident that Lucas Kunce is that kind of candidate for United States Senate. The kind of candidate who will always put first responders and workers first.

“Lucas Kunce is a different kind of Democrat. He’s served his country as a Marine. He’s the kind of Democrat committed to supporting and funding not only Missouri but our nation’s first responders and all working men and women throughout the United States.”

St. Louis County Council Chair Shalonda Webb said she first met Kunce two years ago, when he came to help with a neighborhood cleanup project in north St. Louis County’s Castle Point neighborhood.

“He showed up in work boots and jumped in,” Webb said. “After we finished that work, he said, ‘What else do we need to do in the community, Shalonda?’ He didn’t do a one-and-done. He didn’t show up on a commercial and throw up a good line. He was there continuously. And that’s what we need in our community. That’s what we need in Missouri.

“We need somebody that’s going to show up when there’s no cameras. We need somebody that’s going to roll up their sleeves, turn the dirt, stand on the corner, help us figure out our problems, and work together. And Lucas Kunce will do that. We should support him because he wants to do what’s best for our communities. He wants to be held accountable. He’s not looking for a title. He’s looking to make a difference.”

St. Louis Alderman Rasheen Aldridge, a former state representative and former Fight for $15 advocate, said he was impressed by Kunce’s willingness to go into low-income areas to knock on doors and talk to residents.

“He wasn’t afraid to go to north St. Louis, he wasn’t afraid to go to south St. Louis,” Aldridge said, adding to the crowd’s laughter, “He wasn’t even afraid to go to Clayton.”

Aldridge also praised Kunce for seeing beyond the urban and rural divide in Missouri.

“He wasn’t scared to go to rural Missouri,” Aldridge said. “The problem in our party is we kind of forgot about rural Missouri…. We have so much in common. We have more in common than what frauds and cowards like Josh Hawley try to use to divide us. It’s people in rural Missouri that are also struggling to figure out how they’re gonna keep the lights on, that voted to pass Medicaid expansion, that believe that a woman has the right to choose what they want to do with their body.

“Lucas Kunce understands that with all that rhetoric and all that noise, he’s going to fight for those individuals, those individuals that deserve to make a living wage, no matter where you work, those individuals that deserve to have the right to unionize, those individuals that deserve to love who they love no matter who they do love, those individuals that understand that housing right is a human right and we must fight for every individual.”

Kunce addressed the crowd starting with an announcement of the birth of he and his wife Marilyn’s first-born son, Harvey, who was born premature and had to spend eight weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

He then sequewayed into a story from his childhood growing up in Jefferson City, where his father worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation, while his mother retired to care for his sister, who was born with heart problems and underwent multiple open-heart surgeries. He told how his family went bankrupt while working to pay the medical bills – and how their neighbors and community rallied together to help them survive.

“When I go out in Missouri, whether it’s rural Missouri or urban Missouri, people understand what that’s like. Because that’s how every day Missourians live,” Kunce said. We take care of one another. I guarantee you that if we go around this room, almost every single person in this room has been a part of something like that on one side or the other. Because for us, it’s a matter of survival. It’s how we make it. Because we know that when we come together, we have real strength, and we can move mountains. And I can tell you right now, that’s something that Josh Hawley” – whom Kunce called ‘a rich spoiled banker’s kid’ –  “doesn’t understand.”

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