By SHERI GASSAWAY
House Springs, MO – Following the crushing 2016 elections, Missouri Democratic Party chairman StephenWebber says he has heard a lot of concerns from constituents about what it means to be a Democrat, including differences between urban and rural Democrats, East Coast, Heartland and West Coast Democrats and moderate and conservative Democrats.
STAND FOR PROGRESS
“Democrats stand for progress,” Webber said.” Every single Democrat I have ever met in my entire life believes we should leave our communities better than when we found them. We should be pushing forward.”
Webber was the guest speaker at Northwest Jefferson County Democratic Club’s annual picnic Sept. 5 at the House Springs Lion’s Club. About 50 people attended the event including union members and leaders from IBEW Local 1, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 and UFCW Local 655.
FIGHTING OVER THE SOUL OF OUR COUNTRY
“What we see in Washington is a fundamental debate on which direction our country is going to go,” Webber told the crowd. “We are fighting over the soul of our country in a way I didn’t think we were ever going to see in our lifetime. The only way we’re going to beat that is in the 2018 election, and one of the key places to do that is in Missouri and in particular Jefferson County.”
In November 2018, Jefferson County will have seven state representative seats and one Senate seat up for grabs. Of the eight seats, only one is currently held by a Democrat – Representative Ben Harris (D-Hillsboro), who is ineligible to run again because of term limits.
A KEY BATTLEGROUND
Webber said Jefferson County, like Boone County where he resides, is a battleground of the direction of where the state and nation will go based on the number of legislative seats that can be picked up.
“In a very real way, the work that’s done here is going to tell the direction for everyone else around the nation,” he said. “(State Auditor) Nicole Galloway and (U.S. Senator) Claire McCaskill will be able to look at the Jefferson County returns on election night and be able to tell whether they won their elections.”
Webber said the party is now focusing on three areas to ensure success:
• Recruiting and training candidates.
• Defending the Democratic brand and holding Republicans accountable via communication.
• Rebuilding Democratic organizations like county clubs and the Young Democrats.
One of the top priorities for the party is candidate recruitment and training, Webber said.
The state party now has a full-time political director dedicated to candidate recruitment and training. Webber said the training is available to all Democratic candidates no matter if they are running for a school board seat or a legislative office. A major candidate training session is planned for Oct. 14 in Jefferson City.
‘WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE’
“In Missouri, the pendulum always swings back, and it’s our job to make it swing back as far and as fast as possible,” Webber said. “Whether we have success will be dependent on how well we organize. If we’re successful in Jefferson County, we’ll be successful in Missouri and in the country.”
Anyone interested in running for office is encouraged to visit the Missouri Democratic Party website at missouridems.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.