Republican opponent was hand-picked to beat Anne Zerr for her opposition to RTW
By MARY ANN HOLLEY
Richard Orr, the COPE endorsed Democratic candidate in Missouri’s 23rd Senate District, which includes much of St. Charles County, faces Republican Bill Eigel, a man hand-picked by billionaire Rex Sinquefield of St. Louis and union-hater David Humphreys, president and CEO of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products to defeat fellow Republican Anne Zerr in the primary election for her opposition to so-called “right-to-work.”
Now it’s up to Orr to reclaim the seat for working families.
Eigel moved to the 23rd Senate district just one year ago for the sole purpose of defeating Zerr, with Sinquefield and Humphreys bankrolling his campaign by more than $200,000.
Humphreys recently dumped another $50,000 into Eigel’s general election campaign.
Why? To get a stronger foothold and enough favorable votes to push through so-called “right-to-work” in Missouri.
“It will be an easy choice for voters, because everything I’m for, he’s against,” Orr said. “Eigel is against unions down the line and has made it very clear that ‘right-to-work’ is his number one priority. With the assault against workers’ rights, with ‘right-to-work’ and paycheck deception advancing in Missouri, I decided I’d like to be there to stop it.”
Orr admits it’s not an easy road running for office for the first time, but he says once upon a time his great-great uncle nearly won the Missouri governorship and 100 years later, his uncle ran for 2nd District U.S. Representative. His father tried to form a cab drivers’ union years ago, but was fired in retribution. His wife, a former honors teacher in social studies and psychology was the building representative for the Teachers Union (NEA) at Riverview Gardens Senior High.
Orr, a candidate spawned by the Bernie Sanders movement, is keeping with his genetic roots, hoping to serve residents of St. Charles County living in the 23rd District. For months, he’s been plugging along, going door to door introducing himself, and hasn’t a shadow of the funds being poured into the Eigel campaign.
He’s running to serve the people, he said.
“I believe that hard-working middle-class families built Missouri into the great state that it is, and they deserve to have their interests protected by their state legislature,” Orr said. “But this is currently not happening.”
Instead, Orr said, the Republican majority in the General Assembly have been feathering their own nests and taking care of their corporate campaign donors at the expense of the rest of us.
“I hope, with the help of voters, we can change this unfortunate trend,” he said.
SENSIBLE CANDIDATE, GUN RIGHTS PROPONENT
For more than 30 years, Orr has worked in the outdoor adventure retail business. He is a collector and target shooter, an avid hunter and fisherman, and a strong proponent of environmental protections.
He also supports affordable health care – including accessing federal dollars for Medicaid expansion – honoring returning veterans with state assistance, fully funding education for Missouri children, helping seniors remain independent with appropriate property tax relieve, expansion of public parks and wild places and restoring common sense in Jefferson City.
“The theme of my campaign is ‘common sense,’” Orr said. “I collect guns, and probably have more than the average NRA member. No one has to worry about my vote on the 2nd Amendment.”
Orr and his wife, Jill Emelander live in Harvester and have one daughter who has served in the United States Army for the past 15 years. She has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan working in military intelligence and chemical, nuclear and biological warfare.
Orr has lived his entire life in the St. Louis metropolitan area and in the upper Meramec Valley where his ancestors settled. For the past 14 years he and his family have been residents of St. Charles County.
“Early on I learned that the Democratic party had more interest than the Republicans in improving the lives of ordinary working Missourians, and it has also been clear they are also the party that works hardest to preserve our natural environment from the excesses of uncontrolled development and pollution,” Orr said. “As a hunter, fisherman, and all round outdoorsman I feel I need to try to go to Jefferson City and reverse the anti-park, anti-environment, forces that have been in control there for so long. As a lifelong supporter of working men and women, I want to be in Jefferson City to stop the attacks.”
Orr is endorsed by the Tri-County Labor Club, Missouri AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, Missouri NEA and the Sierra Club.