Sen. Doug Beck named Jefferson County Democrats Labor Advocate of the Year, a well-deserved honor

Missouri Correspondent

LABOR WARRIOR Sen. Dog Beck, (center) a 37-year member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, receives the Jefferson County Democrats Labor Advocate of the Year from presenters Bob Butler (left), the chair of the Jefferson County Democrats and Local 562 Brother Tom Madden – Labor Tribune photo

Sen. Doug Beck (D-Affton) – a 37-year member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 – has been honored as Labor Advocate of the Year by the Jefferson County Democratic Central Committee.

Beck received the award at the Jefferson County Democrats 2nd Annual Award Dinner June 21 at Taytro’s Bar & Bistro in Festus amid a packed house. Local 562 Brother Tom Madden presented the award to Beck.

“Not only is he a rockstar senator, he also is head of the Missouri State Building & Construction Council,” Madden said. “He is Labor’s warrior, but I know Doug and that’s not the only reason he ran for office. He ran to try to help others who need it. I can’t think of a better guy to receive this award.

Beck currently is serving his first term in Missouri’s Senate District 1. Prior to that, he served two terms in the Missouri House. During that time, he was the ranking minority member of the Economic Development & Workforce Development committees and also served on the Veterans and Children and Families committees.

Beck recalled the start of his legislative career in 2016 when Republicans brought so-called “right-to-work,” paycheck deception, prevailing wage and a slew of other terrible Labor bills to the floor.

“Seven days in as a representative, I was made a ranking member of the Economic Development Committee and that’s where every bad Labor bill came through,” Beck said. “Fourteen days in, and I was on the House floor speaking against ‘right-to-work (for less)’ and it was tough because I felt like I had not only union members, but all working people on my shoulders.”

Later, Beck said he was driving home from a particularly bad day on the House floor, and he started crying. He called longtime friend Sen. Gina Walsh – another building trades leader – to see if she had any advice for him.

“I called her and said ‘Gina, I’m a pipefitter and I’m crying in my car because we lost – the people lost,’” he said. “I was so emotional – just a wreck and she said, ‘You’ll get used to it.’ I thought, I’ll never get used to it. I’m not built to lose like this.”

Beck said that overall the 2023 legislative session was one of the better sessions for Labor and Democrats even though there were a few Republican-backed bills that made it through.

“We’re looking forward to campaigning in 2024,” Beck said. “Receiving this award is truly humbling to me. Being a voice for working people is something I never take lightly. It’s truly a privilege to represent the people in the First District.”

Prior to his legislative career, Beck served nine years in the Affton School Board including two years as president. During his tenure, he expanded early childhood education and increased opportunities for students pursuing STEM careers.

Born and raised in St. Louis County, Beck graduated from Lindbergh High School in 1983 and attended St. Louis Community College. He has been married to his wife Marilyn for 35 years and has two children and three grandchildren.

Also honored at the awards ceremony was former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who received the Jefferson County Democrats William McKenna Lifetime Service to Missouri Award. Nixon, a Democrat and friend of Labor, served as Missouri governor for two terms, attorney general for four terms and as a state senator for six years.

Nixon is now a partner at the law firm Dowd Bennett LLP and provides strategic counsel to companies involved in high stakes litigation and counsels clients on the intersection of litigation and public policy issues. He and his wife Georganne live in University City and have two sons, Jeremiah and Wilson.

Fran Newkirk, chair of the Jefferson County Women Democrats, received the Jefferson County Democrats Lifetime Service to Jefferson Count Award. She and her husband Glen moved to Jefferson County in 1965 and she became involved with the Mother’s Club at Antonia School, which she says evolved into politics.

She’s been a member of the Jefferson County Women Democrats since 1975 and has served in various Democratic positions over the years. She also served on the Antonia Fire District board for 12 years and has run for office when the county needed a Democratic challenger on the ballot.

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