Archive for the ‘Jason Kander’ Category

CCP Endorsement Meeting Tonight

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

The Committee for County Progress will meet this evening to vote on endorsements in upcoming elections. All dues-paying members are allowed (encouraged, even) to show up and vote on this momentous decision.

“Momentous” might be overstating it, just a little.  As Paul LeVota pointed out at the organization’s End of Session Party, none of the elected officials in the room had won the CCP’s endorsement in their first contest.  Jolie Justus, Jason Kander, even Paul LeVota, the Democratic Floor Leader, had been cold-shouldered for other candidates with more insider connections, though less popular appeal.

True to form, the Executive Committee of the Committee for County Progress is encouraging the membership to support county insider and old-school politico Henry Rizzo over Crystal Williams, a first-time candidate and breath of fresh air, as well as Fred “Been On the County Legislature Since it Was Formed and Even Got a County Golf Course Named After Me” Arbanas over Terry Riley, who has shown himself to be an effective voice for change in the City.

If the CCP membership decides to follow the Old White Male recommendations of its Executive Committee, perhaps a name change would be in order.  Caucus of Conservative Patricians, anyone?

Thoughts from Last Night’s Ethics Forum

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Committee for County Progress hosted an Ethics Forum last night. Micheal Mahoney served as moderator, with panelists Rep. Paul Levota, Rep. Jason Kander, and David Levinthal, the Communications Director for the Center for Responsive Politics in DC. The panel was great, the discussion was informative, and the crowd was a who’s who of up-and-coming politicos. I don’t have time to do one of my typically verbose descriptions of the event, but here are a few observations:

Paul Levota is funny. At one point, Mahoney was pressing Levota on the unlikelihood that the Missouri Senate will accept contribution limits. Mahoney pointed out that little will be accomplished by sticking to the issue accept to use it as a campaign weapon. “That’s the plan,” Levota deadpanned.

Transparency is crucial. One of the big problems in Missouri is that donors hide behind committees. When checks get funneled from “Missourians for Good Things” to “Missourians for Awesome Things” and then to “Missourians for Nice Things” and then finally to the candidate, it’s awfully hard to track the dollars back to the special interest pulling the strings.

Jason Kander is funny, too.
Commenting on a fellow representative’s $100,000 donor, Kander pointed out that the donor probably gets his calls returned faster than the representative’s children. (Maybe that isn’t funny.)

The Center for Responsive Politics is a tremendous resource. Levinthal was well-informed, completely balanced and thoughtful. The Center is non-partisan, and his straight-arrow style made clear that he is interested in good government, period.

The candidates are out to see and be seen. The crowd was peppered with candidates in up-coming races. I hate to mention names, because I don’t want to neglect anyone, but Crispin Rea was a welcome presence, along with his campaign treasurer Theresa Garza Ruiz. I finally met Jeremy Ploeger for the 51st district, and Geoff Gerling, candidate for the 46th District.

Where were the County Legislators? The only County Legislator in attendance was the always-wonderful Theresa Garza Ruiz. This came as a bit of a shock, given that it was a forum on Ethics sponsored by the Committee for COUNTY Progress. After the legislature’s embarrassing and anti-ethical attempt to avoid ethical home rule, it seems that more of them would have an interest in the topic. Fortunately, Henry Rizzo’s opposing candidate and likely replacement, Crystal Williams, was present.

Speaking of Theresa Garza Ruiz . . . I had a brief opportunity to speak with her about her sudden removal as Chair of the Justice & Law Enforcement committee. Despite her degree and experience in law enforcement, she was unceremoniously dumped from the committee, and the “dumper”, Henry Rizzo, didn’t even talk with her about it first, before awarding the committee Chair to a convicted felon. Theresa didn’t have much to offer by way of explanation of this baffling move, other than to point out that the claim that it’s part of a normal rotation of chairs is demonstrably false.

Micheal Mahoney knows his stuff. Mahoney did a great job of moderating the event, and the high point came when he ran factual rings around a loud audience member who was claiming that money is the be-all and end-all of politics. Mahoney pointed to the Carnahan/Talent race, and when the blustery but ill-informed talker pushed on, he pointed out that the Mayor was also not the leading fundraiser in his election. It was an amusing and deft evisceration of an anti-Funkhouser activist who seemed to be substituting volume for accuracy.

It’s wonderful that so many people care about ethics in Missouri.
On a Thursday evening, a healthy crowd of people came out to a mid-town law office to participate in a high-level forum on the topic of dollars and politics. That’s a pretty impressive level of interest, and the CCP deserves credit for putting on the forum.

See for Yourself – Jason Kander Town Hall Meeting on Saturday

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I was an enthusiastic early supporter of Jason Kander in his race for to represent me down in Jefferson City, and he continues to impress. It’s tough for a new Representative to accomplish anything in Missouri – it’s nearly impossible for a member of the minority party to do so. But it was Jason who found money for health care, and pushed the Republicans to do a few right things.

If you would like to hear Jason recount a few tales from Jefferson City, you’re invited to a Town Hall meeting this coming Saturday:

Town Hall Meeting

This Saturday, May 23rd, from 10:30 to 11:30AM

Broadway United Methodist Church (406 W. 74th St. KCMO 64114)

I’d love to hear your thoughts and answer your questions about the recently completed legislative session.

RSVP Appreciated:
Jason.Kander@House.Mo.Gov or 573 751 2437

Hope to see you there!

Jason Kander’s "10 Lessons I Learned in March"

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

When I enthusiastically supported Jason Kander in last year’s race for the 44th District, I did so because I knew he would be an energetic, creative and effective voice in a legislature that was likely to remain in Republican hands. My expectations are being met – he’s constantly communicating with his constituents and actually achieving things in a republican-controlled atmosphere. Jefferson City is a viciously partisan city, but Jason has managed to win health care for kids with cancer, defend soldier’s rights, and balance his sense of humor and moral indignation.

Keep up the great work, Mr. Kander!

Here’s the March Top Ten List:

1. You have to be crafty with the budget.

The Democrats tried several strategies to restore healthcare for about 20,000 children. Because the Republicans control the House, each attempt failed on a party-line vote after Republican speeches called it “welfare.” I’m told that no Democrat has successfully restored any funding to healthcare since the 2005 cuts. So I decided to come up with proposals that would be politically impossible to oppose.

First, I proposed giving healthcare to children who would have been covered by the Governor’s plan and have been diagnosed with cancer. I paid for it by cutting funds for legislators’ healthcare. Representatives had to choose between their own low premiums and helping kids with cancer. Thankfully, the amendment passed unamimously.

Next, I proposed a similar measure for children with autism. This time, I funded it by eliminating several perks provided to legislators (free coffee, special member lapel pins, and cuts to our personal expense accounts). At first, the Republicans were voting “no” but when they realized the political implications of choosing their own perks over children with autism, those in “swing districts” changed their votes and the measure passed. The Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and several other top Republicans actually voted to keep their coffee and lapel pins!

The next morning my desk was covered in half empty coffee cups under a “Save Us” sign. A pretty decent little prank from my colleagues.

2. Ideology is a nearly immovable force in Jefferson City.

A key point of contention during the budget debate revolved around a plan by Gov. Nixon and the Missouri Hospital Association to restore healthcare coverage to about 35,000 people at no cost to state taxpayers. The plan, which calls for the hospitals to voluntarily pay a higher tax to leverage more federal dollars, was roundly rejected by Republicans as “welfare.”

The plan would not have increased taxes on a single Missourian, but that didn’t stop Rep. Rob Schaaf (R – St. Joseph) from comparing government-subsidized healthcare to slavery.

3. Get to know the Committee Chair.

Last week, my bill to protect the parental rights of servicemembers passed out of the House. Though it would have been tough to get the bill passed as a stand-alone measure, the Chairman of the Veterans Committee, Rep. David Day (R – Waynesville), was a supporter and he included my legislation in an omnibus bill. I’m cautiously optimistic that it will find its way to the Governor’s desk.

A hat tip on this one to Chris Vedder, a 44th District constituent and Army National Guard soldier who came to Jefferson City to testify on the bill. In the picture on the left, you can see Chris and me making our case to the Veterans Committee.

4. Pay attention to the testimony.

During budget hearings, the Attorney General’s Office pointed out the expiration of federal funding for an important domestic violence program. By working with Republicans on the committee, I was able to move funds from the Office of Administration to keep the program going for another year.

Keeping the program is important in order to train state prosecutors about changes I hope to make in domestic violence law this year. Next week, I’m filing a bill to equip prosecutors with a new tool to gain short jail stints for abusers that violate protection orders.

5. Thank goodness for all the emails.

Advocates across the state did a great job letting us in the House know about the danger of the proposed cuts to Children’s Treatment Services. Rep. Rachel Storch (D – St. Louis) successfully restored the enormous cuts to these programs made by House Republicans.

6. I really don’t understand the priorities of House Republicans.

Though the federal stimulus funds are meant to help states keep budgets stable, Republicans are leaving $1.1 billion locked in a “magic box” for purposes unknown. We could easily have avoided cuts to vital services, restored important healthcare programs, and done more to stimulate the state’s economy – but instead we again put ideology first.

I participated in a press conference at Operation Breakthrough to highlight the “magic box” problem. Coverage from KMBC 9 is available here (click on the video in the upper right corner).

7. We are going backward in education policy.

Republicans eliminated teacher professional development, the state gifted program, fine arts education, and Parents as Teachers. Every Democratic attempt to restore the funding was shot down.

8. We haven’t learned from our mistakes.

Republicans rejected a Democratic effort to force lawmakers to keep a promise to Missouri voters and require that new casino gambling revenue generated by a recently approved statewide ballot measure results in additional funding for the state’s public school districts and doesn’t simply replace existing funding.

As Republican leaders structured the budget, the estimated $108 million in Proposition A funds is being used to free up general revenue for other purposes. State Rep. Rachel Bringer (D-Palmyra) attempted to undo the gambling money shell game, but her efforts failed on a largely party-line 70-89 vote.

Voters endorsed Proposition A in November with 56.2 percent support. The measure lifted Missouri’s casino loss limit, slightly increased taxes on casino operators and contained a provision prohibiting the new revenues from replacing general revenue set aside for education.

9. There is such a thing as political arson.

I sit on the budget committee with Rep. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg). During committee Rep. Hoskins voted to eliminate the “Meals on Wheels” program. I voted to keep it, but my side lost. When the bill reached the floor of the House, Rep. Hoskins had several amendments to put funding into the program. With each amendment, he got the funding by eliminating the funding for several members of Gov. Nixon’s administration.

Many of the people he attempted to cut just happened to have been supportive of the Governor’s campaign. Hoskins then took credit for saving “Meals on Wheels” and portrayed people like me, who voted against this scheme, as opponents of “Meals on Wheels.”

To me, this is a classic case of burning down the building so that you can rebuild it with the wrong bricks.

10. Beware of misleading titles.

Chairman of the Budget Committee, Rep. Allen Icet (R-Wildwood), proposed the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights.” Every Democrat and four Republicans voted against it, but it did just barely pass. Also known as TABOR, the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” would keep the state government from ever spending 1% more than they did the year before. Colorado adopted a similar measure a few years ago and immediately regretted it.

All that the bill does for taxpayers is rob them of representation, decrease the flexibility of state government, and de-fund valuable state services. As covered in this Associated Press story, I argued that the policy reflected a wrongheaded lack of faith in government.

That’s the list. Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you just can’t get enough of this stuff and you’d like to view a video about the disagreement over changes in the state budget, click here.

What Have You Learned in the Past 3 Weeks

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Here’s what my state representative, Jason Kander, has come up with for the past 3 weeks. I can’t claim to have been as productive . . .

10. While it’s an honor to receive an appointment to the budget committee as a freshman, it’s also pretty intimidating to be on that committee when Governor Nixon is inheriting such a troubled deficit.

9. Just keeping up with my day-to-day schedule is a challenge! Whenever I think that I’ve caught up, I come back to my office and find a desk full of legislation, research, or correspondence that needs my attention. If you know me at all, you know I actually love this aspect of the job.

8. It’s going to be tough to get used tousing language like “the gentleman from St. Louis County” when giving a speech.

7. Reporters pay VERY close attention to the words you use and they are definitely earning their salaries.

6. It’s easy to lose touch with reality if you spend too much time talking only to other politicians (especially if you only talk to folks from your own side of the aisle). I’ve learned a tremendous amount by setting up phone calls with Department Directors, University Presidents, etc.

5. My staff is incredible. Without my legislative aide or my interns, I think I would be a complete and total mess.

4. The Republican majority has the option of shutting the Democratic minority out of all policymaking for no reason at all.

3. The title of a bill may sound good, and the summary may sound great, but it’s extremely important to read the actual language. I almost got burned on this a week ago and I’ve resolved to treat every potential “yes” vote like I do a potential signature on a contract.

2. A law degree and some experience practicing law is, I think, a real advantage. I count myself very lucky to come into this with so much experience interpreting and arguing over the meaning of state statutes.

1. It seems like there are at least five lobbyists for every one legislator in the Capitol at any given time

Keep on keeping on, Jason.

Race for the 44th Ends Peacefully

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

One of the underlying themes of the Kander/Coffman campaign has been the issue of dirty campaigning. Who would do it, when, and how much? Like the wired boats floating in Gotham City harbor in The Dark Knight, each campaign has sat there, feeling vulnerable, wondering if the other will be quicker to act.

No movie spoiler here.

In this case, at least, it appears that neither boat triggered the other’s bomb. Neither Amy Coffman nor Jason Kander launched the kind of attacks that we all feared. Bravo to them both.

That is not to say that there aren’t quibbles that may fuel post-election conversations. Jason Kander’s mailer contrasting his and Amy’s positions on lobbyists was a strong piece, and left no doubts in anybody’s minds about which candidate was closer to lobbyists. From the other side, Amy Coffman’s treasurer falsely claimed that Jeff Roe (to carry the prior metaphor one step further, Jeff Roe is the Joker) had endorsed Jason Kander, and Tony’s KC repeated the exaggeration.

In the grand scheme of things, though, this has been a pretty darned good race. Any of the three candidates would be a fine representative for the 44th District, and each of them kept their dignity throughout the campaign. Whatever the vote totals are at the end of the day, I hope each of them is glad to have participated in the process.

Now that the primaries are over, let’s run the table in November!

Expose’ From Inside the Kander Campaign – What I’ve Learned in Working With the Kanders

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Sorry, friends and readers, this is going to be a long post, so either click to another page or settle in for a few paragraphs. The primary votes will be cast in 10 days, and I suspect that what I type here will be too late to either show up on a campaign post card or change the minds of anyone who reads it. So this post is not an attempt to sway voters or to impact a campaign. This one’s for me.

When I first spoke of supporting Jason Kander to seek Jenee Low’s seat when she was “termed out”, several people cautioned me against it. A political insider told me I would be wasting my time, because the “insiders have found a lobbyist they like”. An old friend assured me that the Kanders would run a dirty campaign. Several people told me that the Kanders had an awful lot of enemies, and it would be unwise for me to associate with them. One person emailed me and told me that they would try to destroy my life if I crossed them.

My own experience, though, suggested otherwise. I had met Jason a couple times, and he was bright, straight-shooting, and honest. Where he disagreed with me, he asked questions to make certain he understood where I was coming from. When I pushed him on topics, he didn’t candy coat his perspective or try to be all things to me. He promised to work hard and run a clean campaign, and he looked me in the eye. I believed him.

Was I getting scammed by a smooth politico? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time that someone I admired turned out to be something less than what I thought he was. As an enthusiastic delegate for Gary Hart, I’ve learned that you cannot judge politicians by looking at them.

I also had some experience with Jason’s wife, Diana. Diana worked for Doug Gamble when he ran for City Council against my friend, Beth Gottstein. Diana and I had several conversations throughout the campaign, and, even though we both strongly wanted the opposite side to prevail, she was always respectful, thoughtful, and honest. I once posted something that I mistakenly attributed to the Gamble campaign, and when she telephoned me to point out my error, she was calm, accurate and professional. She impressed me as intense but absolutely fair and upstanding.

The campaign was a tough one, though, and the lowest point, in my opinion, was reached by a campaign piece that I thought was anti-Semitic. A lot of people attacked me for making that accusation, and many local politicos thought I was being oversensitive, but I call them the way I see them, and that was definitely the way I saw it. After the campaign, I had an opportunity to discuss the matter with her. She is a Jew who fled Odessa because of anti-Semitism, so I wanted to know the background. Our conversation was confidential, but I can say that I walked away from it satisfied that her integrity was beyond reproach.

So I volunteered my time to help Jason Kander on his campaign.

This may seem an odd choice to some. Why would I volunteer to work to elect a guy I didn’t know incredibly well, when my friends were telling me he was bad? Why would I affiliate with a guy who the “insiders” weren’t supporting?

Those are fair questions, and they get to the very heart of why I blog and why I am interested in local politics. In a nutshell, I think a lot of local politics is controlled by a relatively small group of not-incredibly-bright insiders, and they are accustomed to getting their way. Second, I think that reputations are often completely unearned, both positive and negative. Reputations, by their very nature, reflect mob mentality. Third, the whole reason I blog is to stroke my own ego and perhaps have a positive impact on my corner of the world. As such, the Kander campaign offered a no-lose opportunity for me.

If I got involved early for Jason, and I was right about him, I would have the opportunity to support a great, hard-working candidate who has the determination and skills to be HUGE in Jefferson City. I win, and the citizens of the 44th win.

But, if I got involved early for Jason, and I was wrong about him, I would have an opportunity to make a huge impact by loudly breaking with those evil Kanders. I am not one who believes that bloggers generally have much influence on anything, but I’ll flatter myself and say that if I loudly denounced the Kanders and wrote about bad tactics they had employed, after having loudly been on their side, it would have had a major impact on this local race. The local insiders would love me, and I would help cut short the career of an up-and-coming slimeball. I win, and the citizens of the 44th win.

So, my little win/win scenario dancing through my head, I called up Jason and told him I’d like to help on his campaign.

Since then, I’ve gotten to know both the Kanders a lot better. I’ve stuffed a few envelopes, filled out a few postcards, made a few phone calls, put up a few yard signs, and hosted a small neighborhood event. I’ve participated as a volunteer – not a great volunteer, or a spectacularly dependable one, but I like to think I’ve helped. I’ve traded emails with the candidate on a couple policy issues, though not too much of that (he’s better thought-out than I am, and needs my input like he needs another tour of Afghanistan), and I’ve been around at the end of long days in the unguarded moments when exhaustion and camaraderie allow you to say whatever you want to say.

(Let me interject here what I have not done. I have NOT served as a mouthpiece for the campaign. I have NEVER allowed Jason or Diana to write anything for me, and they have not even suggested what to write about. I have never offered them an opportunity to review what I write before I post it, and they have never asked me to edit my pieces. I suspect, as some commenters have surmised, that they have occasionally wished that I would shut the heck up, since I have certainly provided those who oppose Jason plenty of opportunity to dish out whatever anonymous abuse they want. The ONLY time that I received a request from Jason regarding my blog was one time he called me up and directed my attention to a comment that described a local politico in nasty homophobic terms, and he requested that I delete the comment. I did so, and felt awful that I had missed the comment when it was made.)

So here’s the news, folks. Jason is running a squeaky-clean campaign, and he really is as bright, sincere and hard-working as he appears.

A campaign presents thousands of temptations, and it takes a person of remarkable character to avoid them. It’s a weird phenomenon, but campaigns attract the attention of nutcases and scumbags from all over. I’ve seen it as a blogger in past campaigns, when people send me “shocking” info about some candidate’s minor arrest from decades ago, or claim that the candidate is having sex with someone s/he shouldn’t be, or that they cheated on their 4th grade math test. It’s even worse in a campaign, because people who have grudges from anywhere along the person’s life feel compelled to call the opposing camp and report all kinds of transgressions, minor to allegedly major. And, in the heat of a campaign, it’s tempting to spread the word about some of them. But a great candidate says, “Really, I’m not interested in hearing that. I’d rather talk about why I am running.” And that is how Jason has handled those calls, and I admire him for it. My friends who told me about how dirty Jason is would be shocked. Or disappointed.

(It occurs to me that in the crazed world of blog commenters, someone could think that I wrote the above paragraph to sneakily hint that some awful facts about Jason’s opponents have come to the campaign, and that I’m trying to plant that seed without making a real accusation. No. Simply no. I have heard nothing about either of Jason’s opponents that is both credible and major. Nothing. So, if that seed has been planted, please douse it with Roundup, okay?)

So, while commenters here have been telling us all that Jason is a lying sack of sh*t and that he and his wife are the local versions of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, I’ve been witnessing something quite different.

One would have expected that the complete absence of negative or dirty campaigning by the Kanders would silence the complaints about negative or dirty campaigning by the Kanders. Unfortunately, such an expectation would be unjustified. Instead, it has only turned the complaints louder and more unhinged.

Tony’s Kansas City did a post yesterday about the gossip attacks on the Kanders. The KC Blue Blog did a follow-up post responding to the bogus nature of the attacks and busted out the red letters for an “easy” endorsement for “Democrat and Veteran Jason Kander for State Representative.”

Rumor has it that the next ten days will see some negative pieces sent out to trash Jason and his wife, Diana. I hope the rumors are mistaken, but the figure of $20,000 has been attached to them, allegedly at the absolute insistence of a local elected official. Who knows? Again, this stuff is circulating at the rumor level, and may have exactly the same lack of credibility that I have seen were behind the accusations of the Kanders engaging in underhanded campaigning.

So, here I am, nearly at the end of my little experiment in local democracy. The people who were shrill in attacking Jason at the beginning of the race for being an underhanded campaigner have shown themselves to be the ones engaging in negative tactics and underhanded campaigning. The rumor-mongers and spreaders of hate, it turns out, have not been in the Kander camp.

When this campaign got started, I thought there was a chance I could be writing a huge expose’ today about slimy tactics, lies, rumors, and underhanded campaigning. Instead, I find myself writing about a candidate I admire more than when I started. When people at the doors have been mean to him, he has been polite in response, and respected their views. When I have been angered, he has been calm. When cheap shot opportunities have presented themselves, he has refused them.

I don’t know how the votes are going to come in next Tuesday. Amy Coffman and Mary Cosgrove Spence have run good races, and they have been supplemented by an enormous amount of gossip and nastiness directed at Jason Kander. Amy’s years of lobbyist experience have paid off in lobbyist money and endorsements. Mary Cosgrove Spence has some wonderful volunteers and supporters who are refreshingly enthusiastic and positive. All three of them are good Democrats who I hope to support in future elections.

As for my expose’ – well, I’m just awfully proud and happy I didn’t get to write one this time.

Gone Mild Endorsements for August 2008

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Two weeks from today, the primary season of 2008 will be completed. The Star will start issuing its endorsements this week, so I thought I would beat them to the punch with my own. I’d hate for anyone to think that the Star’s analysis influences me . . .

I’m tempted to put in a cautionary note on the difference between endorsements and predictions. Sometimes, the better candidate doesn’t really stand much of a chance, but, in this cycle, I’m feeling pretty confident that each of my favorite candidates will win his or her respective race, so these are both predictions and endorsements.

In order of the ballot:

Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon – By no means is Jay Nixon my favorite Democrat, but he’s the best candidate in the governor’s race by a long shot. He has the ability to win the general, and the experience to be successful in the Governor’s Mansion.

Sam Page - Sam Page may be one of the nicest people I’ve met in politics, and his sincere desire to serve the public as our Lieutenant Governor is exceeded only by his qualifications. He should win the primary easily, and then the real race begins. Look for Sam Page to oust Peter “Crooked Cash” Kinder from the office of Lieutenant Governor.

Robin Carnahan - She’s served us well, and will win the general in November, too.

Clint Zweifel – This is going to be an interesting race. I like Andria Simckes a lot, but Clint has the edge in qualifications and savvyness. Either would be great in the office, but Clint has had a sharper campaign team.

Jeff Harris – No surprise here for regular readers. Jeff has experience, integrity, and a willingness to outwork his opponents. As a result, he has better poll numbers without selling his soul through unethical campaign finance shenanigans. Jeff is just plain solid – a great guy with a good sense of humor and an outstanding sense of himself. If you want to see Missouri’s Attorney General’s office function as one of the best and most ethical AG offices in the entire nation, then vote for Jeff Harris.

5th District: Emanuel Cleaver, II – He’s had a couple surprisingly bad votes (favoring the credit card companies over his constituents was particularly egregious), but Emanuel Cleaver is one of our best, most dedicated public servants. I hope he serves a long time.

40th District: John Patrick Burnett – This is not my district, but I cannot understand why Rizzo would try to unseat John Burnett. John is smart, hardworking and effective. He deserves to retain his seat.

44th District: Jason Kander – This comes as no surprise – I’ve admired Jason as a person of integrity and serious purpose since I met him before he went to Afghanistan. When I started this campaign, I thought he was a great candidate running against two good candidates. I haven’t changed my feeling one iota – Jason’s integrity and class have proven to be exactly as I thought they would be. Less importantly, but still persuasive, is the fact that he is precisely the kind of straight-shooting, dependable, competent, hard-working, thoughtful leader who will stand out in the legislature. He doesn’t waffle, he doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t whine. He will get things done in Jefferson City, and he will be a spark for the entire Democratic team in our Capital.

Jim Kanatzar – Jim is a fine prosecutor, and will continue to serve us effectively.

John Bullard, Jr. – John Bullard is simply the kind of guy you want in the Sheriff’s office. Law enforcement is what he thinks about when he wakes up, and he stays on point all day long. He has great plans to increase cooperation among the local departments, and he has the credibility to pull it off. He will also make the Sheriff’s office more accessible and visible.

8th Ward, Stephen Bough – Stephen Bough is fair-minded, has solid values, and is the hardest working politico in Kansas City. We disagree often enough that I know my endorsement isn’t solely due to lockstep agreement – he’s just a great volunteer, and belongs on the County committee.

8th Ward, Mary Frances Weir – Mary is a solid Democrat with a solid grounding in social justice. In 2006, she received the prestigious Tiera Farrow Community Award from the UMKC Association of Women Law Students for her work on behalf of victims of domestic violence.

More Republican Fundraising Shenanigans – Kinder Cheats on Money Coming In and Going Out

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

As regular readers know, Chris Koster has run into a whole lot of trouble for his shockingly underworld system of fundraising/money-laundering through third-party committees. Leading Democrats, like Jason Kander, have condemned these kind of tactics.

Peter Kinder, Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, on the other hand, has managed to build upon those tactics. Not only is he funneling excessive contributions through third party committees he controls, he is actually paying his staff through those same committees! He’s even paying his rent through the committee he controls!

To read the whole story, visit Fired Up! Missouri.

Vote for Sam Page for Lieutenant Governor.

Follow-Up on Koster’s Money-Laundering – Will Coffman and Spence Drop the Ice Pick?

Friday, July 11th, 2008

When Chris Koster got caught orchestrating a money-laundering scheme, many people began focusing on the ugly role that “third party committees” play in Missouri politics. While Chris Koster has pushed the envelope for their corrupt abuse in an unprecedented and probably illegal fashion, political insiders know that third party committees are nasty little tools that can used in several slimy tactics – mostly in launching ugly, usually false but always despicable attacks on opponents without having the candidate’s name attached. They are the ice picks of Missouri politics – dangerous tools with few legitimate uses in today’s world, other than inflicting damage.

Long before the light of day was shone upon the depths of Koster’s corruption, Jason Kander was already providing leadership on this important facet of campaign finance. On, June 3, Jason Kander issued a press release pledging not to use the third party committees to circumvent the law, the way that the Koster campaign has.

“I will not take contributions above the $325 limit from committees or use third party committees to criticize my opponents. I hope that my opponents will also follow the letter and spirit of the law,” said Kander.

So far, Amy Coffman and Mary Cosgrove Spence have remained silent about third party committees. Now that Chris Koster has refocused attention on the corrupt uses of third party committees, will they join Jason in his simple pledge? Will they agree to not take contributions over the $325 limit from committees, or use third party committees to criticize their opponents?

Now is the time when they can either put down the ice pick or start using it to get nasty in the final weeks of the campaign.

Amy Coffman and Mary Cosgrove Spence – will you join Jason in putting down the ice pick, or will you resort to third party committees like Chris Koster?

(As soon as I receive word that Amy Coffman and Mary Spence join in the pledge, I will happily post their press releases.)