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Misery in Missouri

Hard to tell who is the boxer and who is the bag now
Eric Greitens: The Scandal-Ridden Governor With Nowhere To Turn
 
A week ago tonight, Governor Eric Greitens delivered his State of the State address which was widely received as hollow and lacking in detail. Nobody will remember that speech because of what happened shortly after he left the podium. St. Louis area media outlets released a story that Greitens had an extramarital affair around the time he launched his candidacy in 2015. Far worse, he was accused of blindfolding the woman, binding her hands and photographing her for blackmail purposes. Greitens admitted to the affair, but his lawyers have challenged other claims.  St. Louis area law enforcement is investigating the claims of blackmail, a possible assault and more.
This has, of course, become a national news story and a massive embarrassment to the state of Missouri. CNN reports here on audio recordings turned over to law enforcemnt and more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/16/politics/eric-greitens-audio/index.html
 
We all know this is hardly the first scandal Greitens has gotten himself into during his first year in office.  He is still facing litigation over the use of the Confide mobile app that deletes all record of messages once they have been read. There were the special legislative sessions he ordered despite the business not being viewed as a state emergency. There's the phony non-profit he uses to funnel dark money for political purposes. He threatened and intimidated members of his own party in the State Senate on several occasions... There's more and more.  HBO's Vice News did a short report on several of the areas that have made him perhaps the most hated person in Missouri. You can view the six minute video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUbhIJrVqdo
 
The General Assembly returned to work on Tuesday, but little work was accomplished as the conversation around Greitens could not be avoided. Three Republican law makers (Conway, Haefner and Walker) called for the Governor to step down. They were joined by a number of Democratic Representatives and former Republican State Party Chairman Ed Martin. You can read about these statements and others over at the Missouri Times including this neat timeline of the events as we know them leading up to this week: https://themissouritimes.com/47319/how-we-got-here-an-anthology-of-controversies-and-conflict-between-the-governor-and-general-assembly/
 
KMBC had a reporter in Jefferson City yesterday as calls for resignation came in. Here is their story with comments from Kansas City State Representative DaRon McGee: http://www.kmbc.com/article/missouri-governor-should-consider-resigning-state-lawmaker-says/15173671

 

Oh Yeah, We Have Work To Do

Nearly lost in all of this is the report from the Governor's office declaring that we need to prepare for a $300 million reduction in state spending to balance the budget. Despite Republican control of the legislature for years and now total control of all State government activity, Missouri has shown slow economic growth over the years. GOP leadership's only answer has been to cut taxes, promising new business investment and the typical "trickle down economics" arguments our friends in Kansas bought into under Sam Brownback.  Not surprisingly, we seem to be headed down the same path as our neighbors to the west. The State's Chief Operating Officer, a position created by Greitens largely because he lacked the experience to do the job of the chief executive, stated in his report that this $300 million reduction "is our new normal," and we will continue to face pressure and further cuts in the years ahead.  Read the report from the Missouri Times here: https://themissouritimes.com/47311/greitens-coo-tells-cabinet-to-prepare-for-300-million-in-reductions/

 

So Where Does All This Leave Us?

(Editorial by Executive Director Geoff Gerling)

Our state government is in total chaos and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  In 2016, this state elected a Governor we didn't know because he hit the right notes of anger and mistrust while offering a fresh view as an outsider. He promised traditional family values, an end to Jefferson City corruption and a clear vision for the future of the state. All Greitens has delivered has been the opposite; fueled by a never-ending river of dark money, Greitens has been inaccessible to the media, voters and other elected officials alike, he has acted as a bully in Jefferson City whenever possible, he leaves the state for fundraising events and Washington DC photo ops every chance he gets, and the only policy visions he has remain either a mystery or the same old attacks on the working class citizens we have seen destroy economies before. Like his political idol Donald Trump, his hollow promises to "drain the swamp" have only further polluted it.

The State of Missouri is facing economic drought conditions and the biggest losers will be public schools, our already crumbling infrastructure, senior citizens and those in need of healthcare access.  The "leadership" of Eric Greitens and Republican legislators is not helping these problems, they are making them worse in a hurry.

The scandals and legal questions are largely out of our hands and things are certainly going to get worse for our Governor before they get better. Greitens has made few friends since being sworn in aside from his nameless donors around the country.  That means he has almost no one to turn to in Jefferson City to help him now that his back is against the wall. His glossy finish has been stripped away and we all see Greitens for the fraud that he is. As Democrats, we need to call him out for his policy failings and work to elect members of the House and Senate that will stand up to the destructive Republican agenda. Even if Greitens resigns, the GOP holds a super-majority in both chambers and Lt. Governor Mike Parsons will work well with them to pass bills.

Our area has a great opportunity to flip THREE State Senate seats and no less than SIX House seats in 2018. November will be here before we know it.  The more work we put into supporting our suburban candidates, the easier it will be to win races at the top of the ballot as well (McCaskill, Galloway). 

Wave elections don't just happen; they require a large group of people pledging to vote for a dramatic change and working to get others to do the same.  Missouri may be a state on the brink now, but voters can do a lot to bring us back this November.  We nearly swept all statewide elections in 2012.  There is no reason we can't do it again in 2018 and 2020.

 

Big Plans Require Help from Everyone

Jackson County will play a major role in the future of Missouri politics in 2018 and beyond. We have several competitive State House and Senate districts in play this year, voter turnout for Senator Claire McCaskill and Auditor Nicole Galloway will be critical in our area, and we stand to be an example of a pending wave of Democrats reclaiming state-wide offices in 2020. To get there, our staff and committee members have developed bold plans and aggressive campaign strategies, but we need the funds to do it. Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Jackson County Democratic Committee HERE. Our money stays in the area and is always spent wisely with minimal overhead. Every bit counts!

 

Club Meetings and Events:

  • Raytown Democratic Association: Monthly meeting Thursday January 18th at 7pm. Las Chili's (6210 Raytown Trafficway). Come early at 6pm for dinner and to make new friends!  Guest speaker will be County Legislator Dan Tarwater.
  • 5th Annual Fred Whitehead Activism Symposium: Sunday January 21st, 2pm at UMKC's Haag Hall (52nd and Rockhill Rd). Winston Apple will be presenting and discussing ways in which the Democratic Party and progressive groups can work together to maximize opportunities for victory this year and in future elections. Winston is a member of the Democratic National Committee, the Missouri State Democratic Committee, Our Revolution and Government By the People.
  • Heartland Alliance for Progress:  Monthly meeting on Monday January 22nd starting at 5:30pm. Guest speaker will be Jeremy LaFaver with the Center for Tax Fairness of the Missouri Budget Project. Join us at Californo's (4124 Pennsylvania in Westport).
  • United Eastern Democrats: Membership meeting January 24 at Courthouse Exchange (113 W Lexington on the Independence Square). Social Hour at 6pm, meeting at 7pm. Guest speaker will be Jackson County Legislator Crystal Williams.
  • Missouri Democratic Party Candidate Training: February 3rd, 8:30-4:30pm at Stephens College, 6 North College Avenue, Columbia MO (Lela Raney Wood Hall Auditorium). Sessions will feature training in finance, communication, data and general campaign management. RSVP here: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/2366368216369137408
  • Save the Date: Annual Wiggins Fund Event is scheduled for March 2nd, 5:30-8:00pm. Special speaker to be announced.
  • Upcoming--voter registration training (will be scheduled for February)
  • Upcoming--information on filing for county and state offices in February. For immediate information, email geoff@jacksoncodems.org