I attended a fundraiser for Chris Benjamin, the Democratic candidate in the 31st Senate District, at a home in Warrensburg on Thursday evening. The event was well attended, crowded if you will, and the noise level of all the combined conversations made it almost impossible to hear at times.

The energy of those in attendance was very high. Their conversations revolved around the fact that the Democratic Party has a strong group of candidates up and down the ticket and the strong belief that this is going to be a Democratic year, a year of change for the better. This was reflected in the comments of those who spoke at the event.

Chris Benjamin thanked the crowd for their attendance, their enthusiasm, and for embracing his candidacy:

…Working in Jefferson City…I found that…working families have been neglected…

I am a product of the public education system and I am very, very proud of that. I grew up in Harrisonville and went to the Harrisonville public schools, went to Mizzou…it’s essential for the future of our families and of our state, for the future of our economy to have kids that have a world class education. And the only way we’re going to do that is if we make public education a priority in Missouri. Unfortunately, that’s not the case right now. Higher education is very important….Our kids who are graduating high school need to have access to a college education…Well, we’re number 49 in our commitment to higher education. I’m here to tell you – we can do better…

…I’m very, very excited about this year, as you can see the crowd we have here tonight. We have some wonderful candidates…

We only have to pick up eleven seats [in the House]. I’m telling you, that’s going to happen. We’re going to have a Democratic speaker [applause]…

…We saw that…on February 5th – 230,000 more Democrats turned out to the polls…because we are energized, because we, in this room, the Democrats in the state, the Independents, and a lot of Republicans understand we need change in state government and national government. It’s going to happen this year…  

…I’m going to work very hard for you in Jefferson City, when I go to the Senate…I’m going to make working families a priority, and public education a priority, and health care access a priority…

A number of county and legislative candidates were introduced and each spoke briefly in turn. One brand new candidate, Carla Keough from Butler Missouri filed yesterday morning at the Secretary of State’s office in Jefferson City for the 125th House District – challenging republican Barney Fisher. By all accounts she is an energetic community activist and a formidable fundraiser. This will be another interesting race to watch.

It’s going to be a Democratic election year.