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Tommy Sowers, announced Democratic Party candidate for the seat in the 8th Congressional District, spoke at the Truman Day rally in Poplar Bluff on Saturday, September 19th.

Our previous coverage of Tommy Sowers’ campaign:

Tommy Sowers (D) is running against Jo Ann Emerson (r) in the 8th Congressional District

…[applause] Good evening everyone. Thank you for that excellent introduction. And it’s an honor to be standing before you tonight. Especially on a night celebrating Harry S Truman. Some of my first memories were sitting on my grandfather’s lap in the newspaper editorial office looking at pictures of him and Harry S Truman. And when I think of what it means to be a public servant I think of him. I think of a guy that’s from the area. I think of a guy that served his country and always put the people first. So it’s an honor to be with, with you here tonight on this night.

You may have heard that I’m running for Congress. You may have seen it in the newspaper or heard it on the radio. But tonight I’ve got a very simple thing to do, a mission, for a military man. I need to tell you who I am and I need, need to tell you why I’m running….

…So first off, who I am. I’m a native. I was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, I was schooled there, and generations of my family have lived there and still live there today. I’m a soldier and a veteran. For eleven years, I started off as a combat engineer getting trained up at Fort Leonard Wood, learning how to build stuff and then blow things up. Then I went to Iraq. I was a Green Beret, Special Forces and Ranger. And I had the opportunity to serve there with the finest men and women in uniform. I also had the opportunity to meet one of those women in uniform, which is my fiance, [inaudible][applause]. Baghdad is not where you expect you’re gonna meet your wife. [laughter]

I’m also an educator. My last assignment in the military was being a professor at the United States Military Academy. And now I teach up, up at what used to be UMR, before that the School of Mines, and it’s now the Missouri University of Science and Tech. I teach American government and politics. I teach the Constitution. I teach what the founders wanted Congress to do. Even though, when we watch the news, that’s not exactly what’s going on. It’s a tough challenge to teach that.

I’m a Democrat. It was one of those key things that I learned in the military. The Special Forces motto is de oppresso liber, which is “to free the oppressed”. And to look out and protect those that need the most protection. That to me is one of the core messages of the Democratic Party.

And finally, I was asked to do this. A couple years back I was at West Point and I got a call from some folks back home who asked me to leave the military, to leave the soldiers and the career that I loved, to come back here. And I looked and, and examined this race. I looked and examined the record. And I found out some stuff that I didn’t know. That we are one of the poorest districts in America. Tenth poorest. And if you’re a woman, you can do no worse. We’re ranked four thirty-five out of four thirty-five. That twenty-five percent of the kids live underneath the poverty line. That is unacceptable. And I knew then that I needed to come home and fight for my home.

As for why I’m running, we’ve got a very simple message. And I heard it tonight, I heard it two years ago, and I hear it everywhere I go as I travel around this district. It’s a simple statement. We can do better. [applause]

What do I mean by this? People tell me we can expect [inaudible] leadership. You all know what it means to be held accountable. You’re accountable to your family, to your business, to your church, to your employees and employers. In the military I lived accountability. I lived it every day. And I still remember my first company commander, I asked him, “Hey, sir, what am I accountable for here?” he said, “Hey LT, it’s simple, everything that your platoon does and everything that they fail to do.” That was accountability.

Now why should we expect anything different from our members of Congress and Jo Ann Emerson? In the last twelve years, in this district we’ve seen thousands of jobs lost. We’ve seen factories close down. We’ve seen homes foreclosed. But Congress, and Jo Ann Emerson, doesn’t want to be accountable for that

In the last twelve years we’ve watched the biggest surplus in history vanish and turn into the largest deficit in history. And Congress and Jo Ann Emerson do not want to be accountable for that. And now here we are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the great depression. Jo Ann Emerson had a seat at that table and instead of protecting us from Wall Street greed, she voted to bail them out. They want one more bailout for themselves. They want us to bail them out at the ballot box. Ladies and gentlemen, Jo Ann Emerson’s free ride ends now. [applause] The buck stops tonight.

You also talk in terms of better representation. Jo Ann Emerson wasn’t born here. She was born in D.C. She wasn’t raised here, she was raised in D.C. She wasn’t schooled here, she doesn’t live here. And fourteen months from now, in November of Twenty Ten when we beat her, she sure as heck isn’t moving back here. [laughter][applause]

We can do better. What can we do? We need a representative that is gonna fight for the small towns, the small communities, the small farms that populate this district. And not be funded by the big interests that fuel Jo Ann Emerson’s campaign. We’ve got some of the hardest working people in this district. I, I was raised with them, I know ’em, they’re in my blood. And they need someone who’s gonna fight for them. And fight for the level playing field and the key infrastructure that we need in order to compete. We can do better.

Now, I know I’m looking out over the loyal foot soldiers of the Democratic Party. You have seen many candidates come and try to take on this incredible machine. Now is the year.

What you’ve got in me is a fighter. I’ve been tossed in many situations where said, frankly, “You’re not getting through this.” And I know how to assemble the right team, get the right resources. We’ve got that team here. I’m getting advised by some of the, the greatest minds here. I can’t wait to, to pick these gentlemen’s brains. We’ve got and we’re assembling the resources so that we can have a fair fight. And over the next couple months you’re gonna see this campaign run.

We can do better. The final word is the key one. We. We. I need all of you. I need you on the team. I need your ideas. I need your passion. I need your resources. And it can start here tonight. If I haven’t met you tonight I want to meet you. Come up and introduce yourself to… we’ve got…he’ll sign you up tonight. We will build out the team that we need.

Talk to your friends. Let’s, let’s grow this party in this district. Let’s bring some of these folks back into the Democratic Party, the party that deserves to be representing this district. Join our team.

Now, this year, is the time. We can and we must do better.

Thank you very much. [applause]