Former State Auditor and current Missouri Democratic Party Chair Susan Montee was the keynote speaker at the annual Cass County Democratic Committee “Back to Blue” dinner in Belton on April 30th.
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Susan Montee spoke at the Cass County Democratic Committee “Back to Blue” dinner in Belton on Saturday night.
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Susan Montee ….We now are faced with needing to do something differently. Now, I’m a big proponent of the idea of the self-sustaining party, but it, it wasn’t my idea. It came about after our election in two thousand and four, where we narrowly lost the governor’s election. Um, and it was largely due to the fact that [presidential candidate] John Kerry pulled out of our state with three weeks left. And we had no infrastructure in place to do anything about it and to get our votes out. And at that point we said, never again, we don’t want this to happen to us again. We have to have a party that is active and able to get a message out and to get people out and, and we can’t be reliant on these outside forces.
We actually came up with a plan, we were going down a path, but a couple of wonderful things happened to us. Uh, Claire McCaskill decided to run for the Senate in two thousand and six and a ton of money came into the state so we didn’t need that plan. Uh, two thousand and eight, uh, the Obama campaign dumped a ton of money into the state, was the narrowest, uh, margin in the country, tried everything, we had all this money, things were great, we didn’t have to get our plan in place. In twenty-ten when there was no money coming into the state from the federal and we had never activated our party structure we found out what it’s like if we don’t get our votes out…
…And don’t let anybody tell you that, oh, well, it was the tide, all the independents that had voted Democratic voted Republican. ‘Cause while you can see some of those things happening on the federal issues and maybe in the federal races that was not what happened to us in our state races and our local races. ‘Cause what happened to us here is our Democrats did not turn out. And I know that. I looked at it. I looked at my numbers from oh-six and ten and I can tell you. I, I can even tell you by county by county. We can go to St. Louis County which is the largest blocks of folks in the state. In two thousand and six the republican candidate had a hundred and sixty thousand votes. In two thousand and ten the Republican candidate against me had a hundred and fifty-nine thousand votes. And less votes. But I was missing thirty-five thousand votes. So, the margins that we lost were our Democrats not coming home. Believe me, the independents didn’t shift in my race. It wasn’t the Republicans that stayed home in St. Louis County. We know what it was.
The good news about that, another one of those opportunities, is we don’t have to change anybody’s mind. We have to just get our people to get out. And the way that we do that is we talk about issues, and we tell people what means to be a Democrat, and we make sure that people understand the consequences of not voting or not voting right.
And, so what we’re gonna do at the Democratic Party is, we are going to be the place where all of the ideas filter through so people can get information about what’s going on. And so people know what it means to be a Democrat in this state. And what that means for all of our candidates is they should be a reflection of the values that we have put together. It isn’t that the party is there to reflect the values of any of our candidates, it’s the other way around. So, we are going to be talking all the things that are important and all of those candidates. They just need to get in line with us and we will be supportive of them.
Now, I just want to say a little bit about our elected officials and candidates and this whole big concept. Because, not all of our elected or our candidates are gonna agree with me or with all of you on every single issue. And, we are a really big tent and so, we know that that’s the case. And that’s okay. We want our elected officials to be smart, independent thinkers. I mean, I’m glad that they disagree with me sometimes. Okay, I am not glad that they disagree. [laughter] I respect that they disagree with me sometimes. Um, and so I just want to say that because sometimes internally when we’re upset we go, gosh, this person isn’t a good Democrat or this person isn’t doing the thing, but, believe me, we all need to work very, very hard for all of those Democrats this year, to get them reelected, because I have seen the alternative. And all of you guys have seen the alternative. And I see it every day in Jefferson City.
And the alternative that we’re talking about is people that don’t have any, don’t give any value to education in this state. They’re the people that would turn away our federal unemployment dollars to another state and say, hey, unemployed, just get a job. At the same time they’re not offering anything that would create any kind of jobs, unless, of course, you’re talking about doing away with child labor laws. [jeers] At the same time, for those people who are fortunate enough to have a job, they’re saying, hey, it’s okay, we’re gonna let them discriminate against you in the workplace, we’re gonna take away your ability to collectively bargain and, and have your rights, we are gonna cut your minimum wage. So, good thing you have a job, because it’s not gonna be worth anything. That’s the alternative that we are not going to be able to live with. And so, I’m not gonna live with it. I know you guys aren’t and that’s why we’re gonna get out and work a lot, lot harder this year [applause] then we did last time….