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Previously: Paul LeVota (D): a candidate for the 11th Senate District in 2012 (May 16, 2011)

This evening in Independence former state representative and House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D) held a kickoff event for his 2012 11th Senate District campaign.

Former state representative and House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D) speaking at his state senate campaign kickoff event in Independence.

The transcript of Paul LeVota’s remarks:

Paul LeVota (D): [applause] …Thank you for being here. I appreciate it. I do have some prepared speech because I really want to set out the question, what am I doing here? And tonight, um, I am officially launching my campaign for state senate to represent you, the people of Eastern Jackson County.[applause]

Since two thousand and three we have been honorably and effectively served by our State Senator Victor Callahan. And due to term limits he will be leaving this position at the end of two thousand and twelve. This is a loss for our community because now more then ever we need strong public officials.

But, the election for the next senator is almost a year a way. And now is the time to begin talking about who can best fill that position. And I am running for this office because we need a strong Democratic State Senator who will stand up for common sense accountability. I know I’m the right person at the right time for this job. My past experience as House Democratic Leader, my commitment to the people of this community, and my profound belief that public officials must be accountable to the people they serve is what lead me to seek this position.

I learned a great deal in Jefferson City. I’ve seen when the legislature has worked and when it didn’t work. And I think it’s clear that we need a better legislature. It is [voice: “Amen.”] become, the state capitol, a profit center for special interest run by a super majority Republican Party who seem to have forgotten about the middle class. Now it can work again when we in state government deal with issues from a common sense approach. Issues are too compartmentalized in Jefferson City. We need leaders who know that issues are interrelated…

…For example, over the past decade I’ve championed the cause of public education, a strong public system that builds our state. [applause] Now, of course you’ve heard [applause], you’ve heard a lot of politicians say they care about public education, but unfortunately we’re going in the wrong direction. Lack of proper support for our schools immediately hurts our kids but it also hurts our ability to build a state ready to create new industry. We know that strong schools in a strong community can create jobs. We’ve done that right here in this district. Your state government should be accountable to understand that issues like public education and jobs are related.

As state senator I will remember that we need good schools, roads, and services for businesses create jobs. We need a balanced approach to our budget and how we provide that support. The Senate is the place in state government to stand up against shortsighted politically motivated legislation that may grab a headline but harms our future.

Businesses cannot grow jobs when there aren’t qualified workers. We cannot train workers when we continually make a college education unaffordable for Missouri families. Businesses cannot grow jobs when roads and other infrastructure are crumbling around them. We cannot improve transportation when we continually ignoring the funding needs of our state. And small business cannot grow jobs when we continually foolishly waste our money on tax credits for huge out of state corporations. [voice: “Uh hmm.”]

When you look across this country and right here in Missouri we also have a specific and deliberative attack on labor and a total disregard for the great work that has done in protecting workers from exploitation, enforcing the great ideal of collective bargaining, and in representing people to achieve fair wages for their work. With this attack on labor it is mow more important than ever to have a senator that truly believes in the labor movement and is eager to fight for labor’s goals. [voice: “Yeah.”][applause]

From my experience I know the Senate is the place in state government to focus on discussion, reasoning and judgment, where issues are weighed and examined with a different type of scrutiny. As Phil mentioned the House of Representatives has a hundred sixty-three members but the State Senate only has thirty-four senators. More than ever we need a strong Democratic state senator who can make our state government accountable to solutions that will help build the middle class instead of the special interests.

It is crucial that our next state senator has the real knowledge, strong persistence and the right temperament to be successful. I have shown my willingness to compromise across party lines to accomplish a goal along with the strength to give ’em hell the only way a person, a Democrat from Independence can. [voice: “Yeah.”][applause]

During my time in the legislature I aggressively worked to increase constituent outreach through community meetings and social media because being in touch is the way to succeed.

And just briefly, to tell you about the 11th District, it is a very diverse district. It encompasses the majority of the City of Independence where I’ve lived my whole life but also has the cities of Raytown, Sugar Creek, parts of Kansas City, and even has Arrowhead and Kaufman Stadiums in the district. So someone that may live by the Truman Sports Complex may be different from someone who lives in a more conservative area may have different issues, but I can be the Senator that can [inaudible] to the diversity of this district. And as your State Senator, I will always be looking for new ways to communicate because that’s how problems are solved. We must believe in each other. And we must all be accountable to this idea.

I am very proud of my service to this community, but we have a lot of work to do. And I have been blessed by a large family and many supporters who’ve supported what we’re doing. So tonight I’m asking you for even more help. Because running for a state senate seat is a large undertaking. It will take a lot of time, energy and money to run a successful campaign. I understand that, so I’m asking you to help me. And I’m asking you to give me your time, energy, and money to be successful. ‘Cause I’m here to tell you, we are running to win this campaign. [applause]

Over the next thirteen months the people of the district will have the opportunity to look at the commitment, the experience, and the solutions I bring to this position. And I am confident at the end of this campaign that they will agree with us and I will be your next state senator.

So, one thing to remember, I’ve always, I have been involved with politics as an elected position for twenty-five years since I first was on the Jackson County Democratic Committee. And in these years I have learned that there are actually people who oppose common sense accountability in our government and that these opponents will do anything to stop our efforts. Detractors should be aware that this campaign will be prepared to stop any negative tactics by clearly communicating the truth to the voters of Eastern Jackson County.

So, I know, I’m confident, that with your help we will be a great example. With your help we’ll be successful, we’ll build on the past and we will be the example campaign that will bring common sense accountability into our state government.

So I thank you very much for being here tonight. I thank you very much for standing with me.
I’ll be calling on you in the future. We have a long year ahead of us, I know you’ll be there with me. I thank you very much. And remember, vote LeVota. [applause]