Cass County Democrats 2012 Back to Blue Dinner: Susan Montee (D) (April 30, 2012)
“…We have lost sight that a strong middle class is a strong America. And that we must begin protecting and fighting for the middle class every day with everyone that we talk to. We must have an economy that is for everyone, not an economy of greed. Our current economy is serving only the very elite, the very wealthy, the billionaires. And the House Republicans and Vicky Hartzler want to give them more. And then on top of that, they’re not shy about it. They’re not hanging their head, they’re not sad, they’re not worried, they’re not ashamed…”
Cass County Prosecutor and candidate in the 4th Congressional District Teresa Hensley (D) at
the Cass County Democratic Central Committee back to Blue Dinner in Belton, Missouri on April 28, 2012.
On Saturday night the Cass County Democratic Central Committee hosted their annual back to Blue Dinner in Belton, Missouri. Cass County Prosecutor and candidate in the 4th Congressional District Teresa Hensley (D) was one of the featured speakers:
Teresa Hensley (D), Cass County Prosecutor and candidate for the 4th Congressional District: ….I got the opportunity today to be in Jeff City at a women’s rally, in fact, there’s several of us that were there today. It was a tremendous rally, to have women there prepared to, uh, be strong and stand strong and walk to the Capitol to fight for what is right for women…
…And we have locally a woman who is running for office that is intelligent and strong and a fighter. And I wanted to make sure that we are locally giving as much help and as much support to Patty Lear Johnson. So, if you’ll give her a round of applause. [applause]
You know, we have been working really hard and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee actually noticed. Uh, we were in the Washington Post this week as one of the, on the emerging list as one of the races to watch, uh, throughout the country. And so they noticed that we have been working hard and that’s a tremendous thing, we’re very proud of that. [applause]
But, you know, we’re gonna have to continue to work and then work harder. Uh, the D triple C did notice because in the first quarter we raised two hundred and fifty thousand dollar. We raised over a hundred thousand dollars more than my opponent. And so, again, that’s an important thing when you consider that fifty-five percent of that two hundred and fifty thousand dollars came from folks who gave me two hundred dollars or less. Two hundred dollars or less. I’m not getting my money from millionaires. I’m not getting my money from billionaires. I’m getting my money from people who think just like we do. They understand what’s important. And so to be able to continue to do that is gonna take a lot of work. We’re gonna have to raise two million dollars and two million dollars is not an easy thing. So when you miss me at the Forty Club, ’cause you will, and when you miss me at the local Democratic meeting I apologize for that. But I intend to get out in to the twenty-four counties.
But this is going to be a tough race, there is no doubt about it. But the good news for us is that we’re not only willing to work hard, but it’s a very new district. It’s a very different district than in two thousand and ten. Tonight you’re all sitting or standing in what is part of the new district. Belton and Raymore were in Congressman [Emanuel] Cleaver’s district. And as part of that, think about this for a minute, Vicky Hartzler’s name has never been on that ballot. Never been on than ballot. But mine has for the past ten years. [voice: “Amen.”] And I will stand by my record any day for that past ten years. [applause][cheers] Along with that, Boone County is a new county in this district. And Boone County alone makes up, out of twenty-four counties, Boone County twenty-four percent of this district. They are a forth of this district. Her name’s never been on that ballot. And so the new district creates almost forty percent of a ballot that Vicky Hartzler’s name’s never been on. We can win this race with hard work. [applause]
And we’re not afraid of hard work. It’s been going on eight years, believe it or not, [Attorney general] Chris [Koster]. Eight years in the prosecutor’s office that I’ve been there. And in that time I think I’ve successfully gone after child abusers, DWIs, murderers, but most importantly to me, was the priority domestic violence cases. I’ve been on the board of Hope Haven, as has Chris [Koster], as has Patty [Lear Johnson] who was our president not too long ago, as had Doug Catron. Hope Haven in Cass County has been a really important part, it’s the abuse shelter in Harrisonville, a really important part of the law enforcement, uh, in this county. We meet monthly as a domestic violence coalition. We bring law enforcement together and we make sure that idea of Hope Haven, domestic violence, that victims are cared for and that they are, it is always, uh, a priority throughout the whole county that we are taking care of victims. But what I’m really proud of is that in two thousand and ten the Attorney General, Chris Koster, awarded me the two thousand and ten Domestic Violence Protection Award and I thank you very much for that Attorny General [applause], very kind of you. Something I’m very, very proud of.
I believe I have the background and the experience to fight for Missouri families. We’ve made tough decisions in the prosecutor’s office and we’ve made just decisions. And that’s exactly what I hope to take to Congress, is that ability to make just decisions.
Last week the House Republicans and Vicky Hartzler passed again, the Paul Ryan budget. [voices: “Boo.”] Thank you. Deserves a bigger boo than that. [laughter] A couple of weeks ago in Johnson County Congressman [Emanuel] Cleaver called it menacingly mean. And I want to quote here for minute because, obviously, while I can’t do it as well as he did two weeks ago. I think it should be repeated. He said, a budget is a statement of who we are. It says what we believe. It says we are a nation that is mean, this budget. That’s not who we are. We are better than that. We are much better than that. This budget gives trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the very wealthy while at the same time continuing to do away with Medicare, to cut programs that support children, and aging and the poor. You know, some might say that it solves a problem and I would say that it does solve a problem. You know, if your problem is that the poor have too much and the rich have too little it solves that problem just fine. And so, as we watch what this budget does and as we watch as the very wealthy continue to get tax breaks we have to ask really what is our moral, uh, judgment, what is our moral compass.
I mean, I want to talk about for a minute, who are these billionaires that we keep hearing about. Because, you know, they’re not anyone I know and I guess they’re nobody you know. Because if there’s any of you who know a billionaire would you see me afterwards, I’ve got a campaign to run [laughter] and I need some money. But I want you to, to put in perspective a minute, for a minute, what a millionaire is and what a billionaire is so when you hear them talking about these very wealthy people who are getting tax breaks you understand who they are. You know, a millionaire, if he ta
lks all of his million and he puts it in hundred dollar bills he can fill a grocery sack, just a paper sack and carry that million dollars around with him, just one grocery sack. But a billionaire, if he puts all of his billion in a hundred dollar bills it’s ten pallets at the Federal Reserve. That’s a lot of money. That’s folks we don’t even understand. We have lost sight that a strong middle class is a strong America. And that we must begin protecting and fighting for the middle class every day with everyone that we talk to. We must have an economy that is for everyone, not an economy of greed. Our current economy is serving only the very elite, the very wealthy, the billionaires. And the House Republicans and Vicky Hartzler want to give them more. And then on top of that, they’re not shy about it. They’re not hanging their head, they’re not sad, they’re not worried, they’re not ashamed. In fact, they’re proud of it. They tout it that they are the party that will give the tax breaks because it will create jobs but we have historically seen that doesn’t happen. As they get more tax breaks they take those jobs overseas. They continue to outsource those very jobs that are needed here locally.
I’ve told this story many times, but I think tonight it’s worth telling again because I think it demonstrates really why we’re all here and why I’m running for Congress. My father was a plumber. My father got up every day and he went to work outside whether it was ten below or it was a hundred and ten degrees outside. And I learned to work hard from my father. He didn’t miss a day that I can ever remember. My brother’s an ironworker he also goes to work every day outside. But my brother makes the same pay my dad did in nineteen seventy-four, thirty eight years ago. There’s not been a change in my brother’s salary. But, let’s think about the costs of living from that same period of time. My dad, in nineteen seventy-four, actually, about nineteen seventy, built a house that he paid nineteen thousand dollars for. He built it himself. And it cost him nineteen thousand dollars. My brother recently built a house. It cost him a hundred and ninety thousand dollars. My dad put gas in his car in nineteen seventy-four at fifty cents a gallon. My brother puts gas in his car at three dollars and fifty cents a gallon. The difference in the cost of living and the difference in the salary of folks now is just unconscionable.
When our policies or the policies of our nation don’t go with our beliefs we know what that means to stand up and fight for those. But it’s not enough for us to be here and fight. We must continue to tell our neighbors and our friends and our cousins who are listening to Fox News what really is at stake. You know, we believe in the basic protections. It’s not our goal to have the cheapest workforce. It’s not who we are, it’s not our American values. America has always been the race to the top, but we seem to kind of be the race to the bottom right now. We must start seeking increased salaries and increased buying power. We know that it is necessary to work together for us to achieve that and we’re not seeing that. Congress is broken. Those folks don’t want to get along with anybody, they’ve already said so. In fact, it’s going to be public, how much they have made pacts that if Obama said night they would say day. They don’t have any intention of working together, of coming to the table, of solving problems. You know, that’s what we do in the prosecutor’s office, that’s what the Attorney General does in the Attorney General’s office, is that we bring people together, we have to solve problems, we have to seek solutions. We’re not seeing that in Congress.
Democracy is about Americans caring about each other. Democracy involves protecting everyone at a level playing field. We must get back to our American values. We can do that this year. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. But I intend to work hard and I hope you’ll join me in doing that hard work. I appreciate you very much having me tonight. This is good to be home. [applause][cheers]