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Today, from Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D):

Jason Kander (D): Eight years ago I was here, at the Kansas City airport. I hugged my wife and parents, said good bye, and left on a journey that would change my life.

I’m Jason Kander and I was an Army intelligence officer at U.S. Central Command’s Intelligence Division. But they needed more soldiers in Afghanistan, so I volunteered to go. Today, I’m Missouri’s Secretary of State. But back then, in two thousand six, I was a soldier just trying to do my part.

The story really begins a lot earlier. My grandfather served in World War Two, and my great grandfather in World War One. They passed on to their children the belief that we all have a purpose, a calling. For my parents it was serving as juvenile probation officers. And at night dad worked as a police officer. They believed every young life had potential and even opened the doors of our home to kids from troubled families who needed a place to stay. Some of them stayed for years and became a part of our family.

For me, I learned my calling on nine eleven when I was in college. After the planes hit the towers I knew I had to do something and it led me to enlist.

In Afghanistan one of my duties was rooting out corruption at the highest levels of the Afghan government. That meant spending time off the base on the streets of Kabul, sometimes volunteering to be an extra gun in a convoy of unarmored SUVs.

I’ll never forget one day in Kabul when a group of children wanted to be my bodyguards and walk me home to the safety of my base. They thought if they were surrounding me the Taliban wouldn’t hurt me. I, of course, couldn’t let them do that, but their courage has inspired me ever since.

When I came home I was elected to the state legislature where I worked to root out corruption in state government, passing the first major ethics reform in twenty years. And I worked with representatives in both parties to help create jobs, eliminate wasteful spending, and balance the budget without raising taxes.

Then as Secretary of State I’ve continued my efforts to reform state government and ban special interest money in gifts to politicians. I’ve also worked with Democrats and Republicans to keep the addresses of domestic violence survivors confidential, to combat human trafficking in Missouri, to help businesses rebuild and stay in Ferguson, and to insure that every citizen can vote without fear of intimidation.

All of this is possible because in Missouri we’ve brought Democrats and republicans together to solve real problems. That’s not happening in Washington. For years, even with our economy suffering at home and our national security threatened abroad too many politicians in both political parties have been more concerned with scoring political points than doing what’s right for our country. And it’s hurt all of us.

It’s why I decided to run for the United States Senate. And I hope you’ll join this campaign.

Missouri has a senator who’s been in Washington for nearly twenty years and has been running for one political office or another for over forty years. For too long he’s been a part of the problem, voting to shut down the Senate, block economic progress, block good ideas just because they come from someone in the other party.

We can’t change Washington if we don’t change the people we send there. I believe it’s time for a new generation of leaders who have come of age at a time of unprecedented challenges and threats to our country and who are committed to bringing people together and doing what’s right no matter what the personal cost.

I’ve learned so much from my family, from my grandfather’s service, to my parents’ generosity and love for others. Now, my wife, Diana, and I have a young son. When I look at him I think back to those brave young children in Kabul who reached out and wanted to surround me with friendship and see me safely home. Washington can learn from their example. And when I’m in the Senate they will.

Thank you. God bless Missouri and God bless our country.

VoteVets, a PAC, wasted no time in endorsing Jason Kander:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEB 19 2015

[….]

VOTEVETS PAC BACKS KANDER FOR SENATE

“From fighting terrorists to fighting corrupting special interests, Jason’s commitment to service would be a breath of fresh air, in the Senate. There is no doubt that Jason Kander will immediately take on Washington’s broken ways.”

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On behalf of its over 400,000 supporters, a national veterans organization, VoteVets.org PAC, is today announcing its endorsement of Secretary of State Jason Kander for US Senate. Kander announced his candidacy, earlier today.  

“Jason’s service to our nation in uniform is only rivaled by his service to Missouri, and his commitment to making government work, against great odds,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of VoteVets.org PAC.  “His election to the Senate would immediately signal to Washington that Missouri wants government that works for them.  From fighting terrorists to fighting corrupting special interests, Jason’s commitment to service would be a breath of fresh air, in the Senate.  There is no doubt that Jason Kander will immediately take on Washington’s broken ways.”

According to his biography, Kander is a fifth-generation Missourian, husband, father, and former Army Captain who served in Afghanistan.  His parents were both juvenile probation officers, with his dad working as a police officer at night. They taught him right from wrong and to always fight for what he believes in no matter what. The values instilled in him by his parents are why he felt a calling to military service following 9/11.  

Jason served as a military intelligence officer in Afghanistan, investigating groups and individuals suspected of corruption, espionage, drug trafficking, and facilitating Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Jason’s commanders described him as an “outstanding leader” and the Afghan Intelligence Watch Commander said Jason’s “hard work directly resulted in arresting enemies and saving lives.”

As a state legislator who represented Jackson County, Jason took on both parties to pass the first major ethics reform in almost 20 years. He also helped turn Missouri’s once weak human trafficking laws into among the country’s strongest.

Jason won election to Secretary of State in 2012.  As Missouri’s Secretary of State, Jason cut his own budget by over $1 million, while providing more services than the office ever has before. He cut red tape and fees to help small businesses hire and thrive, protected our right to vote, and got tens of millions of dollars for Missouri taxpayers when he took on the Wall Street firms that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis. And he’s led the fight to clean up Missouri’s worst-in-the-nation campaign finance and ethics laws.

Founded in 2006, the mission of VoteVets.org Political Action Committee is to elect Veterans to public office, with a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and hold public officials accountable for their words and actions that impact America’s 21st century troops and veterans. Though VoteVets.org PAC is non-partisan, candidates it backs must support VoteVets.org’s core mission and beliefs.  Since its inception, in 2006, VoteVets PAC has raised about $250,000 for its endorsed candidates.

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