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Jackson County Democratic Committee – Truman Days 2015

Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) spoke at the Jackson County Democratic Committee’s Truman Days dinner in Kansas City on Saturday night. He spoke about his campaign for the United States Senate  

The transcript:

Secretary of State Jason Kander (D): It is so good to be with you all, it is so good to be to be home in Jackson County. I appreciate the opportunity to be home and with so many of my friends here. This is so much a trip home for me, believe it or not, this is actually the room where I went to my Senior prom. [laughter]

No kidding. I married my date, by the way. So, it is fantastic to be with you here.

Before I get into talking a little bit about this race for the US Senate, there’s something else I wanted to do real quick.Next week in Jefferson City is a pretty important week, right? It’s the last week of session and we know that the other side is gonna try very hard to pass right to work, right? we know that. We know that we’ve stopped them in the past and we’re gonna stop them again. But let me tell you, make no mistake, they really, particularly on right to work, they believe that this is their year. They do. They believe that they’re gonna get it done and we’re not gonna let that happen. [applause]

It is wrong to try to take away people’s rights, as a way to take away their voice. I wanna do something real quick, if you’re a member of the state legislature, please stand up and stay standing. Everybody look around, go ahead and applaud. [applause]

Everybody look and figure out of the people standing right now, which one is closest to you, because when the program is over, I would ask you to go to these folks and thank them in advance for the work that they’re gonna do next week and I would ask you to give them a word of encouragement, because they’re on the front lines of this and they’re gonna stop this from happening. [applause]

Now, I wanna spend a few moments telling you why I’m running for the United States Senate and how I’m gonna win. You all know me, we’ve spent a lot of time together, you know my history, you know my background. So let me just talk a little bit about the mentality I take to this, the mentality I take to public service. Mike [Sanders] referenced what I did in the Army, referenced that I served in Afghanistan and that is where I come from on a lot of this stuff. Because when you’re in the Army, you don’t have the luxury of worrying about what assignment you’re given, or how difficult the job is, you just get it done, you just accomplish the mission. That, for me, is the mentality I’ve taken to public service.

As a State Representative, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to balance the budget each year without raising taxes. I took on both parties to pass the first campaign finance and ethics reforms in Missouri in over 20 years. I took our Human trafficking laws from some of the weakest to some of the strongest in the country.

As your Secretary of State, I slashed my own budget by over a million dollars while still providing more services than the office ever has before. I have cut red tape and fees to make sure that Missouri businesses could continue to hire and thrive. I’ve protected our right to vote and I brought tens of millions of dollars back to Missouri taxpayers when I took on the Wall Street firms that helped cause the 2008 Financial Crisis. [applause]

So I could have run for re-election and continued to work on those important issues. I didn’t have to run for the United States Senate. Heck, even the Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party said that I was a pretty safe bet for re-election. But, I was raised a certain way and I learned in the Army, that you don’t do what’s easy, you do what’s right. And Washington is completely broken right now. I believe I can be part of the solution to help fix it. [applause]

That’s why this election is gonna be about one very simple question: “Do you like how things are going in Washington right now?”


I, for one, am among the 85 percent of Americans who don’t approve of Congress and I intend to do something about it. Because the Senators there, they need to stop legislating by talking points. They need to quit playing political games with our national security. And they need to learn that because half of them are millionaires doesn’t mean that millionaires are the only people that they represent. [applause]

I’m not saying that the Senators out there are bad people. I’m just saying that too many of them have forgotten where they came from in the first place. When politicians have been in Washington for 10, 15, 20 years, and they’ve served in both the House and the Senate, Washington becomes their home. That’s where their friends are, that’s where their kids go to school, that’s where they build their lives. When you have a multi-million dollar mansion in Washington DC, i’m sure it could be hard to leave, right? and when you’ve taken over a 100 flights on corporate jets, you probably don’t get as excited as the rest of us do when you get offered both peanuts and pretzels on Southwest flights. [laughter]

I’m still very excited about that. So it’s pretty easy to see how so many members of Congress can completely lose touch with where it is that they came from in the first place, but that doesn’t make it right. Because we don’t send Senators to Washington so they could vote with their party nearly 90 percent of the time, we send them there to vote with Missouri 100 percent of the time. [applause]

We don’t send Senators to Washington so they can get rich, we send them there so they can fight to protect the ability of middle class Missourians to provide for their families and make ends meet. And We don’t send Senators to Washington so they can climb the leadership ladder of their political party as fast as possible. We send them there to take on their party bosses when they need to. That’s why we send them there. [applause]

We deserve an independent minded Senator who will stand up for Missouri every minute of every day. Senator Blunt has been in Washington so long that he just can’t do that anymore. Washington has become his home. Lobbyists and his political party have become his constituents. Folks, that doesn’t make him a bad person, but that doesn’t make him a good Senator either.

Senator Blunt votes with his party more than the average Republican and he misses more votes than the average Senator. And when he does bother to show up and vote, he doesn’t stand up for us here in Missouri, not at all. He’s just simply not the same person who was elected Greene County Clerk or Missouri Secretary of State any more. He has been representing Washington instead of Missouri for a long time now.

I wanna give you a just few examples of how poorly he has represented us so far this year. Keep in mind, it’s only May as you listen to this list.

He’s one of five Senators to vote against confirming the Secretary of Defense. He voted against funding the department of Homeland Security. He signed to that embarrassing letter to the Government of Iran that made it more likely that Iran would get a nuclear weapon. He voted against a Middle Class tax cut. He voted to end Medicare as we know it.

A couple of weeks ago, he suggested that the reason that some students have trouble with debt when they get out of school is not the loans themselves, it’s not tuition, it’s simply their lifestyle while they’re in college. He recently said that he was unclear on the scientific causes of climate change even though 97 percent of scientists say that they’re pretty sure that human beings probably have something to do with it.

So, instead of being a leader who pushes Congress to actually represent Missourians, he’s become a part of the problem, and he’s actually made Washington worse. So, you can see that the folks making decisions in DC right now, they’re not doing a good job. So, it is time for the next generation to step up and take the lead in shaping the direction of this nation and this state. And with your help, I’ll do that as your United States Senator. [applause]

I think that we need a Senator who thinks it’s wrong that somebody can work 40 hours a week and have to rely on food stamps to order to survive because the Minimum Wage isn’t a livable wage. We need a Senator who thinks it’s wrong that a woman can work the just same exact same job as a man and on average get paid 79 cents on the dollar for doing the same exact job. [applause]

And finally, we need a Senator who thinks it’s wrong to try and take away Medicare from our parents and our grandparents.

Folks, Roy Blunt isn’t that Senator. But with your help, I will be.

I’m running to be Missouri’s Senator. To stand up for the middle class, not millionaires, huge corporations, and lobbyists. I’m running to be a Senator who tells DC that compromise is a part of Democracy and not the enemy of it, and I’m running to be a Senator who leads by example, not one that becomes part of the problem. [applause]

I’m a fifth-generation Missourian and I promise you that I will never forget where I came from. And you have heard a lot of politicians say things like that, so let me finish my speech by offering you just a little bit of proof.

I actually went to college out in DC before my wife Diana joined me out there for law school. We graduated on a Sunday, and the next morning, we got in our jeep and we drove back to Missouri. We were so excited to move home to Kansas City that we drove straight through the night, 18 hours. So I can promise you that if elect me as Missouri’s next Senator, you’ll never lose me to Washington.

Thank you! [applause]