On Saturday afternoon Teresa Hensley, the Democratic Party nominee for Attorney General, spoke in Odessa, Missouri before a crowd of Lafayette County Democrats and organized labor at an event sponsored by Laborers’ Local 663.
Teresa Hensley (D): ….I do want to talk for just a minute about what the Attorney General’s office does. Because the Attorney General’s office truly is the top prosecutor of the State of Missouri, with over a hundred and eighty attorneys in that office. In the last sixty days the Attorney General’s office has handled besides consumer fraud and tax fraud, it handled four murder cases, two child abuse cases and a child endangerment case. All cases that I did as a prosecutor. So, for over twenty-four years I’ve been an attorney, practicing law. For fourteen years I was in private practice representing real people in real courtrooms. And then I became the Prosecutor in two thousand five. So as the Prosecutor in Cass County, Chris Koster was the Prosecutor there for ten years, he became a state senator, Governor Holden appointed me to take that position and I filled Chris’s two years that he had remaining. And I was elected in two thousand six and two thousand ten in what’s pretty much a Republican county at this point. I’m very proud of my service in Cass County. Uh, we had over twenty, we had twenty-one murder convictions over, in twenty-one cases. And I had over five hundred sexual assault, domestic violence, and child sex abuse convictions. Ninety-three of that over five hundred was just child sex abuse convictions.
Those are the types of cases that are he said, she said cases. They’re difficult for prosecutors to make because there’s very little evidence. But we were able to file those and make those over five hundred times.
I’m very proud of the work that I did with respect to those who are the most vulnerable in our state, and in our county, especially in Cass County, where I was on the Hope Haven board, the abuse shelter board, we had domestic violence, uh, task force, and we had a child abuse response task force. So, as Prosecutor I didn’t just sit in my office and prosecute folks. In fact, we had a lot of task forces. We had some prevention programs. I went out over five hundred times and talked about women’s safety, and keeping kids and teens safe in the real world, and doing merchant’s programs.
As Attorney General I will be that person who will roll up her sleeves and be ready on the first day to start talking about the tensions that we have around our state, about looking at best practices and how we can do things better and differently. That’s what I did with respect to child sex abuse convictions, that’s what I did with respect to sexual assault cases. It’s important that we have someone in the Attorney General’s office who’s actually practiced law, has actually been a prosecutor.
Let me talk about my opponent for just a moment. My opponent actually got in the primary almost two million dollars from David Humphreys. David Humphreys is that guy who would have us as right to work tomorrow if it were up to him. And so this is an important election. My opponent has been a law clerk and he’s been a law professor, but he’s never actually rolled up his sleeves and done any work. And in a public statement during the primary, this is a guy who said that as Attorney General he will work to undermine and overturn Roe versus Wade. This is a fellow who is really, really far right. And the good news for us is that as we go through the general [election] it will be impossible for him to bring himself back to the middle. He truly, truly believes his far right attitudes and ideology. And being a true believer, he’s not gonna work too hard in the middle because he believes he doesn’t have to.
And what that also means for us is that we can talk about the things that are important to us as Democrats. We all know that Planned Parenthood provides the health services, the reproductive health services to women that need to, to be there for those who can’t afford to do so otherwise.
And so this is an important office, it’s an important race. It’s an important year. Every year we say this election’s more important than any election. But truly, this election is. We know that right to work will be here if we don’t keep Democrats in office. We know that for a fact. We know that Planned Parenthood won’t be able to stand if we don’t keep Democrats in office.
So let me talk for just a minute longer about what we do know historically is that we have unions, we have collective bargaining because of blood, sweat, and tears of those who came before us. My dad is a retired Local 8 plumber, my brother is an Ironworker, my cousins, UAW. I grew up in a strong union household. My dad had a tremendous standard of living and his hard work was rewarded by having good pay, and benefits, and a pension. Those are things that we want to make sure are strong for our middle class. And we got collective bargaining by sometimes folks being brutally beat as they were in nineteen thirty-seven in, in Detroit at the Ford plant there when they went to unionize. We know that coal miners were gunned down in the nineteen twenties in West Virginia. We know that for a fact. We know how unions came about and that they had to, simply, fight their way here.
And so all we have to do is vote the right way. All that we have to do is make sure that our friends and our families aren’t voting for a Republican legislature. All we need to do is make sure that they’re voting for Democrats from the Governor’s office to the Attorney General’s office to the Secretary of State, and the Treasurer. We’ve got to get out and work for that. And so we don’t have to give blood, sweat and tears. We don’t have to risk our lives. We don’t have to be brutally beat to hold on to unions. All we have to do is make sure that we’re getting folks out to vote and that they’re voting for Democrats. And that we’re protecting those folks that we care about, our middle class, our children, and our seniors. Because it’s the Democratic Party who has protected that. [….] And so unions and Democrats have walked hand in hand year after year after year and all we have to do is make sure people get out to vote.
I want to be your next Attorney General. I would appreciate your support, your vote, and your help in getting us elected this year. Thank you for having me. [applause]