Representative Bill Otto Announces Campaign For Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District

Bill Otto, a two–term State Representative (D-70th District), three-term Bridgeton councilman, Navy veteran, and retired air traffic controller, announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.

Otto launched his campaign this morning with a video announcement found at billotto.org/announcement.

Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Claire McCaskill, and Secretary of State Jason Kander carried this swing district in 2012.  This district includes portions of St. Louis and St. Charles counties, and is currently represented by Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R).  As a state representative from this area, every day Bill Otto fights for the clean-up of the burning nuclear waste in the Bridgeton landfill, an out of control situation that has greatly impacted the citizens of the 2nd District.

Otto believes that American is full of promise for those who reach for it.  When he was 15-years old, his mother died and the state placed Bill in a boys’ home.  On his 17th birthday he aged out of the state care system and found himself on the street – no family, no place to go, a homeless teen.

“It was a tough start, but with the encouragement and support from some amazing teachers and mentors, I attended college,” said Otto.  “Later I joined the Navy where I served for seven years and learned a profession that would last a lifetime.”

As a state legislator, Otto fights every day for issues that matter to the hard working men and women he represents: defending the rights of citizens who live around the burning radioactive landfill, ensuring workers’ rights, making sure veterans get the respect and benefits they deserve, and protecting the American Dream for families, a dream that is being severely eroded.

“Congresswoman Wagner has simply dropped the ball in representing us,” Otto continued.  “We need a representative who understands our needs and puts us ahead of their personal political ambitions, a person who is more concerned about the people of our District than their political party, a person who can truly work across the aisle, make the hard decisions, and then is willing to come home to explain their actions.

“The working men and women of this District deserve better representation in Washington, and I will work day and night to give them just that,” Otto emphasized.

 

Paid for by Bill Otto for Congress, Harvey Ferdman, Treasurer

Maryland Heights, MO (May 26, 2015)

MO Legislative Session Ends in Chaos-Can’t List All That Was Wrong

With the General Assembly adjourned for almost a week now, we the citizens have had time to reflect on how the Legislature has failed to invest in everyday Missourians. The consensus among analysts appears clear: brinkmanship, pandering, and scandals have resulted in a “House of Cards” themed soap opera where ruthless politicians conspire and ordinary people ultimately lose. This negative assessment comes directly after the Republican Party has assumed an unprecedented super-majority in both chambers. Rather than sticking to campaign platitudes of “limited government,” Republican leaders abandoned their principles as soon as they were no longer expedient. Pushing a Right-to-Work bill through the Senate, which even Republicans describe as government interference in employer-employee relations, certain Republican senators pulled out every hollow excuse handed to them by wealthy, out-of-state interests groups to distract attention from their hypocritical actions before silencing bipartisan opposition. In this “do only harm” session, the extremist wing in the Legislature also failed to expand Medicaid, and slashed the budget for roads while leaving schools woefully underfunded. Because of unrestrained money and charades, Missourians have seen the moral bankruptcy of the majority party. In January, we lost Tom Schweich, a decorated public servant, to suicide after fellow Republicans waged an intense mudslinging campaign against him. Republican Speaker of the House John Diehl stepped down just last week after an investigation revealed his improper relationship with a 19 year old intern.  All the while, the real corruption scandal between lobbyists, politicians and unlimited gifts continues undisturbed. The people’s interests will never be realized so long as legislators live in a bubble where interest groups stumble over each other to dole out free meals. Indeed, it certainly makes it easier to kick children off the social safety net on a full stomach. We the people must work to make sure this embarrassing last session in Jefferson City is not eclipsed next year. While elections to bring change to the Legislature are over a year away, we must act now to hold legislators accountable for their words and actions by advocating commonsense values shared by all Missourians.

facepalm

Director of Elections Remarks Demonstrate Lack of Understand & Poor Management Skills

When Rich Chrismer declared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch “…state law doesn’t require curbside voting for disabled people but that his office offers it routinely as a courtesy,” he must have been reading from his own personal rule book again.

Curbside voting is not just a matter of courtesy.  It is required by the State of Missouri.

The publication, MISSOURI ELECTION LAWS, issued by the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, includes Chapter 115 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri and states: 

RSMo 115.436. “Physically disabled may vote at polling place, procedure.—1.  In jurisdictions using paper ballots and electronic voting systems, when any physically disabled voter within two hundred feet of a polling place is unable to enter the polling place, two election judges, one of each major political party, shall take a ballot, equipment and materials necessary for voting to the voter. The voter shall mark the ballot, and the election judges shall place the ballot in an envelope, seal it and place it in the ballot box.”[Note, also:  Sections 2. and 3. for additional information.]Mr. Chrismer goes on to confirm that a disabled voter…was told curbside voting wasn’t available…because of a staff shortage…two election workers had called in sick.

As a Program Specialist for the Saint Charles County Election Authority, I know Stand-by Election Judges are assigned for each election.

  • Two (2) Stand-by Election Judges could have been called to replace the missing election judges at Deer Run Library.

All Election Authority Staff reported to the Election Authority Office for work at 5:00 a.m. on April 8, 2014 for Election Day.

  • Two (2) Election Authority Staff members could have been sent to accommodate the curbside voter.

How many other polling places were insufficiently staffed?  How many other voters were turned away?

There are no acceptable excuses for a five (5) hour wait and disrespectful comments regarding a disabled voter.

The St. Charles County Election Authority has a duty and responsibility to serve the public.  Director Rich Chrismer receives a failing mark for this election.

Kathryn (Kate) Runyan, Retired Teacher                                                                           Democratic Candidate for Director of ElectionsFiling for Elections

SB509 Hurts St. Charles County Students

Gov. Nixon issues statement on data showing the impact of Senate Bill 509 on funding for local public schools
 
Senate Bill 509 would drain $620 million annually from public education and other priorities.
 
Jefferson City – Gov. Jay Nixon today issued the following statement regarding data requested by theMissouri School Boards Association showing the impact Senate Bill 509 would have on local school districts across the state. 
 
“These new numbers show that if the legislature succeeds in punching a $620 million hole in our state budget with this unaffordable giveaway to special interests, it’s our students and schools who will pay the price,”Gov. Nixon said. “Senate Bill 509 would drain hundreds of millions of dollars annually out of our K-12 schools — weakening our economy, undermining our stable business climate, and putting full funding of the foundation formula out of reach. Missourians want good schools and good jobs, not another dangerous scheme to defund our K-12 classrooms.”
 
According to the fiscal estimate produced by the legislature, Senate Bill 509 would reduce state revenues by more than $620 million annually when fully implemented.  K-12 education is heavily dependent on general revenue, so public schools are affected disproportionately by measures that reduce the general revenue budget, such as Senate Bill 509. 
 
“Missouri already has the sixth lowest taxes in the nation and even the conservative Tax Foundation has slammed these ill-conceived gimmicks for failing to create jobs or generate economic growth,” Gov. Nixonsaid. “For our state to succeed in today’s high-tech global economy, we need to our students to be prepared to compete worldwide. But instead of investing in public education, this legislature has chosen to funnel money away from our classrooms and into the pockets of lawyers and lobbyists who need it the least.  The choice facing members of the legislature has never been clearer: they can support Senate Bill 509 or they can support public schools, but they cannot do both.”
 
Senate Bill 509 includes a 25 percent tax deduction for so-called “business-income.”  This type of income is often reported by wealthier individuals, such as lawyers and lobbyists, with LLCs or corporate partnerships.  In February, the right-leaning Tax Foundation wrote that “special carve-outs like this simply encourage individuals to structure themselves as pass-through entities for tax reasons, even if there is no economic or business reason for doing so.” 
 
Instead of the unaffordable approach taken by Senate Bill 509, Gov. Nixon has laid out a proposal to fully fund the K-12 foundation formula and give working families a responsible tax cut by reining in wasteful tax credit expenditures.
 
Over the coming days, the Governor said his administration would continue to review the bill to identify any additional unintended consequences or drafting errors.
 
A link to the breakdown of district funding levels if Senate Bill 509 becomes law is available here.  The data was generated using the same methodology used by education groups in assessing the impact of House Bill 253 last year.

Beyond the Rhetoric: An Explanation of Francis Howell’s Situation

In order to develop an informed opinion on the impending transfer of Normandy students to Francis Howell, one needs to look at the full set of facts.

For decades, students of unaccredited districts have been allowed to transfer to any school in their county or adjoining county. Before 1993, though, the law also said: “but no school or school district shall be required to admit any pupil.” In the massive rewrite of education law in 1993, those words were left out. Twice in the past three years, the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled state law does not allow an accredited school district such as Francis Howell to block the transfer of a student from an adjoining unaccredited district such as Normandy.

In 2011, Rep. Margo McNeil (D-Hazelwood) sponsored a bill, House Bill 514, to reintroduce the original wording back into state law. Even though Republican Rep. Rick Stream, a former member of the Kirkwood school board, joined McNeil’s efforts as a co-sponsor, the bill never received a hearing in the Republican-led legislature. Despite repetitive warnings from many sources over the following two years, St. Charles County Republican legislators stood by and let the courts decide our fate. Why? Republican leadership has an agenda shaped by billionaire Rex Sinquefield who has donated more money to political candidates than any other Missourian in history. Since moving students to other districts bolsters Sinquefield’s demand for vouchers for private schools, Republicans have embraced the court decision. (Sinquefield is a former member of the St. Louis Archdiocese’s finance committee.)

Now, St. Charles County Republicans like Rep. Mark Parkinson are attempting to rewrite history by acting surprised their own legislative inaction followed its natural course to a predictable – and problematic – conclusion: transfers being bused to Francis Howell. This is especially infuriating when five of them are on the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and have sat idly by for years.

The Democratic Central Committee of St. Charles County is opposed to busing students from any district without the approval of the elected board of the receiving district. We believe the Missouri Supreme Court erred in overturning a decades old tradition of the right of refusal of transfer students, and we will support any action taken by Francis Howell to correct this intrusion into the authority of individual school districts.

However the legal action turns out, we recognize all children matter. Our objections are not born of intolerance or prejudice, simply a commitment to local control of schools and a deeply held belief that temporary half-solutions are not the educational fix struggling communities need. We will not join the chorus of anger from a vocal minority or say derisive words, as one of our legislators has. In the end, we will embrace whatever the ultimate decision is and help make it succeed for the sake of all God’s children.

St. Charles, Mo. – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 17, 2013 Press Release from Chairman Morton Todd

General Assembly Republicans Put Rigid Ideology ahead of Fiscal Responsibility, Economic Growth and Missourians’Health Care

 

St. Charles, Mo. – As the General Assembly’s 2013 regular legislative session concluded Friday evening, the St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee voiced disappointment in the radically partisan priorities of the county’s Republican legislators.

 

“In 18 weeks in Jefferson City, Republican supermajorities defined their idea of thoughtful legislation by approving bills that were fiscally irresponsible, blatantly unconstitutional and totally inexplicable,” said Committee Chair Morton Todd. “The only people who came out ahead were the Republicans’ biggest donors.”

 

Moreover, Republicans repeatedly refused to consider the state’s best and easiest way to grow the economy: expanding Medicaid in order to return Missouri tax dollars to Missouri, generate $9.6 billion in new economic activity and provide health coverage to 300,000 additional Missourians.

 

“Despite more than 60 state and local business groups, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the St. Charles County Economic Development Center, endorsing Gov. Nixon’s plan to strengthen Medicaid, the Republican supermajorities put politics first and repeatedly blocked this middle-of-the-road measure,” said Todd. “But what’s worse is that Republicans’ inaction directly leads to lower quality health care by removing $4 billion from hospitals’ bottom lines.”

 

The St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee represents the Missouri Democratic Party in St. Charles County and performs functions as required by the laws of the State of Missouri, the Charter and By-Laws of the Democratic Party of the United States, and the Constitution and By-Laws of the Missouri Democratic Party.

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Let’s Turn Their DOR/CCW Privacy Meeting into an Expand Medicaid Rally

Missouri has the chance to expand Medicaid to cover 260,000 working people.

However, Monday night the Missouri State Senate voted against putting Medicaid Expansion in the budget.

The key committee in the Senate to get Medicaid going again is the Appropriations Committee. Thankfully, they are kind enough to be traveling to O’Fallon this Saturday, to talk about driver’s licenses and gun ownership. We need to take this opportunity to have a different conversation with them, one about saving lives, creating jobs and passing Medicaid Expansion.

JOIN US!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 9:15 AM
Christian High School Commons Area,
1145 Tom Ginnever Ave., O’Fallon, MO 63366

All you have to do is meet us at the school at 9:15 and we’ll have everything you need.mmc_logo1

You will find out what this public forum is all about here at the MO NRA website http://www.nraila.org/legislation/state-legislation/2013/4/missouri-right-to-carry-permit-privacy-update.aspx

But we’re tired of them diverting attention away from what’s really important for working Missourians who can afford insurance and is the best bet we have for increasing jobs in MO

So, Rep. Chrissy Sommer has been contacting St. Charles County Democrats Facebook page, asking us to respond to her District 106 Survey. She’s also asking us to show up at the Public Forum on Saturday.  We’re going to be there, but not because we’re afraid of the DOR, because we need to tell them at expanding Medicaid is good for Missourians, good for jobs and the right thing to do.

Senator Schaefer will be sponsoring a Public Forum on April 27th from 10 to 11am at Christian High School – common area (1145 Tom Ginnever) regarding the DOR/CCW issue.   Please attend to be a apart of the discussion.

Republican candidate for the 70th District for the Missouri House spends $12,970.98 for a birthday party

Eugene Dokes, Republican candidate for the new 70th District[1] for the Missouri House, listed on his Missouri Ethics Commission report expenditures of $12,970.98 for a party on his birthday that brought in a total of $1360 in campaign donations.

Dokes advertised a “Birthday Soiree”[2] fundraiser on August 18th to be held at the Clarkson Jewelers Club in the Edward Jones on September 11th, his birthday.  Dokes spent $2106.37[3] for catering, $1000[4] to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau, $7501 on entertainment, $400[5] on flowers, $378.611 on photography $2003 for a cake, and $1361 on party favors for the attendees.  In addition, the suite in the dome was listed as an $8000[6] campaign contribution.  For what would have normally been considered a premium event, Dokes listed income of only $1360[7] on his MEC report.

Bill Otto, Democratic candidate for the new 70th District said “I can’t imagine any contributor that would be happy with their money being used to finance lavish parties.  I think this is a good indication of how he would use taxpayer’s money if he were to be elected”  Mr. Otto went on to say that there may be a violation of the Missouri Ethics Commission rules as well as a violation of the Missouri law concerning misuse of campaign funds.

In addition to the $12,970.98 birthday party, Dokes has spent $3129.35[8] on two other parties which brought in $2647 and included $1575[9] of in-kind donations.

_______

[1] The 70th District cover portions of west St Louis County & eastern St Charles County

[2] http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4a4d9bd3100a1ae5a5d8d515f&id=1490224b9b

[3] 10/15/2012 MEC REPORT ITEMIZED EXPENDITURES OVER $100 SUPPLEMENTAL FORM CD3 SUP B

[4] 9/5/2012 MEC REPORT ITEMIZED EXPENDITURES OVER $100 SUPPLEMENTAL FORM CD3 SUP B

[5] 10/15/2012 MEC REPORT CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED-SUPPLEMENTAL CD-1 SUPPLEMENTAL

[6] 9/5/2012 MEC REPORT CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED-SUPPLEMENTAL CD-1 SUPPLEMENTAL

[7] 10/15/2012 MEC REPORT CONTRIBUTIONS AND LOANS RECEIVED Line 13

[8] 7/16/2012 MEC REPORT ITEMIZED EXPENDITURES OVER $100 SUPPLEMENTAL FORM CD3 SUP B

[9] 7/16/2012 MEC REPORT CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED-SUPPLEMENTAL CD-1 SUPPLEMENTAL

On June 8th Find Out About ALEC Before it is Too Late

ALEC   EXPOSED

www.alecexposed.org

WHEN?   JUNE 8TH,   7 P.M.

WHERE?  ETHICAL SOCIETY OF ST. LOUIS, 9001 CLAYTON RD.

WHO?  BOB EDGAR, NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF COMMON CAUSE

WHY?   TO LEARN THE “FREE MARKET” GAME PLAN FOR AMERICA

              The American Legislative Exchange Council brings together corporate sponsors and state legislators to write laws that push their privatization, “profit over people” agenda.

They want to “starve the beast,” which means drain the public treasury so we can’t pay for public education, social safety net programs, environmental protections, or anything else that increases  opportunities for success.  It’s no coincidence that the gap between the rich and the rest of us is the largest it’s been in 30 years. What you don’t know CAN hurt you.

ALEC Exposed

2012 MO Democratic State Convention June 8-9 Lake Ozark

As you know, the State Convention is the single largest gathering of Democrats in the State and a great celebration of our Party. This is an opportunity to bring Missouri Democrats together to work towards victory in November.

The State Convention is being held on Saturday, June 9 at the Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks. One of the most important events at the State Convention will be selecting the 19 At-Large delegates and 7 alternates to attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

State convention activities will begin on June 9 with registration in the Marbella Ballroom in the main lodge building from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Registration will close promptly at 11 a.m. to allow time for seating of delegates. Delegates and alternates MUST be checked in by 11 a.m. to be seated for the convention. The Convention will convene at noon.

The State Convention kick-off party will take place on Friday June 8, 6 p.m-S p.m. in the main lodge. This is another way to get involved, network and show support for fellow Missouri Democrats. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance by visiting the website at missouridems.org. Tickets may also be purcbased at the door. We hope you will join us for this celebration!

If you require overnight accommodations, hotel reservations can be made at The Lodge of Four Seasons by calling 888-265-5500 or by visiting the Four Seasons website at 4seasonsresort.com.Please be sure to reference the Missouri Democratic Party.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the Missouri Democratic Party at 573-636-5241 or send an email to Sara Ferrill at sferrill@missouridems.org.

The State Convention is a monumental undertaking that only happens through the foundation and commitment of our supporters.  We look forward to seeing you at the state convention in June.

Democratically,

Mike Sanders

Chairman, Missouri Democratic Party

Registration at the 2008 MO Dem Convention

Registration at the 2008 MO Dem Confention