On July 23 the Gateway Democrats held an event that drew over 200 people to the Communications Worker Hall on Grissom. There were over 30 advocacy groups that staffed information tables at the event.
Gateway Democrats is comprised of representatives from six County Democratic Central Committees in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson, and Lincoln Counties. Co-Chairs of the Gateway Democrats are Harvey Ferdman, President Maryland Heights Democratic Township Club and our own Committeeman and club president Dennis Roach.
The event featured speakers on the topic of Advocating Through Boards and Commissions.
The Keynote speaker was Missouri Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Stephen Webber. Mr. Webber gave a rousing speech that outlined the priorities and actions the MDP will take in the coming year. More on that in another article.
He was followed by speakers that explained how a citizen could identify, contact, and get on boards and commissions at the state, St. Louis County, and city levels.
1st State Senatorial District Senator Scott Sifton talked about the importance of the boards and commissions from the state level. Senator Sifton stressed that all boards and commissions have a powerful impact on the functioning of the state government. Most legislators rely on input from these boards and commissions when deciding whether to support a bill. Many of these boards and commissions (B and Cs) are not fully staffed. We have an opportunity to influence our state in a progressive direction if we apply to be on a B or C that interest us.
Linda Henry, Director Constituent Services, St. Louis County, spoke about B and Cs from the standpoint of St. Louis County. She had a great slideshow that showed how to go through the website for St. Louis County and identify B and Cs that may be of interest to you. (http://boards.stlouisco.com/)
The final speaker was City of Kirkwood Deputy Mayor Paul Ward. Mr. Ward reiterated the importance of B and Cs. He started his political career on the Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Commission and has since served in many different capacities in Kirkwood including the City Council and as Deputy Mayor. A message he offered was that before you apply to a B or C be sure you want it. You cannot be effective if you are not willing to do the work the position requires.
The Gateway Democrats have another event planned for September. Information on that event will be available in the coming weeks.