Pettis County Democrats gathered Thursday night for the annual Democrat Memorial Dinner at the American Legion Post 642 to honor significant local party members who have died.
A table filled with newspaper clippings, photos and flowers was set up inside the building for people to remember those they’ve lost over the years. The Democrats gathered paused for a brief silent prayer to honor those people.
Five Democratic candidates for county, state and national office were present and each spent a few minutes addressing the small crowd.
Dr. Gordon Christensen, of Columbia, is running for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District against Democrat Jack Truman, of Lamar, Republicans John E. Webb, of Cleveland and incumbent Vicky Hartzler, of Harrisonville, and Libertarian Mark Bliss, of Warrensburg.
He said he is primarily focused on health care, citing his background as a physician, and veterans; Christensen previously worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
He said he also thinks it is time to get “big money out of politics.”
“I think it is a concern, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, give her her due, says lots of good things but she does not back them up and sometimes she does things we just can’t understand,” Christensen said. “… I think we need a change of attitude and I hope to model that.”
Kyle Garner, of Sedalia, is running for state representative in the 52nd District against Republican incumbent Nathan Beard. Garner, who has had a variety of jobs and is now a legal assistant, said he is running to make a difference in Missouri. He supports more funding for roads and education and expansion of Medicaid.
“We’ve seen the state fail in many ways in core areas,” he said. “We’re not funding our roads, we’re not funding our schools properly, we’re not funding our health care for our citizens. That’s something I believe passionately government should do and it’s not right now.”
Winston Apple, of Independence, is running for lieutenant governor against several other candidates: Democrats Russ Carnahan, of St. Louis, and Tommie Pierson Sr., of St. Louis, Republicans Arnie C. Dienoff, of O’Fallon, Bev Randles, of Kansas City, and Mike Parson, of Bolivar, and Libertarian Steven R. Hedrick, of Warrensburg. He is retired as a social studies teacher in the Kansas City School District.
He spoke several times about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ plans for education, climate and health care. He also repeatedly talked about the need for Democratic voters to vote Republicans out of office to make needed changes in government.
“We need a government right now that represents the people, not Wall Street,” he said. “There are two parties in this country. One of them, the Republican Party, might as well be called the Corportist Party because they represent Wall Street, the big banks and the corporations.”
Charles McCormack, of Sedalia, is running for Pettis County Eastern Commissioner against Republicans Darrell Slaughter, of Marshall, and incumbent Brent Hampy, of Smithton. He is a Pettis County native and has worked for the county for 15 years.
“I’ve seen a lot about the commissioners’ decisions and the money they’ve wasted on our roads,” he said. “I’m running for commissioner because I feel I can do a better job of managing our money and getting the roads fixed the way they need to be fixed and not buying equipment that is unneeded. There are issues with buying things and we don’t need this equipment.”
Charli Ackerman, of Sedalia, is running unopposed for her fourth term as Pettis County Public Administrator. She declined to give a speech but said she is “happy to serve.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.