Dear Gov. Parson,
My name is Rasheen Aldridge, and I am the Democratic nominee for state representative for the 78th District. We haven’t met but I have heard from my predecessor, state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., that you are a good man who truly cares about the wellbeing of our entire state, no matter the zip code. I had been looking forward to working with you, as I had been told that you were passionate about finding solutions to reduce crime and gun violence in our cities and rural areas alike.
So, it was with great disappointment that I read that you had dismissed the idea of a Special Session to reduce violence in communities like mine.
You stated, “Special Session is not the correct avenue. If we are to change violent criminal acts in Missouri, it will take all of us at the federal, state, local, and community levels working together toward a common goal.”
I agree with you that it will take all of these entities to solve this issue, but why would anyone at a federal level take that seriously if we are not willing to treat it as the emergency that this is?
You’ve had a long career in the legislature, and I know you are not a stranger to the difficulty in getting bills heard if the speaker or committee chair has no desire to push forth that legislation. For this reason, a Special Session is necessary, as this issue cannot continue to be buried under hundreds of bills that seem to take precedent – such as naming highways and official Missouri bourbon standards – with the current makeup of our body.
I watched you personally proceed over the dais when Rep. Franks’ bill HCR 70 naming youth violence a public health epidemic passed the Senate. I watched you sign that bill and talk of the importance in recognizing this problem. I was proud to see that bi-partisan passion in tackling something that is killing so many in our state. So, let’s get to work and put some teeth to it.
A Special Session is the only way for our political body to sit down and be forced to reckon with this public health epidemic without political distraction, without political personal grievance, without political vote trading, without political indifference.
My community cannot afford to lose any more children. Our state cannot afford to be plagued with violence for our human health’s sake and, quite honestly, for our economic health’s sake. I have to live in fear that, if elected in November, I may not make it to my swearing-in, and my constituents fear their babies not coming home. We must act now. I beg you.
Rasheen Aldridge is the Democratic nominee for state representative for the 78th District.