Michelle Sherod for Missouri Senate
Jamilah Nasheed is term-limited in Missouri’s 5th Senatorial District and has endorsed Michelle Sherod to succeed her. While there are five other candidates on the ballot, only two deserve serious consideration, and we believe both – Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green and state Rep. Steve Roberts, who chairs the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus – have shown great public value in their present roles. We express solidarity with Nasheed, whose work for her constituents has been tireless and effective, and with other Black women running for office under a deluge of negative attacks, such as St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones, whom we have previously endorsed. Sherod has the grit of the daughter of a widowed mother of seven who grew up cleaning houses and put herself through law school. She also has the deep experience of a political professional; she was the first African-American deputy state auditor and ran U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s St. Louis regional office. Sherod has intimate practical experience with how laws are made and how constituents are served and has an even, measured temperament that would be productive in Republican-dominated Jefferson City. Her background as a CPA also would be essential in a Legislature working with huge budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic. Sherod told us, “I am a prepared, ethical, pragmatic, strong leader, who has the personal skills to be effective even in this red state,” and we agree. We endorse MICHELLE SHEROD FOR MISSOURI SENATE.
Wm. Lacy Clay for Congress
U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri), who is currently serving his 10th term in Congress, faces a primary challenge from Cori Bush, a protest leader and pastor with strong progressive grassroots support; another candidate, Katherine (Kat) Bruckner, has not mounted any appreciable campaign. Clay versus Bush is a rematch of the 2018 Democratic primary, when the incumbent won by nearly 30,000 votes, 56.7% to 36.9%. While Bush’s presence on the streets and resonance in the community are compelling and appreciated, Clay remains the pragmatic choice. Clay has never made much pretense of being an on-the-ground community leader, but he has good political skills and a progressive voting record in the Congress; indeed, it would be difficult for even Bush to beat him for a progressive vote or quote in support of Black lives. More importantly for our community, his seniority and close relationships with leadership make him a serious powerbroker – particularly in a Democratic-led House where close working relationships with leadership are critical to effectiveness in bringing federal resources home to the district. We commend Bush for running for Congress and driving this legacy congressman to the left and towards the grassroots, but we believe Clay’s seniority, relationships with leadership, and legislative experience will be critical assets in the next two years. We endorse U.S. REP. WM. LACY CLAY FOR CONGRESS.
Tommie Pierson Jr. for Missouri Senate
In the 13th Senate District, term-limited Gena Walsh has two strong Black candidates competing to succeed her (a third, Angela Walton Mosley, has few credentials other than hailing from a local political dynasty). In their respective primaries for state representative in 2018, Alan Green (District 67) garnered nearly twice as many votes as Tommie Pierson Jr. (District 66), and we believe that Green is a formidable opponent and would be an effective state senator. Pierson, however, who was first elected in 2016, rose quickly to the leadership position of assistant minority floor leader and has a brilliance and charisma that are in short supply in our political landscape. The son of a pastor (and state representative) who started his own church rather than take over his father’s – and did so after earning a math degree at Washington University – Pierson has the makings of a rising political star in a fairly bright field. We hope state Senate is the next perch in his ascent. He has substantial labor endorsements, demonstrating his support from Walsh’s former base, as well as endorsements from Planned Parenthood Advocates and The Ecumenical Leadership Council. Pierson would join state Senator Brian Williams as young, polished Black professionals in the state Senate with the potential to provide skilled and principled political leadership of our community for decades to come. We strongly endorse TOMMIE PIERSON JR. FOR MISSOURI SENATE.
Darryl Gray for Missouri House of Representatives
Though a former state senator in Kansas, Darryl Gray burst onto the St. Louis scene as a protest leader during the Stockley verdict protests, and he remains on the streets as a leader in Expect Us protests against police brutality. A reverend who has the Ecumenical Leadership Council’s endorsement, he is righteous and fearless but also savvy in his attempts to leverage the power of protest in direct negotiation with power brokers, and we believe this skill set would be very valuable in the Missouri Legislature. Gray, who lost a bid for 18th Ward alderman in 2019, has an uphill battle against Kimberly-Ann Collins, who garnered 2,847 votes in the 77th District in 2018, when she lost to Steve Roberts Jr. Though Collins’ continuing work to win votes must be overcome by Gray, who has spent so much of his time fighting for change on the streets, we believe he is the kind of fighter we need in Jefferson City. We strongly endorse DARRYL GRAY FOR MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Rasheen Aldridge Jr. for Missouri House of Representatives
Rasheen Aldridge Jr. was unopposed in the special election to succeed state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. in House District 78 when Franks stepped down in mid-term last year, and he is unopposed in his first primary bid. It is not difficult to see why no one would want to oppose him. A youth organizer for the $15 minimum wage galvanized by the Ferguson Uprising who remains on the streets as an Expect Us organizer of police brutality protests, Aldridge is as widely trusted and beloved as Franks, which is really saying something. Aldridge has an unerring moral compass, bottomless courage, serious organizing skills, deep knowledge of the needs of his community, and a sharp intellect. We urge him to remain in the often-discouraging realm of politics, where he continues to lead other young people by example in a way that few can. We strongly endorse RASHEEN ALDRIDGE JR.FOR MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Jill Schupp for Congress
Jill Schupp has no primary opponent in her bid to unseat U.S. Representative Ann Wagner, which shows commendable discipline for a Missouri Democratic Party that senses a rare opportunity to flip a U.S. House seat. Schupp is a strong candidate to do so. She earned our respect in 2014 by (narrowly) beating a Republican opponent named John Ashcroft for state Senate after serving six years in the state House of Representatives (with prior stints on the Creve Coeur City Council and the Ladue School Board, including two terms as board president). With her record of fighting – and sometimes working expediently with – the Republican supermajority in Jefferson City, not to mention beating at the polls a Missouri Republican named Ashcroft, we believe Schupp would be a very effective voice for our community in Washington, D.C. We strongly endorse JILL SCHUPP FOR U.S. CONGRESS.