Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Monday, February 25, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - late Feb 2008 Edition

Friends, Allies, and Constituents,

It's an exciting and busy time. We're finally starting to debate some important bills, and filing for re-election starts on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Will I have an opponent this year? I haven't heard any rumors yet, but we'll know for sure on the final Tuesday in March when filing closes. (If you'd like to support my re-election effort, send an e-mail to this address, and I'll be glad to keep you informed about help I need.)

"School Prayer" Constitutional Amendment

On Thursday, Feb. 21, I debated Rep. Mike McGhee on KTRS-AM radio, regarding his House Joint Resolution (HJR) 55. This HJR would create a ballot issue for November 2008 on whether to amend the Missouri Constitution to "clarify" the right to religious expression in Missouri.

Rep. McGhee says some children are not being allowed to bring their Bibles on school buses. He says some children are told not to say grace before meals in the school cafeteria, and that a teacher told a child to erase "I love Jesus" on a paper and write "I love Mama" instead. He says a constitutional amendment is needed to guarantee the right to religious expression. I oppose the HJR because I believe the U.S. Constitution and Missouri Constitution already clearly state our right to religious freedom. When the public is uninformed about rights, this is a cause for
public education, not a constitutional amendment. Education about freedoms guaranteed in our constitutions could solve each of the problems Rep. McGhee cites.

I also think the wording of McGhee's amendment muddies the water about religious freedom instead of bringing clarity. The ballot language that is provided in the resolution is deceptive in that it only tells part of what the amendment would do. Many of us suspect that the real reasoning behind the proposed amendment is to bring out christian nationalist voters in the November elections as they have come to be a voting block for GOP candidates. You can read the text of HJR 55 at:

HJR 55 passed the House 132-11 on Thursday (pitiful!), so I hope you will write a letter to the editor about this travesty. It's important that we kill this resolution on the Senate side. There's a good editorial about it at:

Or see a couple of excellent lettersat:

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update

The Special Appointed Board of St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) announced that they will be conducting a nationwide search for a superintendent for SLPS, and then invited Dr. Diana Bourisaw, the current superintendent, to apply to compete for the position. Dr. Bourisaw instead announced that she will leave at the end of this school year. I am very disappointed at this turn of events as I think she was doing an excellent job, and the district needs stability of administration.

A rally in appreciation of Dr. Bourisaw is planned for Thursday, Feb. 28th, 5:30-7 p.m. at 801 N. 11th Street (SLPS headquarters). I will be unable to attend since I will be out of town, but I have prepared a letter to be read on my behalf. If you would like to receive a copy, write me at this address.

In addition, I urge you to make your thoughts known about the proposed closing of Meramec and Shenandoah elementary schools in the 59th district. Public comments may be submitted online at, by calling (314) 331-6100, or by writing to: Operations Division, St. Louis Public Schools, 801 N. 11th St., St. Louis, MO 63101.

The Continuing Saga of Insure Missouri

On Friday, Feb. 22, Gov. Blunt announced that he is withdrawing the Emergency Rule to implement Phase I of the Insure Missouri Plan. This would have made health coverage possible for 54,000 families of low-wage workers. Insure Missouri was less coverage for more money for a higher cost than Medicaid (and without the beneficial federal match of funds), but I was supportive of adding coverage for these families immediately and working out a better way to provide healthcare to them as the legislative process continues. House Democrats are united in calling for restoration of health coverage to all 180,000 Missourians who lost coverage under Gov. Blunt. To stay informed about what is happening with Insure Missouri and other key healthcare issues, go to the Missouri Budget Project website at:

Taking Back a Democratic Majority in 2009- Spotlight on Jeanne Kirkton

As I have been sharing with you, the Democratic Party has an excellent opportunity to take back majority status in the MO House of Representatives with the November 2008 elections. Quite a few GOP incumbents are term-limited out, and many districts have been trending Democratic in recent elections. (In special elections on Feb. 5 to fill vacancies, Democrats retained one seat while the GOP retained two, BUT
Democrats gained four or more percentage points in the two elections that were lost in districts GOP members have held for several years.)

In upcoming newsletters, I'll highlight some of the key races where a Democrat has an excellent chance to win a seat currently held by a Republican. The first race I'd like to call to your attention is District 91 in nearby Webster Groves. Rep. Kathlyn Fares (a GOP member for whom I have much admiration) is term-limited out this year. Jeanne Kirkton, a Democrat currently serving on the Webster Groves Council, has an exellent chance to the be next House member from the 91st. I have known Jeanne for
years, and she has been a wonderful supporter of my campaigns as well as causes near and dear to me (universal healthcare, sensible gun laws, anti-poverty measures, environmental protection, civil rights for LGBT persons, etc.). She is a critical care nurse by profession and a long-standing advocate for justice. I strongly urge you to be a volunteer and to contribute to her campaign. Find out how at: or by calling 314-968-0124.

Home Repairs Blog

The Franciscan Connection on Cherokee has started a new "St. Louis Home Repairs Network" blog. They hope you will use it to exchange timely information about home repair projects, volunteer opportunities, leftover supplies, funds available from foundations, etc. You can access the blog through their website:
or directly at:

The Representative Draws Inspiration.......

Many of you have asked how a progressive (like me) manages to survive in the Missouri Legislature and "stay on the battlefield" for the long haul. Certainly my community of faith plays a big role by being a source of spiritual refreshment. But there are so many things that happen in Jefferson City that inspire me and enable me to keep up my work for justice. Here are three of the most recent:

- The three women on the Missouri Supreme Court (Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith, Mary Rhodes Russell, and Patricia Breckenridge) hosted a luncheon for women legislators on Feb. 12. This annual event brings together women judges and commisioners from all over the state with representatives and senators. In talking with some of the elder women on the bench who went to law school when there was a quota on how many women could attend, one can gain an appreciation for how far we have come as a society, thanks to the courageous struggles of those who have gone
before. (Yet we also have a long way to go; Women of Color are still under-represented in both the Legislature and the Judiciary.)

- On Feb. 19, I was honored to see actress and storyteller Shirley E. Oglesby Smith Johnson bring Harriet Tubman to life in "A Triumph of the Spirit," a special theatrical presentation in the Rotunda, a Black History Month event sponsored by the Missouri Black Legislators Caucus.
The music, dancing, and slide show that accompanied this performance were truly outstanding. Learn more at:

- Each week brings many citizens to the Capitol to lobby, and this week brought two grassroots networks that I especially admire - those who work to prevent homelessness and those who work to abolish the death penalty. I was glad to have time to talk with several old friends in these groups as well as to make new acquintances. Thanks to all who come to the Capitol to advocate for justice!


Saturday, February 02, 2008

JMO4Rep Campaign Update - Feb. 1, 2008 Edition

Friends, allies, and constituents,

What a difference a few days makes! When I wrote you on Jan. 21 to update you on the beginning of Legislative Session and the Governor's State of the State Address, little did I know that Gov. Matt Blunt would announce the next day that he was not running for a second term. I don't think that my characterizing his speech as full of misinformation, anemic public policy initiatives, and fear-mongering had anything to do with his decision, but I do think the mounting reviews (and polling numbers) of his administration as a disaster for Missouri played a crucial role.

Many of you have asked me "What's really going on? Do you believe the governor's story?" I take a wait and watch position on most questions that require a guess at a person's inner motivations. There certainly are dozens of rumors circulating that some scandal is brewing or that Gov. Blunt is maneuvering to move into everything from his father's Congressional seat to a vice presidential candidate position. Perhaps we'll learn more in time, but for now let's continue the work of seeking healthcare for the uninsured and making a high quality public education a civil right for every child. There is much to do in Missouri, regardless of who is governor and which party is in power.

Don't Forget to Vote on February 5, 2008!

Here are several reminders that relate to the upcoming presidential primary, sales tax vote, and special elections that are set for Tuesday, February 5:

"Stand for Change Rally" with Sen. Barack Obama
Where: Edward Jones Dome
701 Convention Plz.
St. Louis, MO

When: Saturday, February 2nd, 2008 -
Doors Open: 7:00 PM CST
Program Begins: 8:30 PM CST

This event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is strongly encouraged. Members of the public may RSVP online at or by calling Obama for America's St. Louis Office at 314-436-2708.
***For security reasons, bags are not allowed inside the event. Please limit personal items. No signs or banners are permitted.***
Note: Obama already has my vote as I will be in Jefferson City on February 5, so I recently voted absentee. I respect those of you who support other candidates - we certainly have had an excellent slate to choose from on the Democratic side of the ticket this year! I'd also be glad to share more about my decision to back Barack if any would like to inquire at

Proposition S - Half-cent sales tax increase proposed for St. Louis City
My position on Proposition S is Vote No. Please know that my position is about the financing method and not about the stated goal of having more police officers on the street and offering better compensation to our first responders. In truth most of the funds from the vote would go to pay pensions for the police as the City has been directed by a lawsuit. I believe we should pay officers more and increase funding for public safety, but costs should come from a source that does not increase the burden on those least able to pay. The bottom 60% of Missourians already pay a disproportionate share of state and local taxes; this sales tax would make this even worse for City residents. Other funding options exist, and better decisions certainly could have been made in the past.

To read more about my position, see:


Taking Back the House from Special Interests and Theocrats - One Seat at a Time

Folks who support social justice have two important opportunities to move forward on Tuesday, February 5, due to Special Elections to fill House vacancies. The seat for District 16 in St. Peters was held by Carl Bearden, former GOP Speaker Pro Tem of the House, until mid-2007. Bearden resigned to take a high paid lobbying position. The seat for District 158 in Cape Girardeau had been held by former GOP Rep. Nathan Cooper who resigned after being convicted of immigration fraud last year. (Info at:

Democratic candidates Tom Fann in the 16th District and Mike Keefe in the 158th offer an opportunity to move away from the legacies of Bearden and Cooper. Bearden and Cooper carried the water for special interests that do their best to buy influence in Jefferson City and also for the Christian nationalist agenda that a vocal minority of legislators represent (but whose messages a broader group of legislators manipulate).

I don't agree with Fann and Keefe on every issue, but I do agree with them about healthcare and several labor issues. Cape is a long way to go to help Keefe, but St. Louis area folks are encouraged to go to St. Peters to work with Fann over the next few days. Sign up to phone bank or to canvas door-to-door (hardy souls who can stand the snow and cold) by contacting House Democratic Campaign Committee Executive Director Ronny Richardson at or by phone at 573-634-8176
ext. 121. Or contact Fann through; 636-928-7639.

A note on Christian nationalism: I am a person of faith, and my faith tradition is Christianity. I do affirm the Constitutional principle of separation of church and state unlike Christian nationalists who are attempting to have the religious doctrine of a few enshrined as public policy for all to follow. For more on this movement that has shaped much of the political debate in recent decades, see - Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007).

Don't Forget to Decline to Sign the Anti-Affirmative Action Petition -
but it's okay to sign the one to restore Medicaid

In the Jan. 21 newsletter, I let you know that Ward Connerly, a wealthy California political operative, is trying to amend Missouri’s Constitution and ban affirmative action in our state through an initiative petition. Petitioners will ask you to to sign a petition "for equality" or "for civil rights" but it's really about ending affirmative action, so DECLINE TO SIGN that petition. If you see someone at the polls
circulating it (probably a paid signature gatherer hired by an out-of-state company that specializes in such campaigns), please call Jobs with Justice at 314-644-0466 and let them know which polling place.

BUT you also may be approached by persons with petitions asking that the old Medicaid guidelines be reinstated so hundreds of thousands of Missourians will have healthcare benefits restored. I've signed that petition myself and urge you to do so as well.

Big Thanks for Thursday Night
With the major snow storm, we were afraid attendance might be low at "A Gathering of City Lovers: People who back the City and who back Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative," the Jan. 31 fundraiser and reception, but instead we had a large, energetic, and generous crowd.

Thanks to Philip Hitchcock and phd gallery at 2300 Cherokee for hosting the event. Additional host committee members were Anthony Coffin, Barb Moore, Ben Phillips, Beverly Cotton, Bill Hart, Bill Byrd, Chad Johnson, Connie Petty, Jason Deems, Jeannette Ward, Joan Briccetti, Julie Terbrock, Kathy Greminger, Lynn Josse, Mark Kalk, Mark Lammert, Michael Allen, Nancy Galvin, Norah Ryan, Pam Talley, Pamela Merritt, Shane Cohn, Sharon Hoffmann, Tony Pecinovsky, and Warren Hoffmann - I thank them profusely.

Steven Smith of The Royale bartended and offered a great drink menu. Food came from: Claralyn Bollinger, Café DeMenil, Helen Davis, Gast Haus, Barbara Greenberg, Jovanka Hammond, Lemp Mansion Restaurant, Mississippi Mud Coffee House, Patty Long’s, Shangri-La Diner, and Marilyn Stavenger.
All who enjoyed the beautiful and bountiful spread say Yum and Thanks.

It was a treat to have House colleagues Sam Page and Margaret Donnelly come by. They are on their way to bigger challenges and a chance to serve more Missourians. Page is running for lieutenant governor and Donnelly for attorney general, and they have my support! Sen. Jeff Smith also dropped by for a chat and to enjoy a cocktail that The Royale has named "The Mr. Smith."

If you meant to attend, but had to cancel due to weather, illness, etc., the financial books on the event will be open for a few days more, so please mail your check to Citizens to Elect Oxford, P. O. Box 19112, St. Louis, MO 63118. (Campaign finance limits ban donations of more than $325.)

Bills to Be Filed Next Week
I have been gathering co-sponsor signatures on bills about reducing class sizes, removing conflicts of interest at the metropolitan taxi commission, expanding earned income tax credits, protecting freedom of speech, offering progressive tax reform, and many more important issues.
I will be filing these bills in the next couple of weeks. Stay posted on bills I sponsor or co-sponsor by checking: