Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Thursday, September 25, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - The Change We Need In October: Jobs & The Economy Edition

Friends, Allies, and Constituents,

In my last newsletter I began a series of briefings about key issues in Missouri and the importance of the Nov. 4 election. Healthcare was my first focus, and the current turmoil on Wall Street (and Main Street) has led me to choose jobs and the economy as Issue # 2.

Here are a few facts about Missouri's economy during the Blunt era:
Missourians Saw Their Grocery Prices Increase By 5% In The First Quarter Of 2008. [Kansas City Star, 4/4/2008]
Missouri's Unemployment Rate Is 6.4% - Highest Rate In Almost Two Decades.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July, Missouri's unemployment rate rose to 6.4%. Missouri's unemployment rate is at its highest mark since October 1991. Missouri's unemployment rate is also higher than the national unemployment rate which is 5.7%. Missouri's unemployment rate is currently the 14th highest in the country. [Analysis of Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Data,

Missouri Has Lost More than 20,000 Manufacturing Jobs Since 2005.
According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Missouri has lost 21,700 manufacturing jobs since Matt Blunt took office in January of 2005.
[Analysis of Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Data]

Missouri Ranked 37th Overall in Growth from 2006 to 2007.
According to recent U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data, Missouri ranks 37th among
the states overall in growth from 2006 to 2007. Missouri's real gross domestic product increased 1.3% from 2006 to 2007 according to advance estimates. [Analysis of Data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Data Release, 6/5/08,]

Missouri Ranked Behind All But Two States In Average Annual Wage Growth.
In 2007, Missourians' paychecks grew more slowly than all but two states, as Missouri ranked 48th in average annual pay growth.
[CFED, 1/18/2008;]

Missouri Foreclosures Filings Increased 73% In The Past Year.
Missouri had the 18th highest foreclosure rate in May, according to RealtyTrac's
May foreclosure activity report. Foreclosure filings increased 73% since July 2007. [Press Release, RealtyTrac, 8/14/2008

For the complete Quick Facts on Missouri document sharing even more facts about jobs and the economy, healthcare, and higher education, simply write me at jmo4rep AT You may also be interested in today's Post-Dispatch editorial about Blunt's record on healthcare:

In other state news:

MoDOT Scraps Private Financing for the Bridge Plan
Because of the continuing collapse of the national credit market, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission voted on Sept. 18 to scrap an ambitious funding plan under which a single contractor would privately finance the repair of 802 bridges over five years and then maintain them over the following 25 years and receive annual payments from the state during the duration of the contract. Instead the commission will sell its own bonds to pay for the project.
The Missouri Department of Transportation first proposed its Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program in September 2006. MoDOT officials had hoped to pay a contractor around $50 million a year to finance, construct and maintain the bridges in the plan. The tight lending market, however, pushed the cost estimates to as high as $74 million a year, which MoDOT officials said was unaffordable. The selling of additional bonds will add to the $2.62 billion in debt the department has racked up in recent years.

MOHELA Misses Another Payment to the State
The national economic downturn has caused the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority to miss another scheduled payment to Gov. Matt Blunt's college construction program. Under a controversial 2007 law, MOHELA is required to make $5 million quarterly payments to the state. With its missed September payment, MOHELA is currently $8.6 million in arrears. When the governor's plan was debated in the General Assembly, opponents warned that an economic downturn could make it difficult for MOHELA to make its payments and threaten the financial health of the agency, which subsequently posted the first financial losses in its history.

Amendment 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot: English as the Official Language for
Government Proceedings
Amendment 1 would add a new section to Article I of the Missouri Constitution - the state's Bill of Rights - establishing English as the official language of Missouri government proceedings.

The General Assembly placed the measure on the Nov. 4, 2008, ballot with the passage of HJR 7 during the 2007 legislative session. HJR 7 passed 25-7 in the Senate and 127-29 in the House of Representatives. (I voted no.)

The language of the proposed new section is:

"Section 34. That English shall be the language of all official proceedings in this state. Official proceedings shall be limited to any meeting of a public governmental body at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy formulated, whether such meeting is conducted in person or by means of communication equipment, including, but not limited to, conference call, video conference, Internet chat, or Internet message board. The term "official proceeding" shall not include an informal gathering of members of a public governmental body for ministerial or social purposes, but the term shall include a public vote of all or a majority of the members of a public governmental body, by electronic communication or any other means, conducted in lieu of holding an official proceeding with the members of the public governmental body gathering at one location in order to conduct public business."

Supporters say the proposal would formally reinforce in the Missouri Constitution the reality that English is the language of state and local government.

Opponents (including me) say the measure is unnecessary because of the reality that English is the language of state and local government. Amending the constitution to make the statement that English is the state's dominant language is also redundant, they say, because state law already establishes English as Missouri's "common language." (RSMo. 1.028: "The general assembly recognizes that English is the common
language used in Missouri and recognizes that fluency in English is necessary for the full integration into our common American culture for reading readiness.") I also believe the measure promotes anti-immigrant sentiment and plays on anti-immigrant fears.

Candidate Spotlight

I've been telling you about some great Democratic candidates who can help us Take Back the House in the November elections (like Jeanne Kirkton, Deb Lavender, Vicki Lorenz Englund, etc.). But Dems not only need to charge ahead to take some seats this fall, we also have to play defense. In the 2006 elections, Democrats were able net a five seat gain, and the GOP is especially targeting two of those winners: Tom Shively in District 8 and Rebecca McClanahan in District 2. Both had excellent first terms as Freshman Democrats, and they are worthy of your support.

Tom Shively represents part of Linn, Macon, Shelby and Sullivan counties, and his vocation has been farming and agricultural vocational education. Tom has been a strong ally for labor and public education issues. He has been a strong advocate for local control related to public health and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's). In fact, he defeated a pro-CAFO champion to win his seat in 2006. Learn how to help keep Tom in office by going to his website:

Rebecca McClanahan is a nurse and educator, specializing in community mental health nursing (only the third nurse to serve in the history of the MO Legislature). She has been a strong voice against the Medicaid cuts and for Medicaid restoration, and she is a strong advocate for our schools. Help Rebecca win re-election by going to:

In addition, I'd like to invite you to meet my House colleague Sam Page, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, on Sunday, October 5, 2008, from 3-5 p.m. at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood 63143.

Also this link may be of interest to your deaf friends:

Jenny Page, Sam's wife, has deaf parents, so she and her mother have made a video about Sam, utilizing American Sign Language.

My Sympathy to the Parker Family

Condolences are extended to the family of Sherman Parker, a former colleague in the House of Representatives who recently died at age 37 of an aneurysm. An African American Republican from St. Charles County, Rep. Parker voted against the Medicaid cuts and often tried to steer his party in a more compassionate direction around social welfare policy. He and I appeared on several panels together over the years, and I found him to be a really good guy. He will be missed!

Surrounding Our Schools With Care Update

The Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis Public Schools was scheduled to announce its choice for superintendent during its Sept. 25 board meeting. I continue to grieve the loss of Dr. Diana Bourisaw, but will work hard with the new superintendent to continue the progress that was being made under Dr. Bourisaw.

ARCHS is sponsoring a conference on Partnerships for Lifelong Learning at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park on Saturday, October 11, from 8:30 a.m.-noon (and beginning with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m.).
For more details, see:

Community Announcements

- The Invest in Children Campaign is planning a rally at the Vice Presidential debate at Washington University on October. Speakers will be Nathan Ross, a former foster youth, and Michael Petit of Every Child Matters. Meet at the southeast corner of Skinker and Forsyth on the grass in Forest Park at 4:45 pm. Then, the group will proceed to the VP Debate Public Viewing Area on the Washington University Campus (or go directly there if arriving late).

R.S.V.P. - All participants need to R.S.V.P in advance to Cathi Martarella at (314) 504-1573, or you can CLICK HERE to send an email to For more information, see:

- Help Barack Obama win Missouri! After Saturday, September 27, 2008, there will be exactly 10 days left to register voters. We need your help canvassing door to door, in high traffic areas and special events in your neighborhood as we strive to reach a history making goal of knocking on 50,000 doors in the greater St. Louis area!. Please sign up and we'll connect you with the Neighborhood team that covers your area. There will be three shifts: 10-1, 1-4, and 4-7.

To sign up for the 50,000 Knocks for Barack in your area, please click this link:
From: Steve Walker / Regional Field Director / Missouri Region 10, 314.324.9072 /

- 2008 Fall Rehabbers Club Classes: ReVitalize St. Louis and the St. Louis Rehabbers Club are excited to announce that the 2008 Fall Rehabbers Club Classes will be sponsored by St. Louis Chapter of AIA [American Institute of Architects] Bookstore. They are located at 911 Washington Avenue in the Lammert Building downtown. This location is centrally-located, close to MetroLink and MetroBus lines, on-street
parking is plentiful and it is fully accessible. Their intimate and dynamic venue and our knowledge - what a partnership!

Classes begin on Wednesday, October 1st at 7:00 p.m. and the semester will run for eight consecutive weeks. Sessions are two hours long and there is time set aside during each class for Q&A. Topics include: Buying A Foreclosure; Pioneering Partnerships; Funding Your Rehab; Working With A Contractor; Neighbors in Action; Real Estate Law 101; Green Rehabbing; and Smart Landlording.

The fee for each class is $10 or you can purchase the eight-class package for $70. Class size is extremely limited so reserve your seat now. Details and descriptions are provided on the website at

You can purchase your seat with a PayPal interface that accepts credit and debit cards as well as checks.

- Immigrants and The Constitution will be the topic of an address by Lucas Guttentag, Founding Director of ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project on Thursday October 16 2008 - 6:30-8pm at the ACLU offices, 454 Whittier Street 63108. It's free and open to the public. RSVPs encouraged, but not required. Phone 314-652-3114 ext 23.

- Taste of the South Side: DeSales Community Housing Corporation's annual "A Taste of The South Side" fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, October 24 at the beautiful Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. There will be a spread of food from a variety of popular south side restaurants and a silent auction. Tickets are $35 each, or two for $60. Each ticket includes two drink tickets. All proceeds benefit DeSales Community Housing Corporation, which has been a major force in
stabilizing and improving the near south side of St. Louis for many years. The Palm House is a historic, renovated 19th-century greenhouse and offers a unique atmosphere in which to socialize, sample delicious foods, and help a worthy cause. For tickets, contact Christian Saller at 314-771-3958.

- Congratulations to Humanitri for achieving full compliance with all 20 charity accountability standards of the Better Business Bureau.

- Green Homes and Renewable Energy Festival at Grandel Square on Saturday, Sept. 27. We still need volunteers! The Dancing in the Streets Festival runs from 1-9 p.m. on Grand Ave. Make it a day of education and art for the planet and its people. There's a solar car race (and more) for the kids and workshops (and more) for the adults according to Kat Logan Smith of Coalition for the Environment. For more details, see:

And a final invitation from our household
My partner Dorothy, a hospice chaplain, will be ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 16, at Epiphany United Church of Christ, 2911 McNair. You are invited to attend this very important occasion in our lives. Please RSVP to 314-772-0263 to help us plan for our refreshment needs. (Dorothy also just celebrated a birthday on Sept. 23, and we will continue to mark that event by enjoying the Sweet Honey in the Rock concert at Edison Theater this Saturday evening.)