A state lawmaker from mid-Missouri is running for Missouri House Minority Whip.
State Rep. Kip Kendrick (D-Columbia) is finishing his first term in the House.
“Minority Whip is an important position within the Caucus to know where people stand on issues and to get the Caucus to coalesce. But it’s also about the work that can be done outside of the legislative session,” Kendrick says.
Republicans currently control the Missouri House 115-45-1, which is a veto-proof majority. Kendrick, who grew up in northeast Missouri’s Monroe City, says Democrats must represent all Missourians, rural and urban.
“We need to continue to represent urban issues, but we also need to make sure we reach out to rural voters and rebuild our seats and our stronghold in rural Missouri,” Kendrick says.
Kendrick tells Missourinet that Democrats must have a strong message.
“We just need to make sure that we’re defining ourselves and not letting Republicans define us. And I think that’s been the problem, you know, watching northeast Missouri in particular turn from blue to red in the matter of a decade really,” Kendrick says.
Since 2010, Republicans in northeast Missouri have unseated State Sen. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence, and State Reps. Paul Quinn, D-Monroe City, and Tom Shively, D-Shelbyville.
Kendrick also says mid-Missouri must have a seat at the leadership table, if Democrats are to rebuild their party. The six Democrats who are currently in House leadership positions represent St. Louis and Kansas City.
Kendrick worked across the aisle with GOP colleagues this year to pass legislation which includes Teleheath, designed to expand access to healthcare to rural Missouri.
The Minority Whip election will take place in November.