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State Democrats hold strategy meetings with members, GOP wraps up listening tour

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Democratic Party is trying something new this interim by holding strategy sessions around the state for party members, candidates and legislators to come speak their minds.

Starting August 12, the party will resume their strategy meetings they started earlier in July following a two-week break to evaluate their feedback, Executive Director Joe Duffy said.

The audience from the St. Louis strategy meeting with the Democratic Party. (Submitted photo)
The audience from the St. Louis strategy meeting with the Democratic Party. (Submitted photo)

“The idea is that this is an opportunity to gauge thoughts very early on and get feedback in terms of what’s worked well and ways we can improve as a party,” Duffy said, referring to the 2012 election cycle in preparation for 2014.

Duffy said it comes down the Democrats needing to do a better job of picking up legislative seats, and through these meetings state party executives are able to hear the thoughts from “ground reporters” who worked on a lot of the 2012 races and can offer their input.

In all, the docket includes 10 meeting spots around the state, which Duffy said were chosen because the areas are “vital to legislative and statewide success in 2014.”

Duffy said during the four meetings so far about 40 people have attended, and during the next few he said the party is expecting a larger turn out including some potential legislative candidates as well as current legislators.

“We are making sure we support candidates and engage with them early, proving we are supporting them financially and with grassroot efforts,” Duffy said.

The biggest challenge, he said, is turning the conversations into action as the next batch of elections gets closer.

Matthew Wills, Communications Director for the Missouri Republican Party, said the state Republicans recently wrapped up similar listening sessions and are hoping to add more before the Midwest Republicans Leadership Conference in September. The dates for any future meetings haven’t been set, Wills said.

“We try to get citizen’s input and see what direction they would like to see the party go in,” Wills said. “Chairman [Ed] Martin has instituted that from day one. Getting that feedback from day one is huge because it lets us tailor our message from day one.”

There are six more strategy sessions with the Missouri Democrats starting a week from Monday:

  • – Aug. 12 — 6:30-7:30 p.m., Java Jive, 211 N Main Street in Hannibal
  • – Aug. 13 — 6-7 p.m.,  Rolla Courthouse meeting room, 901 N Elm Street in Rolla
  • – Aug. 14 — 6-7 p.m., Cape Girardeau Public Library in Cape Girardeau
  • – Aug. 19 — 5-6:30 p.m., Columbia Public Library friends room, 100 W Broadway in Columbia
  • – Aug. 20 — 6-7 p.m., Pickler’s Famous, 114 W Harrison Street in Kirksville
  • – Aug. 21 — 6-7 p.m., Greene County Democratic HQ, 1764 S Fremont Avenue in Springfield
  • – Aug. 22 — 6-7 p.m., Hero’s Restaurant, 107 W Pine Street in  Warrensburg