MO Democratic Insider – February 6, 2021

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Volume 3, Issue 4 – February 6, 2021

We’ve made some updates to our Democratic Insider newsletter. We now have dedicated sections to different news types, trainings, and more, and a recap of what’s below at the top so you can get a quick snapshot of what’s in the newsletter! This is a long newsletter so hopefully this helps you pick out the pieces you care about most! 

  • Farewell Note from Lauren Gepford
  • Welcome Randy Dunn as Executive Director
  • Congratulations to MDP’s Executive Committee Members 
  • HDCC News – Democratic Legislative Network
  • #MOSEN News: Sen. Josh Hawley is Still a Traitor (with updates) 
  • #MOLEG News: Senate Approves COVID-19 Protections for Businesses
  • #MOLEG News: Grand Jury Indicts Lawmaker on 20 Felony Counts
  • #MOLEG News: House Bill Would Let Criminals Sue Police Departments
  • #MOLEG News: Court Mostly Upholds UM Rule Against Guns on Campus
  • New Ideas for MDP?
  • Trainings & Training Resources – New Info This Week!
  • Reminders & Always Helpful Items


After a little over 2 years and 100+ of these newsletters, this edition marks my last before I pass the torch to incoming Executive Director Randy Dunn who starts next Wednesday. Read more about Randy in the section below, and please give him a hearty email welcome at

I want to take a moment to reflect on these past two years and give gratitude to Missouri Democrats. I have been humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve as Executive Director for the Missouri Democratic Party. The successes we’ve had while I’ve served with the MDP are because of the volunteer leaders who I served beside, and I’ll be eternally grateful for the volunteers, Democratic committee people, and the Democratic community for fighting alongside me for a better Missouri. I’m not ready to share what’s next for me yet beyond taking some time for personal life after putting it aside for several years, but I know I will forever support the Missouri Democratic Party and will roll up my sleeves to help out Missouri Democrats. I’d love to stay in touch and folks can reach me at LMGepford@gmail.comLinkedIn, and Twitter

We still have a lot of work to do in the coming months and years to unify and heal our country and state, and to build power for Democrats in Missouri. The leadership of the MDP elected in December – led by MDP Chairman and St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Michael Butler – have been engrossed in work to push the Party forward and they have a sound game plan. I’m confident that they will continue the progress we’ve made these past two years and will be a force for good in communities across Missouri. 

In the early part of my tenure in 2019, we were in “building the plane while you fly it” mode. We had to seriously juggle who and what we could pay for and make tough decisions to get us in a better financial and organizational place. But we chewed gum and walked at the same time and took a lot of necessary behind the scenes unglamourous steps to rebuild the Party while also flipping a seat in a special election and preparing for 2020. The Party now has more resources, internal organization, and possibilities to invest than we have had in several election cycles. Yes, we did not win all the ultimate prizes we fought for on November 3, 2020, but we concentrated last cycle on building an infrastructure that could last for years to come, and we made great gains to accomplish that.

The Missouri Democratic Party entered 2021 in a strong position with over three times as much money in our state and federal war chest than we started out with after the 2018 elections. After the 2018 election, we focused on growing the grassroots support of our Party to build a long lasting funding and support pool that isn’t dependent on the electoral fortunes of statewide Democratic elected officials. In the 2020 election cycle, we doubled the number of contributions MDP received compared to the previous election cycle, and doubled our number of individual donors. MDP has more grassroots support than ever before. Focusing more on the grassroots of the Party was both necessary to grow our Party and sustain it financially for the long term, and it was also the right thing to do to practice what we preach as dark money and mega millionaires like Rex Sinquefield have plagued Missouri politics for years. 

Some of our successes from 2019 – 2020:

  • Doubled our number of donors and individual contributions and diversified how we fundraise – online and offline – using new techniques for fundraising that stretch beyond one election cycle and massively grew our recurring small dollar donor program. 
  • More than tripled the amount of direct or in-kind financial support MDP provided local Democratic committees, clubs and candidates. The contributions MDP made to local Democratic entities allowed them to do more voter registration and fight legal battles over a Republican State Representatives residency issues, and MDP supported candidates with decreased texting costs, research, and polling. 
  • Implemented long overdue internal behind the scenes operating procedures – requiring staff to be neutral in Democratic primary elections, workplace harassment and diversity, equity and inclusion training, providing staff resources for professional development, increasing staff pay and benefits, providing paternity leave for the first time ever, documenting internal processes and systems to aid in transitions of MDP leadership, and spreading staff out to be located around the state to have a presence in more communities and allow staff to live in places they like instead of such a focus on Jefferson City. 
  • Started the Building Blue program that brought over 50 in-person and online trainings throughout the state. 
  • Launched MDP’s first paid internship program, the MDP Building Blue Fellowship. We had 18 Fellows serve in the Fellowship program, 42% people of color and 58% women. 
  • Launched MDP’s first Rural Program and successfully secured DNC investment for it, and hired and empowered MDP’s first ever Rural Director. 
  • Appointed members to, activated, and better empowered the many standing committees that are a part of the MDP, and started the first ever MDP Labor Caucus and Black Caucus. 
  • MDP staff and leadership traveled 100,000+ miles (mostly before the pandemic) to visit over 2/3rds of Missouri’s counties, including the successful Tour De Yard Signs that distributed 10,000+ Biden-Harris-Galloway signs through 30+ stops. 
  • Internally, we grew our record keeping and outreach system to track all of our local Democratic committees. At the start of the 2020 cycle, we were missing information for 75% of our local Democratic committees and now we’re only missing 9%. 
  • Flipped 2 State Representative seats, ceding no ground in our state legislature in the 2020 election while most every state in the country lost considerable Democratic numbers in their state houses.
  • Provided opposition research, issue research, and polling to 26 state legislative candidates, gubernatorial, and Democratic committees – for the first time since 2010. 
  • Registered voters and got more voters on the rolls than Missouri has ever had. MDP’s Show Me Votes program and local Democrats hit 30,000+ doors to register potential new Democratic voters, mailed 22,000 voter registration packets, and texted 20,000+ unregistered likely Democratic voters. 
  • Adapted our normally in-person delegate selection/caucus and convention process to be virtual after COVID-19 hit and saw record participation with over 5,000 participants. Missouri Democrats sent the most diverse group of delegates to the state and national conventions and elected the most diverse group of DNC members representing Missouri. 
  • Knocked 488k doors, made 4.1 million phone calls, and sent 9.40 million text messages.
  • Developed and provided new technology tools – ShowMeVotes online voter registration and absentee ballot request tool, voter registration fundraising map, a slate card tool that allowed voters to see every single Democrat on their ballot all the way down to the most local level, discounted texting and phone banking tools, and lowering the cost of our voter file and organizing software. 
  • Developed and deployed the MDP Portal, the online training repository for Democratic activists and campaigns. 

The work I’ve overseen the past two years wouldn’t have been possible without the talented MDP staff and officers who worked day in and day out to build up the Party, always innovating, looking for growth opportunities, handling the daily challenges of politics, and working around the clock to adapt to campaign during a global pandemic. 

Our successes would not have been possible without the core MDP staff members I served with: Andrew Storey, Jordan Hunt, Bella Vadovicky, Sadie Jess, Tara Logan, Naeem Jenkins-Nixon, TJ Menges, Dayan Reynolds, Carrie Niswonger, Daisy Garcia Montoya, and others. 

I served alongside great leaders – Chair Hon. Jean Peters Baker, Acting Chair Hon. Clem Smith, Secretary Rev. Darryl Gray, and Treasurer Cydney Mayfield. These elected leaders of the MDP put countless hours, miles driven, and energy into building up the Democratic Party during the 2020 elections – all volunteering their time and energy.  A huge thanks also to our partners at the House Democratic Campaign Committee, our Show Me Change coordinated campaign, the campaigns of Nicole Galloway and our statewide candidates, county and local committees, and many more in Missouri’s progressive ecosystem. 

There is much more work to do to get back power for Missouri Democrats, but I leave this position firm in the belief that we drove forward some successes the past two years and that the MDP will continue to do so. I encourage Democrats to look at the long term picture and not let Missouri’s 2020 electoral outcomes dissuade you. As we saw in Georgia, it can take decades to build up the power needed to make big electoral changes. 

Onward & GO CHIEFS!

Lauren Gepford


Last Saturday, the Missouri Democratic Party Executive Committee confirmed Chairman Michael Butler’s appointment/selection of Randy D. Dunn to serve as Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director. You may know Randy like I do from when he served as a State Representative representing parts of Kansas City. Some more about Randy: 

Rep. Randy D. Dunn, a native of Kansas City, Missouri is a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, representing the 23rd District, first elected in 2012 at the age of 29 and reelected in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Additionally, Randy has served as Executive Director of Spark CDI, a non-profit community development intermediary focused on economic development in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Furthermore, Rep. Dunn served as City Planner for the City of Kansas City, Missouri and a licensed realtor in Missouri.

Currently Rep. Dunn is the owner and managing partner of Dean & Dunn, LLC a consulting firm based in Kansas City working in economic development and community outreach and engagement. Randy also serves as Community Affairs Liaison for U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5) and is owner of Jet-KC a men’s clothing boutique.

Rep. Dunn received his Bachelor of Arts in Urban Affairs and Master of Public Administration degrees both from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 2005 and 2007 respectively where he was a HUD Fellow and attended law school, all on full academic scholarships. While at UMKC, Rep. Dunn also served as a Campus Ambassador, founding member and President of the Bloch School African American Student Association and was a Victor Wilson Scholar.

During his tenure in the Missouri Legislature Rep. Dunn was Chairman of the Urban Economic Development Committee; Vice Chairman of the House Minority Caucus; House Minority Whip; and served on the important Budget Committee, overseeing the states $28 billion budget.

Never one to shy away from a position of leadership Rep. Dunn is the former President of the Omicron Xi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Board Member of the Kansas City Youth Court; Member of the Kansas City Habitat for Humanity Construction Committee; Member of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition Steering Committee; Young Elected Officials Network, Missouri State Director; Vine Street District Council Board of Directors; Partnership for Kids Mentor; MALGBT Chamber of Commerce, Finance Committee Member and Communiversity Neighborhood and Economic Development course developer and instructor.

Rep. Dunn has committed his professional and personal career to transforming communities into desirable and safe environments with access to jobs, quality education, transportation and basic services and amenities.


The Missouri Democratic Party’s Executive Committee is the smaller group of committee people who oversee the governance of the Party along with the larger State Committee. At the January 30th meeting of the Missouri Democratic State Committee, the State Committee elected the following at-large members to serve on the Missouri Democratic Party’s Executive Committee: Nanda Nunnelly Sparks, Mary Elizabeth Dorsey, Hon. LaKeySha Frazier Bosley, Yvonne Reeves Chong, Jonathan Kessler, Kenneth Bacchus, Hon. Jalen Anderson, and Jim Kabell. Congratulations to these newly elected MDP Executive Committee members! 

Additionally, congratulations to the following MDP Executive Committee members whose appointments were approved by the State Committee or who were automatically placed on the MDP Executive Committee: Hon. Karla May, Hon. Cori Bush, Hon. Emanuel Cleaver, Jack Bainbridge, Don Calloway, Hon. Jon Carpenter, Dorothy Adams, Demarco Davison, Hon. Nicole Galloway, Hon. JJ Rizzo, Hon. Crystal Quade, Mike Louis, Shirley Mata, Dan Kandlbinder, Susan Turk, Chase Shorten, and Angela McQuinn. 

The membership lists and rosters of who serves on the various Missouri Democratic Party State, Executive, and Local Committees for this term is on our website at 


The Democratic Legislative Network (DLN) is a sustainable, ground-up, year-round, volunteer messaging program with a presence in every county and every house district across the state.The purpose of this network is to build coalitions and volunteer infrastructure centered around issue advocacy, in order to align our allies, and engage voters prior to an election year.The DLN will allow us to streamline Democratic messaging, making sure that Democrats from every corner of the state know what is happening in Jefferson City.To join the network, Click Here.


In this week’s Josh is a Joke news, Senator Hawley has still not voted for ANY of President Biden’s appointees while he is on a ridiculous media tour saying he’s been silenced. 

Read this article from The Atlantic: The Knives Come Out for Josh Hawley

Call Roy Blunt’s office at 202-224-5721 and Josh Hawley’s office at 202-224-6154 to tell them Hawley’s behavior is reprehensible and he should be expelled from the Senate. 

Help us build the resources to defeat Hawley by buying some of our merchandise that knocks on him or donating to the Missouri Democratic Party

Sign and share our petition telling Josh Hawley to resign. 


From the Weekly Capitol Report of Representative Jerome Barnes

After about 15 hours of discussion, the Missouri Senate on Feb. 3 gave first-round approval to legislation granting businesses, religious organizations and medical providers with immunity from most lawsuits relating to alleged wrongful exposure to COVID-19. A second vote is necessary to advance it to the House of Representatives.

As originally filed, Senate Bill 51 would have provided near blanket immunity from COVID-related claims. During the course of debate, however, the bill was amended to continue to allow lawsuits against businesses and medical providers in cases where an exposure resulted from “recklessness or willful misconduct” and the plaintiff was injured as a result. Religious organizations still would be exempt from lawsuits unless the plaintiff proves an intent to harm.

Gov. Mike Parson and many of his fellow Republicans have been pushing for such legal protections ever since the pandemic began last spring. Despite no lawsuits on the subject having been filed in Missouri, Parson during his recent State of the State address urged lawmakers to make a COVID liability protections the first bill they send him this year.


From the Weekly Capitol Report of Representative Jerome Barnes 

A federal grand jury has indicted freshman state Rep. Tricia Derges, R-Nixa, for wire fraud, illegally distributing prescription drugs and making false statements to investigators. Federal prosecutors unsealed the 20-count felony indictment on Feb. 1.

Derges was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November but has been in office for less than a month. She operates medical clinics in Springfield, Branson and Ozark and is accused of marketing fraudulent stem cell treatments for various ailments, including COVID-19. Derges pleaded not guilty during her initial court appearance and has maintained her innocence in social media posts. Two days after the indictment, House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, called on Derges to resign.


From the Weekly Capitol Report of Representative Jerome Barnes 

The House of Representatives on Feb. 4 voted 103-43 to grant final passage to Republican legislation that purports to declare federal gun laws unenforceable in Missouri and empower those accused or even convicted of federal gun crimes to extract large fines from local police agencies for assisting federal authorities in their arrests. The bill now advances to the Senate, where similar legislation already is pending.

Under the original version of House Bill 85, those accused or convicted of federal gun crimes could have sued individual police officers for assisting federal authorities, but that provision was removed. Instead, federal gun offenders could sue the departments those officers work for. Those departments would be subject to a minimum fine of $50,000, with no upper limit on the amount of such a fine. Democratic critics of the bill said Republicans were seeking to defund police merely for enforcing the law and enriching federal criminals in the process.

Other provisions of HB 85 unconstitutionally attempt to nullify federal laws relating to the taxation, registration or tracking of firearms, as well as laws prohibiting the possession, ownership, use or transfer of specific types of firearms. Nullification is a discredited 19th century doctrine holding that individual states can reject federal laws they don’t like. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled states have no such authority, describing nullification in one case as the “illegal defiance of constitutional authority.”


From the Weekly Capitol Report of Representative Jerome Barnes 

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District on Feb. 2 largely upheld a University of Missouri System rule prohibiting firearms on its four campuses while striking down a portion of the rule regarding the storage of firearms in personal vehicles parked on university grounds.

An MU law professor challenged the UM System rule barring firearms in 2015, claiming it runs afoul of a 2014 state constitutional amendment that revised the gun-rights provisions of the Missouri Constitution. However, the Missouri Supreme Court subsequently ruled in several unrelated cases that the 2014 amendment merely restated gun-rights protections as they previously had existed and made no substantive changes or created new rights.

Although a trial judge in 2019 upheld the entirety of university rule, which had existed for many years prior to the 2014 amendment, the three-judge appellate panel said a portion of the rule barring firearms that are stowed out of sight in locked vehicles on campus is pre-empted by state law that specifically allows state employees keep weapons in their vehicles. The panel agreed with the trial judge that the rest of the rule passed constitutional muster.

“We conclude that to the extent the Rule prohibits state employees from having a firearm that is not visible in the employee’s locked vehicle on state’s property while the employee is conducting activities within the scope of his or her employment, the Rule is in conflict with (state law) and is therefore void,” Judge W. Douglas Thompson wrote for the court. “Our holding does not extend to the remainder of the Rule, which also prohibits the possession of weapons and explosives, and the ‘discharge of firearms, weapons, and explosives on University property,’ as such prohibitions are not in conflict with (state law). Likewise, our holding does not impede the University’s further regulation of firearms where such regulation is not in conflict with the express mandatory directive of (state law).”

The case, is State ex rel. Eric Schmitt v. Mun Choi. It is expected to be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.


Do you have ideas for the Missouri Democratic Party? Want to join our new Ideas Committee? Head to and fill out our form.  


MDP VAN Training (updated info): Are you a local or state committee member, candidate, or someone else who’d like to use VAN? Sign up my last weekly VAN training next Thursday with yours truly by clicking here. We’ll cover the basics of VAN and beginner level material from 6:00 – 6:45 and from 6:45 – 7:30 we’ll dig into more intermediate level uses of VAN and specific attendees questions and needs. 

As a reminder, if you need to get set up with VAN, email and be sure to check out our VAN and data resources webpage at for training materials, VAN user agreements, pricing and policies, etc. 

MDP Training Resource – Portal: The “Portal” is the MDP’s online library of resources where you’ll find training docs, guides, and best practices for candidates, county committee members, volunteers, and staff. Get trained up today and make an impact in your community!

Access the portal here but please allow a couple of days for approval as MDP staff vets all requests to make sure everyone accessing our materials is a Democrat in good standing.

Within the Portal, a great resource you’ll find is the MDP’s County Committee Manual – a 60-page comprehensive guide for Central Committees and Clubs. Topics include: goal-setting, how to organize and run meetings, manage conflicts, how to run phone banks, how to recruit volunteers, how to be active online, and tons more.

2021 Train the Trainer (T3) Webinar Program: The DNC Best Practices Institute is excited to announce the launch of the 2021 Train the Trainer (T3) Webinar Training Program! 

T3 is a free six-week, twelve-part webinar course covering several aspects of grassroots campaigning. This program seeks to expand the skills of progressive activists and volunteers, by ensuring that comprehensive training is free and accessible for Democrats all over the country. 

Click Here to Register for the 2021 T3 Program!

T3 trainings are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET, from March 16, through April 22. The deadline to register is Sunday, March 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Participants must complete all twelve sessions in order to receive certification. All training sessions will include a skills test to track retention and participation. Trainings will be recorded and made available following each session via a weekly wrap-up email, delivered on Fridays. 

CLICK HERE to submit your registration for the 2021 T3 Training Program! Registration will close at 11:59 p.m. ET, on Sunday, March 14.

February Activist Challenge: Our monthly Activist Challenge is designed to build infrastructure for Democratic campaigns and organizations through grassroots engagement. Are you ready to accept the challenge, and help elect Democrats up and down the ballot?!

This month, we are challenging our #BPItraining family to help spread the word about our 2021 T3 program before the March 14 deadline!

  • Click HERE to sign up for our 2021 T3 program, today! 
  • Find two of your fellow Democrats, and ask them to sign up with you.
  • Bonus: Post on your social media accounts about the T3 program, and encourage even more of your friends to participate! Below is some sample language: 
    • “Are you ready to help elect Democrats? Register today for the DNC Best Practices Institute Train the Trainer (T3) Webinar Training Program! T3 is a free course covering several aspects of grassroots campaigning. Learn more and register here:
  • Once you’ve completed the challenge, take a selfie and create a post on social media that includes the following information:
    • Your state or territory
    • A brief explanation of how you completed this month’s challenge
    • The hashtag “#BPItraining” 
    • And don’t forget to tag “@TheDemocrats” and “@MODemParty” 

DNC Training Newsletter: Sign-up for the monthly DNC/ASDC BPI Newsletter to stay updated on training opportunities available to activists, volunteers, candidates, and more.

DNC Training Resources: Sign-up for the DNC/ASDC BPI Victory Vault for on-demand training resources, tailored towards activists, volunteers, entry-level staff, and candidates! New members added each Wednesday. 

Bookmark and check out the new training calendar made available by our friends at GAIN Power, to share public training events and stay updated on training opportunities from our allies and partners. 

NDTC February Trainings: The National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) national virtual training in February will be focusing on Making a Plan. All trainings can be registered for here. Additionally, here’s a pdf version, please feel free to share far and wide. 

NDTC Local Leaders On-Demand Courses: NDTC’s curriculum team has been working nonstop to develop on-demand trainings for our local leaders (county party chairs, caucus leaders, etc). We believe these trainings are critical in a year like 2021 to strengthen and grow our local level infrastructure after a long presidential election. Already launched courses I want to highlight include: 


Political Job Resources: The DNC Talent Bank is a resource to help state parties and campaigns find the best applicants for a wide range of positions, from field organizers to digital directors to communications staff, and more. 

If you are interested in pursuing a campaign position, please sign up for the DNC Talent Bank in order to receive information on available positions and other career opportunities. All levels of experience and fields of interest are encouraged to apply.

Also check out LeadMO and HiredUpMissouri.

2021 Membership Drive: We held an online election in December to choose our 2021 membership card and the “I vote blue in beautiful Missouri” card one won! We’re now in our 2021 Membership Drive. Membership dues are due for committee members (state and local) and elected officials, and optional for other Missouri Democrats. 

If you have any questions or if you’re unable to pay due to hardship reasons, please let us know at  

Membership Dues

U.S. Congress & Statewide Offices: $1,000
Executive Committee Member: $500
DNC Member: $500
State Committee Member: $200
State Representatives & State Senators: $100
County and City Elected Officials: $50
General Party Members: $35
General Party Members Youth (35 & under) & Senior Rate (65+): $25

You may pay online here or by mail to: Missouri Democratic Party, 4218 Roanoke Rd., Suite 306, Kansas City, MO 64111

Find Your Local Democratic Club! We all know politics is local, so if you haven’t gotten involved with your local-level Democratic club, check out our new Local Clubs page on our website to get connected! If your active club isn’t on our page yet, shoot us an email with your contact info, name of president, and website or social media accounts to and we’ll make sure supporters can find you!

Merchandise! Stay cozy, show off your politics, and support the Missouri Democratic Party all winter long! Check out our merch store today!

Submit Your Event! Is your club, committee, or allied group hosting an event? Let us know so we can publicize it on our website. A sense of community is even more important these days as we’re staying home and not gathering together in person. Submit your event here!

Stay in Touch! Don’t forget to follow the Missouri Democratic Party on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! Know folks who might want to receive this newsletter? Get them signed up here!


We’ve started planning out our 2021 calendar so please hold these tentative dates on your calendars (with more to come): 

  • March 2: Charter city elections
  • March 10: Voter registration deadline for April 6 elections
  • March 15-19: Missouri Legislature spring break
  • March 27: March Missouri Democratic State Committee Meeting
  • April 6: Municipal elections & HD45 special election 
  • May 22: May Missouri Democratic State Committee Meeting
  • July 24: Annual Truman Dinner & July Missouri Democratic State Committee Meeting
  • September 18: September Missouri Democratic State Committee Meeting
  • November 20: November Missouri Democratic State Committee Meeting


Lauren Gepford
Executive Director
Missouri Democratic Party

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

The Missouri Democratic Party holds the distinction of being the oldest political party in the United States established west of the Mississippi River. For the last century, we’ve led the fight for working families. Today, we’re organizing in communities across Missouri to protect and build on our progress.

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