Missouri’s likely Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Jason Kander, characterized incumbent Republican Roy Blunt Saturday night as a Washington insider who’s no longer in touch with his home state.
The senator’s constituency these days is made up of fellow senators and lobbyists — not the people back home.
“He’s represented Washington instead of Missouri for a long time now,” Kander told a Truman Days audience of about 500.
Kander, the current Missouri secretary of state, mentioned Blunt’s multi-million-dollar Washington home and record of flying on corporate jets. He even questioned Blunt’s interest in holding a Senate leadership position. Blunt is vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference.
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Missouri’s senator should be poised to “take on party bosses” when he must. Holding a leadership post precludes that, Kander said.
“Senator Blunt’s been in Washington so long that he can’t do that any more,” he said.
Blunt is regarded as the early favorite to win re-election in a state that’s trending Republican. Kander, though, is viewed as getting off to a fast start in fundraising and has gained national notice as a competitive challenger.
Kander also knocked Blunt for opposing the nomination of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, of signing a controversial letter to Iranian leaders that said an international nuclear agreement could be voided after President Barack Obama leaves office, and for suggesting that student lifestyles are a big reason that higher education debt is so high.
The 34 year old said it’s time for the next generation to assume leadership roles because few people are pleased with how the current generation is handling the nation’s business.
Another speaker, Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, spoke about the need to raise the minimum wage to enable more people to stay out of poverty.
“These are the people who need us,” he told the crowd of Democrats.
The evening’s featured speaker, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, also addressed the nation’s wealth gap, pointing out that the richest 1 percent of Americans control 43 percent of the nation’s wealth.
They need to be made to be more responsible, she said.
“Why,” she asked, “are the rich so selfish?”