2016 was a historic year for the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society. In fact, we accomplished ALL of our external political goals in our service geographies of Wards 8, 9, 15 and 20, as well as in State Rep. Districts 78 and 80, which overlap the above wards.
While we cannot and do not endorse candidates, WES members can and do run for public office. And we are fortunate to be blessed with many qualified members and leaders who have been pushed to the foreground to serve in public office.
Joining WES member State Rep. Clem Smith (85th District) in the House are State Reps. Bruce Franks (78th District) and Peter Merideth (80th District). Both Franks and Merideth ran positive, grassroots, issue-based campaigns and handedly defeated establishment candidates.
Franks’ race was especially hard-fought, as he challenged the Hubbard family, a political dynasty well known for its questionable absentee ballot program. Ultimately, after an FBI investigation and the removal of a Board of Elections supervisor, a re-vote was called with an overwhelming victory for Franks. Merideth’s race was also hard-fought, as constituents faced a barrage of lies, misinformation and deceit from the opposition’s camp.
WES member, Rasheen Aldridge, was also successful in his bid to become the 5th Ward Committeeman, also after a legal battle against the Hubbard family. WES member Alderwoman Cara Spencer (Ward 20) was instrumental in the minimum wage campaign (see page 3) and introduced a BOA bill to reign-in the obscene profits of the pay-day loan industry.
In addition to these victories and campaigns, WES leaders, Nicholas James and Shuron Jones, now sit on the executive boards of Wards 8 and 15, respectively, while Rebecca Bolte, was elected treasurer of the Cherokee St. Business Association, which overlaps Wards 9 and 20. WES leader, Al Neal, is involved in the fight for A New 9th – an insurgent, grassroots effort in the 9th Ward; WES member, Dan Guenther, is challenging the incumbent there, Ken Ortmann, a career politician who voted against increasing the minimum wage.
Bruce Franks Jr. (D 78, left) and
Peter Merideth (D 80, right),
embrace after Franks’ victory was announced.
Rasheen Alderidge, Committeeman Ward 5, at
Bruce Franks’ Watch party.
Cara Spencer, Alderwoman Ward 20, at
Bruce Franks’ Watch Party.