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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rep. Rory Ellinger, One of MO's Most Progressive Voices in House, Won't Run in 2015

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Page 2 of 2

Rep. Rory Ellinger's full statement regarding not to run for reelection, Monday, March 3, 2014:

I am announcing that I am withdrawing my candidacy for re-election

For the past four years I have been privileged to represent the people of Missouri's 86th District in the General Assembly. I have had the pleasure of working with dedicated public servants on both sides of the aisle and community leaders and activists in the communities that comprise the 86th District.

However, with great regret, today I am announcing that I will withdraw my candidacy for re-election. Late last week I received information from my cardiologist that in the future will require me to redirect my focus toward my health.

I am announcing my withdrawal today in order to provide as much time as possible for residents of the 86th District to consider running for this seat; filing closes March 25. However, my office remains open and we will continue legislative work until my term ends in January 2015.

I hope that whomever is chosen by the voters will carry on my commitment to helping the vulnerable and the powerless, to addressing issues of injustice and unfairness, and to representing the needs of all Missourians.

I am proud of the work we have done in the legislature during the past several years, including work on juvenile justice, the criminal code and healthcare.

I am disappointed that we have not yet expanded Medicaid to the hundreds of thousands of Missourians without coverage, and that we continue to spend more time on fringe issues than on core issues like jobs and healthcare.

Making good public policy is hard work. We live in a time of partisan polarization, but that is not the entire story. There are people of good will on both sides of the aisle with whom I share values and priorities, and work for the common cause.

My advice to my successor is that you can make a difference as a member of the minority party if you focus more on what Missourians need and stand on your principles. Seek out areas of agreement to move our laws forward, even a small amount.

People often have asked me whether they can make a difference as one single legislative vote, or as a member of the minority party. I tell them my vote has mattered.

In 2013 had just a very few votes changed, HB 253 would be in place today, bankrupting public education. Had a single vote changed, today we would criminalize law enforcement officers who enforced federal laws regarding machine guns. Had one vote changed we would institutionalize conspiracy theories regarding sharia law and the United Nations. When votes on legislation have razor thin margins, each individual vote becomes more, not less important.

The 86th may comprise the most progressive district in Missouri; that carries with it an obligation to stand for the rights of the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized.

Democrats believe our country is stronger when we all stand together, under a tent that crosses boundaries of geography, race, gender, religion, class, ability, and education. We believe we are a resilient nation that is at its best when we help each other. And we believe that active participation in the political system, beginning with an unfettered right to vote, is why democracy is thriving around the world.

I urge voters young and old, black and white, female and male, gay and straight to consider sharing their talents with their neighbors in the 86th District. There is much work to be done, and your state needs you.

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