Sadly, my home state of Missouri has been trending increasingly red over the past couple of decades, but even with that right-wing tilt, we still manage to elect the occasional good guy. Currently we have a Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill, who votes with her party about half of the time, and a full-time Democrat in the governor's office by the name of Jay Nixon. The Democratic Party in Missouri also has possession of the office of Secretary of State, a position held by Jason Kander - a young man who at the tender age of thirty-three is the youngest statewide office holder in the entire nation.
Kander, a former Army captain who served in Afghanistan, was sworn in as our Secretary of State in January of 2013. This past week he announced plans to try to move up in the political world. Jason Kander will take on incumbent U.S. Senator Roy Blunt in 2016.
Blunt, at 65, is a mere one year shy of being twice Kander's age. 'Ol Roy has served two decades in Congress and before that two decades in other Missouri political offices - including his own stint as our Secretary of State. He knows from personal experience that young people can and do get elected to public office - sometimes even by bringing down old lions - so one must suspect that he will take this young whippersnapper very seriously. Besides, Blunt has a huge stockpile of corporate cash just waiting to smother out any brushfires of political discontent.
One thing I like about Mr. Kander is that he is truly a new face - and a new name. He is not a member of one of the tired old political families who tend to feel entitled to hold our offices. Interestingly though, no sooner had he made his announcement about running for the Senate than a member of a Missouri political dynasty did jump in to run for the office Kander will be vacating. Jay Ashcroft, the son of our former governor and U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, thinks that a statewide office might be an appropriate place for him to launch his career as a politician.
Jason Kander will have a tough row to hoe if he is successful in bringing down an entrenched politician like Roy Blunt, but Kander appears to be aggressive enough to possibly get the job done.
We Missourians can only hope - and work hard to make it happen.
Jason, you have my vote and my enthusiasm!