My speech to the 8th Ward Independent Democrats Association Tonight*

“I’m Annie Rice, and I’m running to be your committeewoman. I was interested this role because of my passion for the community – for conversation and relationships within our community that lead to better lives for us all. I come at this from a place of love, for people, our city, and our region, believing that it is only when we remember and include all of our neighbors, especially those whose voices aren’t in positions of power, and keep even those outside of our ward as a part of the conversation, that we truly do what is best for our community. I keep saying that word “community” because it’s true that the 8th ward has some of the most involved and consistent voters in the city. We are people who care deeply about our ward and our city, and I’m interested in moving us even further down that path – to examine the ways that we do business, the way we talk to, and about our neighbors, and the ways we build relationships here, so that we’re really looking at this as a holistic community to continue to move us forward.

One of the things we’re seeing in the city is division – along the Delmar divide, among racial and socio-economic differences, between police and the people, from one ward to the next, and it seems we’re having a hard time being present enough with each other to build those relationships so that we know we aren’t acting just for our own good, but for the good of all. That might mean partnering with and inviting in other organizations to speak to and with us, or thinking about moving our meetings to a space that is more accessible and friendlier to those who might not feel safe in a church, or even opening up our meetings to more free-form discussion and debate. I think it’s worth looking into what is dividing us, and trying to see what would need to be true for us all to come to the table together, even if we disagree.

The other reason I’m running is because I believe we have a great opportunity with the energy surrounding this election cycle to bring in new people. Also, the tensions in our city have brought about a desire to be involved in the process, and one way to bring people in off the streets is to give them a place to be heard and to participate. I think the democratic party is best positioned to do that, but it’s going to take work, and a new way of looking at things. And on a central committee level, I’m interested in working in the party to have a democratic farm team of sorts – of new and energetic leadership ready to move into positions when they are vacated, and maybe even reach into Republican districts and take some seats back in Jefferson City – but that’s going to take new involvement, lots of hard work, and a willingness to change the ways things have always been done.

I can’t do these things alone, and this organization has a long history of engagement in the ward, and I think is best set up to work on some of these goals. I am looking forward to serving the community with you, and I hope for your vote tonight, and on August 2nd.”

I did not get the votes to secure the endorsement, but that was not unexpected. That doesn’t change anything for me, and I’ll keep working hard to meet you, help you get to know me, and truly bring more people to the table so that we are all represented well. See you soon!

*(Give or take a few words and phrases, I didn’t read it directly.)

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