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Speaker to Dems: ‘Don’t be like Missouri’

Staff Writer | February 18, 2024 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Blue Missouri Executive Director Jess Piper shared a warning with attendees of the 2024 Democracy Dinner: “Don’t be like Missouri — do not go down this path.”

Piper said she nearly attended the Kansas City Super Bowl parade Wednesday with her daughter, but thanked God they weren’t able to go. One person was killed and 21 were injured in a mass shooting that took place where she and her daughter would have been during the celebration.

“In Missouri, we don’t have an age requirement to carry a long gun in public,” Piper told a crowd of 175 guests Saturday night. “That’s what’s going on in places like Missouri.”

Piper, who is also the host of the “Dirt Road Democrat” podcast, was the keynote speaker at the sold-out Democracy Dinner at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn. The dinner is the largest annual fundraiser for the Kootenai County Democrats.

Piper said Missouri’s governor signed the Second Amendment Preservation Act into law, nullifying all federal gun laws in the state.

“Folks’ll say, ‘You can’t do that, because federal law supersedes state law,’ and I say, ‘Come to Missouri, because they did it and it’s still in the courts two years later,'” she said. “Our governor signed that law and guess what he did on Wednesday afternoon? He ran from gunmen that he helped arm. He ran with police officers protecting him rather than running to the victims.”

She said when opening the local newspaper Saturday morning in North Idaho, she saw that Idaho is looking to Missouri as an example for gun laws.

“That is not what you want to happen in your own state,” Piper said. “They’re having Lincoln Days over there, I can tell you what — they ain’t the party of Lincoln, because there were no Confederate flags in the party of Lincoln.”

Speaking about public education, Piper said Missouri has a “voucher scheme” and Idaho is headed in the same direction. Missouri has an Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program that Piper said sets the infrastructure for vouchers. Idaho presently has a bill going through the legislative process that, if approved, would give tax credits for certain private school tuition and education expenses.

“They talk about market solutions, they talk about competitions in schools,” Piper said. “The kids aren’t hamburgers. It doesn’t work like that … Vouchers are a scam. Vouchers are a way for private schools to take money from public schools.”

Piper said a tinfoil hat is not needed to see the damage Republicans are doing to different aspects of society.

“We are the pro-life party and this is how you know,” she said. “We believe in a liveable wage, we believe in bodily autonomy, we believe in preschool, public school, we believe in universal pre-K, we believe in universal health care … We’re not pro-birth, we are pro-life. When they are here, we will take care of them and move on as a community.”

Also during the event, Phil Ward and Ruben Miranda were both honored with the Art Manley Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the late former Idaho senator and conservationist. Teresa Borrenpohl and Sarah Glenn received Rising Star Awards.

    Former legislative candidate Teresa Borrenpohl, right, says a few words Saturday night as she and Kootenai County Democrats Communications Committee Chair Sarah Glenn, left, receive Rising Star Awards, announced by First Vice Chair of the Idaho Democratic Party Evan Koch.