New Grassroots Group To Give Citizens A Voice

Springfield-based United for Missouri Outlines Key Local, State Issues

Springfield, Mo., July 12, 2010 — As Missouri tries to recover from economic troubles that are international in scope, exacerbated by poor federal policies and made even worse by an antiquated state tax system, it’s time for a new grassroots group that can help give voice to the people.

United for Missouri is that group. Based in Springfield, United for Missouri will be headed by Carl Bearden, who had been the director of Americans for Prosperity-Missouri for three years.

Bearden said United for Missouri constitutes an evolution of grassroots organizing.

“ AFP is designed to help give you a voice, especially on federal issues. Now it’s time to fine-tune our vision and action plan for Missouri’s financial stability and growth. To do so, we need a locally driven, funded and focused group that is committed to advancing what’s right for our state. United for Missouri is that organization,” Bearden said.

UFM will concentrate primarily on state and local issues. It will operate an interactive website, where Missouri citizens can register their concerns about a variety of issues and sign petitions that will be sent to the appropriate state and local officials. The website is www.UnitedForMissouri.org.

At the state level, United for Missouri will advocate for the Health Care Freedom Act, or Prop C, which is expected to be on the ballot on Aug. 3. Missourians will be the first in the nation to cast a vote on the federal health care reforms passed by President Obama and the Congress earlier this year. UFM also will tax policy and the impact of federal programs on state spending.

At the local level, United for Missouri will push for transparency, including advocating for all local governments to put each expenditure online for a full public review. Bearden pointed to the Missouri Accountability Portal, where state expenditures are updated daily and made available to the public, as a guide (http://mapyourtaxes.mo.gov/MAP/Portal/Default.aspx).

“The main problem is lack of transparency in government,” Bearden said. “Local officials too often approve plans with little to no public input. And it’s impossible to go online to find out where taxpayer money is headed.  Sometimes that is the public’s fault for not paying close attention. The best way to ensure fiscal accountability is to make it easier for the public to see exactly how money is being spent, as it’s being spent.  Then the taxpaying public can be more informed and more involved in the process.”

“Our job will be to keep people informed, engaged,” Bearden said, “and make sure they are heard in Jefferson City, city halls and in county courthouses all across the state. We will stay abreast and keep you informed of key local issues that could have an impact on your livelihoods, liberties and values.”

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I am the co-founder of StateSurge.com; a government transparency website that strives to deliver government data in a way that is useful to the people and help citizens interact with the government. I also work in Saint Louis, Missouri helping develope the technology needed in modern politics.
Larry Stendebach

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