With a chant of, “Fire it up, ready to go” the Pettis County Democratic headquarters officially opened its doors Saturday morning.
The building, at 500 W. 16th St. will be the base of operations during the election, said Pettis County Democratic Chair Larry Yunt.
“We’ll be open every day except Sunday for people to come and pick up yard signs, sign up for volunteer opportunities and learn more about the candidates,” Yunt said. “Pettis County is pretty dominated by Republicans, so I think we just need to keep knocking on doors and really let people know where our Democrats stand on the issues.”
During the kickoff Saturday, candidates and their representatives gave stump speeches with common themes of jobs, education and the economy. A few mentioned Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s recent comments about the 47 percent.
“Theirs is a party based on selfishness,” said Kenny Hensley, whose wife, Teresa, is running for U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Vicki Hartzler. “They say, ‘I got mine and you don’t get to get yours.’ We need to change that.”
Judy Ebers, with the Pettis County Women’s Democratic Club, said she was surprised at the turnout of about 40 people.
“I think it was great, it’s good to have such an enthusiastic crowd,” she said. “Right now it’s all about getting the message out and staying in contact with people. We may be a pretty Republican county, but there are quite a few Democrats here, too.”
Ebers said Pettis County residents would likely focus on jobs, health care, education and Medicare when going to the polls in November.
“As a county, and a state, I think we’ve done better than others in the past few years,” she said. “But there’s still work to be done. And since Pettis tends to have a higher median age group, things like Medicare and veteran’s benefits are very important to us.”
The key thing, added Yunt, was getting people out to vote.
“Nothing can change if we don’t vote,” he said.
The Democratic Headquarters will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.