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Clark County Man Running For Congress 

By Editor | March 6, 2020

By Mike Scott

Charles West of rural Clark County has filed as a Democrat candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for Missouri’s Sixth District. He is one of four Democrat’s challenging incumbent Republican Sam Graves. 

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Charles West of rural Clark County.  

On Wednesday, February 25, West took a step few will ever take:  he filed as a candidate for Missouri’s Sixth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

West is one of four Democrat candidates challenging Republican Sam Graves for his seat in Congress.

“There’s a lot of division in the country.  We see it on a daily basis.  I don’t see anyone trying to work together,” West said.

“I’m a Democrat because back in the day, Democrats stood for the working man.  But everything shouldn’t be about party.  We have to work for people, not the party.  We need to sit down, work together, and find solutions,” West added.

West serves on the Clark County R-1 School District board of directors, and education issues are important to him.

“The federal government needs to provide more funding for education,” West said.  “Teacher’s don’t make near enough.”

He added that the State of Missouri needs to support better teacher pay to keep quality teachers in the state.

West also supports more trades classes, noting several excellent career fields, such as auto mechanics, electricians, carpenters. pipefitters and welders that don’t require a four year college education.

“If we don’t supply that knowledge, they’re going go somewhere else after high school.  They’re not going to stay here.”

Having grown up in rural Missouri, West sees plenty of needs in rural areas, including broadband internet access, county roads and incentives for rural manufacturing.

“We also need more trade deals for farmers. We need to work as a country so farmers aren’t having to rely on bailouts,” he said.

On immigration, West sees the need for legal immigration.

“Every factory I visit says they can’t keep workers.  A lot of companies that I work with are getting people from Mexico in to do good-paying jobs, because nobody else wants to do them,” he said.  West believes immigrants should work on becoming U.S. citizens.

West is a strong believer in the Second Amendment, and bristles at the suggestion of confiscating legally owned guns.

“I’m a gun person.  I’ve always been a gun person.  I’m a hunter, my dad is a hunter and I taught my daughter to hunt.  I believe in Second Amendment rights all the way,” he said.

“I do believe we need more in-depth background checks for getting a new gun,” he added, noting background checks should include mental illness.

“A bad thing is, when people see a ‘D’ next to your name, they think you’re going to be taking away their guns.  We shouldn’t be taking anyone’s guns,” he said.  “It’s a Second Amendment right.”

West is 40 years old, and is a 1998 graduate or Clark County R-1.  He attended Culver-Stockton College in Canton, and played football until a career-ending knee injury.  After that, he lost his scholarship and entered the workforce.

He now works as an Account Manager for French Gerlman Electric in Quincy, Illinois.

“I’m in factories and construction sites day in and day out.  I help with automation for machines and electrical transmission.”

West is once divorced, and now has a fiance, Melissa, and daughter, Hayden.  His father, Jim West, is from the Milan and Green City area, and he still has family there.  His mother, Kathie Roberson, hails from Lewis County.  Charles is a member of the Eagles Club in Canton, and the Masonic Lodge in Keokuk, Iowa.  

“I’m just a regular person that wants to work for people,” he said.  “A lot of the people in office today aren’t there for the people. They’re in it for the party and a paycheck,” West said.  “It shouldn’t be like that.”

As a new candidate, West is still getting started, looking for a campaign manager and a reliable treasurer.  A campaign website is under construction.  

West can be reached at charleswestforcongress@gmail.com.

NEMO man running for Congress as a Democrat

by John Garlock

Wednesday, April 8th 2020

ST. PATRICK, Mo. — A northeast Missouri man wants to become the newest congressman from the Heartland.

Charles West of St. Patrick, Missouri, announced his intentions Wednesday to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

West has taken the first steps on his journey to try and become a democratic congressman representing Missouri’s 6th District.

After filing his candidacy papers in Jefferson City, West is taking to the campaign trail to discuss the issues that concern the district, which encompasses the entire northern portion of the state.

Born and raised in northeast Missouri, West said he is running as a working-class candidate who is fighting for the needs of everyday people.

West said his position of ‘people over party’ will bridge the gap across the aisle to make sure that Missouri’s issues are brought to the national forum.

The candidate is currently campaigning and fundraising.

You can learn more about west by searching @charleswestforcongress on Facebook.

Clark County man aims to unseat longtime Congressman Sam Graves

By Ethan Colbert Herald-Whig

Posted: Apr. 10, 2020 12:01 am

 

ST. PATRICK, Mo. — The number of Democratic candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a fixture of Congress for nearly two decades, in Missouri's Sixth Congressional District has increased to five.

Charles "Charley" West, 40, announced in late February that he intended to challenge Graves, who represents all of Northern Missouri in Congress as the district stretches from the Missouri River valley to the Mississippi River. The district includes Clark, Lewis, Shelby, Monroe, Marion, Ralls and Pike counties. West, who serves on the Clark County R-I School Board, said he doesn't consider himself a politician but the divisiveness and the lack of productivity in Washington prompted him to enter the congressional race. West is employed as an account manager for French Gerleman Electric in Quincy, Ill.

"Over the last several years, we have seen this political division emerge not just in Missouri but all over the country. Both parties are guilty of doing it, of putting their political parties over the needs of the American people. I think I can be a part of the solution by putting people over parties," West said. "In terms of leadership, Sam Graves has done almost nothing for this district during his almost 20 years of being in Congress. He has had a couple of commemorative coins made and had some post offices renamed."

Graves, of Tarkio, a Republican, is facing an interparty primary challenge from Chris Ryan. Should Graves emerge unscathed from the primary, he would face the winner of the five-person race for the Democratic Party's nomination and Jim Higgins of St. Louis, a Libertarian Party candidate, according to Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

In addition to West, the other candidates seeking the Democratic Party's nomination are Ramona Farris of Kansas City, Gena L. Ross of Platte City, Donald Robert Sartain of St. Joseph and Henry Martin of Kansas City, who unsuccessfully challenged Graves for his seat in 2018. Graves defeated Martin, winning 65% of the vote to Martin's 32%.

West acknowledged that the days of the Democratic Party's candidates having a stranglehold on the former Ninth Congressional District, known as the Bloody Ninth due to intense intraparty battles for congressional nominations, are gone. Yet, he said he feels strongly that a Democrat can still have electoral success in the district. A Democrat has not represented the region in Congress since 1996, when Harold Volkmer lost to Kenny Hulshof.

"People ask me why I am a Democrat, and I tell them that I believe the Democratic Party is the party for the working person," West said. "I am a moderate Democrat, who sees good things about people from both sides of the aisle. Everything shouldn't be about party; we have to work for the people, not the party. We need to sit 

down, work together and find solutions."

West describes himself as "very strong advocate" for issues such as public education, health care, preserving family farms, improving broadband internet access, economic development, transportation funding, better trade deals for manufacturing and agriculture, wildlife conservation, and flood control and mitigation.

"I know some people are likely going to see the 'D' next to my name and not vote for me because of what they think I stand for," West said. "I encourage them to really see what I am about as a candidate. Understand that Sam's way of saying and doing things is completely different than my way of saying and doing things."

West hopes to make public education one of the cornerstones of his campaign.

"Right now, the federal government is pushing more and more private charter schools. Public schools are not getting the funding they should for the classroom, for busing, for the amount of money per student. Instead, they are using new testing procedures to push the narrative that schools and kids are failing and that we need charter schools," West said.

A product of Clark County's public schools, West said the right of children to receive a quality public education is the backbone of the American dream.

After graduation, West attended Culver-Stockton College in Canton, where he was a collegiate athlete until he had a career-ending knee injury. After that injury, he entered the workforce. He said his job with French Gerleman gives him a better understanding of employment opportunities in the district. "In my opinion, the federal government needs to be working hand-in-hand with state government to help bring jobs back to rural areas, including Northeast Missouri," West said. "Take Holcim in Pike County, where one day company officials just up and moved the company."

The cement company, which had operated in Clarksville since 1967, was closed in 2008. West said the federal government should use tax incentives to keep companies in rural areas and to bring companies to these areas hit hardest by job losses.

West said he had hoped to bring his grassroots campaign to each of the 34 counties in the district, but those plans have been nixed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He said he plans to campaign in each county ahead of the scheduled Aug. primary and, as the nominee, ahead of the Nov. 3, general election. In the meantime, West said he will be using his campaign website, charleswestforcongress.com, and social media accounts to reach out to voters.

10/26/21:  VoyageKC Magazine.  Inspiring Stories Series!

 

Daily Inspiration: Meet Charles West

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charles West.

 

Hi Charles, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.


I grew up on a small farm in rural northeast Missouri where we raised cattle, pigs and horses. Growing up, I learned the value of hard work whether it be working on our own property or helping the neighbors with their animals or bucking bales of hay and straw. I carried those values of hard work into college where I had the great opportunity to play football on a scholarship.

After a career ending knee injury, I joined the workforce where I worked my way up to the company and position that I currently have. My job consists of being on job sites and factory floors day in and day out working with multimillion-dollar jobs. I have the great privilege of working with the many unions that are involved with the many facets of our careers.

This career is ever changing in technology and practices and it’s something that can break a lot of people if you aren’t up for the challenge.

In my personal life I have a great fiancé and a beautiful daughter that have always stood beside me with everything I have worked for.

I wanted to be more involved in my community and have an effect on the betterment of my daughter’s education and decided to run for the Clark County School Board. I am currently on my second term and It’s great knowing that we are all there for the common goal to help our students and teachers.

After speaking with administrators and teachers, I realized that there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that need major changes on the state and federal levels. This in turn led me into researching what our current state and federal elected officials actually do to help our students, teachers and the rest of their constituents.

Seeing what is and isn’t being done is what led me to the decision to run for Missouri’s 6th District U.S. House Seat.

This journey has had a major impact on my life and I have had the great opportunity to meet the great people all across the District!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?


When I first made the decision to run last year it started out smooth for the first month or so. Then Covid hit and everything changed. Covid has changed the entire campaign process. It went from door knocking and person to person meetings to Zoom and Facebook lives. This really made it difficult to get your name and platform out to the constituents and made it even more difficult for fundraising.

I made sure to attend county/club meetings to make sure to get my plans out to as many people as I could. I did this along with attending as many County Commissioner meetings across the District as possible. I decided if I couldn’t see everyone face to face I wanted to make sure to see what was happening in each county across the District.

This led to the knowing what our District actually needs.

We are now in our second year of Covid but are able to start meeting people in person. This has made a major impact on how I spread my platform and plans to each and every person in the 6th District.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?


I work for French Gerleman/Agilix Solutions which is based out of St. Louis, MO. French has been in business for 98 years and specializes in Automation, Electrical, Data, Power Transmission and Safety. As an Account Manager my job is to specialize in all of these areas. While doing this, I deal with multimillion-dollar jobs daily.

I am proud to say that customers have turned into friends and I have been able to make sure that they are taken care of daily and have what they need to keep running and in turn keep their customers in business and happy.

What sets me apart from others is that I consider each and every one of my customers as partners. So in other words, If I fail we all fail. I make sure to tell my customer we all need to work together to succeed and prosper.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?


My advice for those who are just starting out would be to make sure to be your own cheerleader. Believe in yourself. Have faith in yourself. Do your research. Ask questions. Network, network, network.

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