34th Annual Truman Gala

 

5:00pm
Special VIP Session 

6:00pm

General Admission Doors Open

 

7:00pm
Welcome from Chairman Paul Wrabec 

 

8:00pm

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2021 Senator Ronnie DePasco Public Service Award - Hon. Scott Burnett

 

Scott Burnett was elected to the Jackson County Legislature in 1998, reelected in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014, and has been involved in politics and government for much of his professional life. Following his early service in the Congressional Offices of Representative Bill Roy and Representative Martha Keys in the mid-1970's, he served as Field Coordinator in the 1976 Carter/Mondale Presidential Campaign. From 1977 to 1980 Burnett served as Special Assistant in the Carter White House, working in the areas of scheduling and advance preparations for the President. He also served as Missouri State Coordinator for the Carter/Mondale Re-election Campaign in 1980.

Scott was elected Chairman of the Legislature 4 times and has always been known as a consensus builder and problem solver, both in and out of his role in government.

From 1981 to 1993 Burnett worked for PPM, Inc., an environmental clean-up company, serving first as Marketing Director, then as Vice President of Operations. Currently, Burnett is a partner in SGB Communications, Inc., a firm assisting clients with communicating their views to government officials, key opinion leaders, the media, and the general public.

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2021 Sybil Daniels Young Democrat of the Year Award - Scott Casey

Scott Casey is the Chair and co-founder of Blue Springs Democrats, a new organization working to unite Democrats for positive change in Blue Springs, Missouri, and the founder of Green Blue Springs, a group advocating for strong local environmental policies. He is proud to have partnered with local students in 2019 to expand the Blue Springs Fair Housing Ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

Scott was a candidate for the Blue Springs City Council in 2017 and 2019, served on the Blue Springs Planning Commission from 2017 to 2020, and was elected to the Jackson County Democratic Committee in 2018 where he has served on the Voter Registration Subcommittee and as Chair of the Ballot Measure Subcommittee. In 2020, Scott served as a state delegate and on the Missouri State Convention Resolutions Standing Committee. He also represented Missouri as part of the state delegation to the Democratic National Convention as a member of the Credentials Standing Committee. 

 

Scott works at Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Research Institute as a Bioinformatics Software Engineer collaborating with researchers and scientists to better understand the relationship between the human genome and medicine. He and his wife, Amanda, have three wonderful children.  

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2021 Harry S. Truman Award - Rodney Bland & Marsha Lerenberg

 

Rodney Bland

Rodney is currently President of Freedom Incorporated, the oldest African American Political Organization unique to the State of Missouri.  Freedom Inc. celebrates its 59 years of political community elective politics in the Kansas City Missouri /Jackson County area.  He is the 3rd Bland following his mother Senator Mary Groves Bland, first woman to lead Freedom Inc, and following his brother, the former State Representative Craig Bland, as President. Rodney has been working in the interest of Democratic politics since he was 12 years old starting as a poll location worker with his father passing out ballots.


He has worked as campaign manager for several elected officials, starting with his mother’s as State Representative for the 43rd district in 1982 through her elected career including as 9th Senatorial District, the first African American woman to hold that seat, and serve over 24 years as a state elected official.  He also served as the 5th Congressional District Coordinator for the 1988 Michael Dukakis Presidential Election.  Additionally, he served as Campaign Field Coordinator for Robin Carnahan in 2010.  He continues to serve as campaign coordinator/advisor with current State Representative Ashleigh Bland Manlove.  In addition to serving as campaign manager or coordinator to these campaigns, he has served as Nominating Committee chair for Freedom Inc., as well as serving as Freedom Inc. campaign coordinator and Executive Director since 2011. 


Rodney has served in several roles throughout his career as a campaign election director, overseeing and coordinating all county, state, municipal, and statewide elections; Kansas City, Missouri, mayoral, city council, school districts and general city issues for overall electoral campaigns and community initiatives for Freedom Inc.  His experience includes Campaign Field Coordinator supervising urban area canvassers during door-to-door canvassing campaigns, coordinating strategic mapping locations, distribution of materials, and assisting in the development of philosophies for obtaining voting output from targeted areas. He has worked in the community over the years serving as a government relations specialist working in several settings including city of KCMO, city of KCK, Jackson County, state of Missouri in Jefferson City. 


In addition to his responsibilities as the president of Freedom, Inc., Rodney is currently the owner of  Bland Consulting Group, LLC., a MBE state certificated business consulting providing governmental relations, lobbyist, and government procurement activator, specializing in building and development of relationships while including interface with administrative bureaucracies and legislative overview and lead advocacy on special projects in government and corporate entities, which would include fiscal management functions, fundraising, organizing and facilitating the missions and policies of the Board of Directors, and implementing planning, management and economic development projects.


Rodney is a member of multiple boards, Freedom Incorporated, President 2021 elected, Genesis School Board of Directors, Southland Progress Committee, Community Assistance Council, President elected December 2020, Local Initiative Support Council (LISC) and South Kansas City Alliance. 

 

Marsha Lerenberg

Marsha proudly serves on the Jackson County Democratic Committee in Ward 8 where she and former Committeeman Phil Glynn have been building a team of precinct captains to be the “go to Democrat” leaders in each of the fifteen precincts.  Last year during the pandemic Ward 8 hosted online fundraisers for statewide Democratic candidates, and mobilized leaders and volunteers for distribution of 1,000 voter registration packets to likely Democratic households and 2,000 absentee voting information packets to Ward 8 voters over 65.  In addition to building their precinct captain team, Marsha and newly elected Committeeman Ben Bullington have set their priorities for 2021-2022 to make sure every single Democrat in Ward 8 is registered and casts their vote.

Marsha is the Chair of the House District 25 Committee, serves on the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee for Senate District 7, and since 2016 Marsha has been advocating for progressive Democratic policies and legislation primarily on the state and local level as a grassroots organizer and leader with Indivisible KC and Indivisible Missouri, now Missouri Action Alliance.  She is an active member of Sarah Starnes' Heartland Alliance for Progress helping to support and elect progressive Democrats and taking action on social justice issues including collecting signatures with MO Jobs with Justice for Medicaid Expansion and Clean Missouri, and with organized labor on Right to Work. Marsha has also volunteered for numerous Democratic campaigns since 2008 and is proud of her recent work for several Democratic state legislature candidates throughout Jackson County and beyond. Marsha grew up in Kansas City's Blue Hills neighborhood, attended KC Public Schools through Southeast Jr High, graduated from Bishop Hogan High School, and earned her Bachelors in Biology from Wichita State University.  Prior to full-time volunteer activism, Marsha worked for Metropolitan Community College in IT and Network User Services, retiring in 2013 after 18 years of service. When she's not out working for Democratic causes and candidates, Marsha loves visiting her daughter Caitlin, son-in-law Ryan, and grand furries in Santa Fe, NM, spending time with her sister Dana and friends, listening to live music at Knuckleheads, and cheering for our Royals and Chiefs.