35th Annual Truman Gala
Special VIP Session
General Admission Doors Open
Welcome from Chairwoman Dee Evans
2022 Senator Ronnie DePasco Public Service Award - Senator John Joseph Rizzo
Senator John Rizzo represents Independence, Sugar Creek and Historic Northeast Kansas City within Jackson County (District 11) in the Missouri Senate. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November 2010 and chosen by the House Democratic Caucus to the position of Minority Whip in 2013 and again in 2015. In 2016, voters elected him to the State Senate where he was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2020 and chosen by the Democratic Caucus to be the Minority Floor Leader of the Missouri Senate.
Among his many legislative and personal accomplishments, Sen. Rizzo sponsored and passed the legislation to bring the World Cup to Kansas City, which is expected to generate nearly $700 million in economic activity for the state, while showcasing Kansas City on the world stage.
Sen. Rizzo also wrote and passed the law to release innocent Missourians who have been wrongfully imprisoned. Most notably, this new law led to the freeing of Kevin Strickland after more than 40 years of wrongful imprisonment and will pave the way to bring more of the wrongfully convicted home.
Sen. Rizzo is a 1999 graduate of St. Pius X High School. He received his B.A. in Political Science and his B.A. in English in 2004 from Rockhurst University. He is a member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Columbus Park. Sen. Rizzo has previously served as the 11th Ward Committeeman for Jackson County. He is a former board member for Truman Medical Center and a former member of the Kansas City Planning Commission.
Sen. Rizzo currently resides in Independence with his wife Lindsay and their daughters Sofia and Ella.
2022 Harry S. Truman Award - Man of the year - In honor of Paul Wrabec
Paul Wrabec spent his adult life fighting for the ideals of equality, workers, and union rights within his beloved Democratic Party. Beginning his lifetime of local politics, Paul started at the bottom by losing his first race for local committeeman. Never afraid of losing he'd say "you can't catch fish without getting your bait wet." He succeeded in 1978 and later became the Committee's longest serving chairperson of the last century by being elected chair in 2016, 2018, and 2020. Paul also became Sugar Creek's youngest City Alderman ever elected.
During his time as Chair, he presided over historic fundraising success, electoral wins despite changing political winds across the state, and much more that has made the JCDC a model for other Democratic organizations throughout Missouri.
Paul was a rare figure in party politics. He found ways to make peace with all factions of those he represented. While he was very proud to serve as Chairman, he never took credit for the success of others. His gentle style of management, which usually included a good story from his rich history, was well appreciated by all of those around him.
We sadly lost Paul in October of 2021. He is greatly missed by us all.
2022 Harry S. Truman Award - Woman of the year - Shellie Montemurro
Shellie Montemurro proudly serves as Committeewoman for Prairie Township, which includes Lee’s Summit, Greenwood, and Unity Village in Eastern Jackson County. She has served as Historian on the executive committee of the Jackson County Democratic Committee since 2020.
She has been involved in the education and training of Democrats across the state and has served two terms as the co-chair of the Education and Training Committee for the Missouri Democratic Party, she served as a DNC Biden delegate in 2020, and is chair, and a founding member, of the Lee’s Summit Democrats.
She started her career in politics through grassroots organizing, where she worked to increase constituent engagement with progressive organizations at the state and local levels. Over the years her main passion and focus has been on growing the Democratic brand in Eastern Jackson County. She has worked tirelessly to elect candidates that share our beliefs up and down the ballot, from local school board members to President, including helping to flip a long held Republican house seat in Lee's Summit in 2018. She also is leading the charge on JCDC’s voter registration efforts in Jackson County.
Shellie is a Partner at TJP Strategies, where her focus is on red to blue races, with an emphasis on first-time and female candidates. She resides in Lee’s Summit with her husband, Bryan.
2022 Sybil Daniels Young Democrat of the Year Award - Da-Nearle T. Clarke “Chiefy”
Da-Nearle T. Clarke also known as Chiefy, born to the union of D. Pat Clarke, Jr. and Gwendolyn Garrett-Clarke, was raised in Kansas City, Missouri and a graduate of Central High School class of 2011.
Growing up as a youth he often assisted his grandparents Daniel & Juanita Clarke in the community; whom both served the community long-term as committeeman and committeewoman. Always desiring to learn the concerns and needs of the people, he has gained the knowledge and experience along with the passion to serve his community.
Mr. Clarke is a community servant. He serves on The Jackson County Democratic Committee as 7th Ward Committeeman; Life Coach/Mentor with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City; Founder and Director of Clarke Sports Academy for the youth. Da-Nearle, Owner and C.E.O. of Clarke and Sons Funeral Home is currently the youngest funeral services owner in the country at 29 years old.
2022 Harry Wiggins Award for Best Democratic Organization - Freedom, Inc
Freedom, Inc is celebrating 60 years of progressive leadership through their support of political candidates and analysis of issues through community-focused advocacy and intentional representation. They are the oldest African-American Democratic organization in Missouri and in the nation. Their mission continues as they work to impact public policy decisions, foster economic development, and generate wealth to improve the quality of life for African Americans. Freedom is at the forefront of supporting candidates best qualified to represent our community and registering and mobilizing African-American voters.