36th Annual Truman Gala
Special VIP Session
General Admission Doors Open
Welcome from Chairwoman Dee Evans
2023 Senator Ronnie DePasco Public Service Award - Councilwoman Katheryn Shields
Katheryn Shields first came to prominence as the manager of Alan Wheat’s upset victory in his first campaign for Congress. She then served two terms on the City Council – under Mayors Berkley and Cleaver – where she worked hard to protect equal rights and equal access to jobs and housing. She was the champion of the “1% for Art” Program that helped jumpstart the thriving KC arts scene.
Katheryn was elected three times as Jackson County Executive, where her “Asset Management” program resulted in better and safer roads and bridges and restoration of the Downtown Courthouse. She focused on Mental Health improvements, funding Crisis Management Training for police officers to make both police and civilians safer, creating a Mental Health Unit in the new jail annex and funding Mental Health courts to reduce recidivism.
2023 Harry S. Truman Award - Man of the year - Geoff Gerling
Geoff is a sixth generation Missourian who has lived his whole life in Jackson County. In and around
state and local politics for 20 years, he has knocked on thousands of doors for dozens of candidates,
advocated for many progressive causes, and has worked at every level of a political campaign. In 2004,
he led an effort to add LGBT protection into the University of Missouri System’s non-discrimination rules
and regulations, years before other schools of their size. After volunteering on multiple Democratic
campaigns and a successful run as a non-profit fundraiser, he was named Executive Director of the
Jackson County Democratic Committee in 2016. During that time, he oversaw the most financially
successful years of the committee’s history, never lost a seat that was held by a Democrat and gained a
seat in the State House all during some of the most challenging years for the party in the state’s history.
In 2021, he was appointed to and later elected as the Ward 22 Committeeman in South Kansas City
where he has helped found the SKC Democratic Club with surrounding Ward leaders.
Geoff is a graduate of Raytown High School, holds degrees in Interpersonal Communication and
Psychology from UMKC and has been a homeowner near Martin City for the last 15 years. He constantly
looks angry according to most people. He lives with his exceptionally talented wife, Dr. Thuylinh Pham
and fashionable daughter, Gemma. Currently he serves as Executive Director of the Grandview
Education Foundation, is Chairman of the 5 th Congressional District, Chairman of the Political Affairs
Committee for the Missouri Democratic Committee and is on the Board of the Kansas City Regional
Transit Alliance. Geoff is extremely honored to be the youngest recipient of this award and join his name
among many giant names in the history of our party in Jackson County. He once ate 40 buffalo wings.
2023 Harry S. Truman Award - Woman of the year - Hon. Gail McCann Beatty
When Rep. McCann Beatty was 18, she was elected to her first seat as a committeewoman for the then 27th Ward. In 1992, she once again was elected as a committeewoman, this time to the 17th ward and in 2014, she was elected as a committeewoman to the 16th Ward. Rep. McCann Beatty was an active member of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus and former Chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, whose purpose is to educate and finance Missouri’s Urban Youth. She is also a board member of Jewish Family Services, which provides essential human services for people facing challenges in everyday life or times of crisis — regardless of faith, age, culture or lifestyle.
In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. McCann Beatty has worked for 25 years as a general certified appraiser in commercial and residential real estate at McCann Beatty Valuation and Consulting in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. She is also an Office Manager/Claims manager at the Holiday Law Firm Inc. since 2014 and has served as Regional Manager for Primerica Financial Services since 2004.
As the House Minority Leader, Rep. McCann Beatty worked to attract and train candidates all over the state in addition to her legislative work promoting Democratic values and fighting harmful bills that would further damage the working class.
2023 Sybil Daniels Young Democrat of the Year Award - Andrew Huber
Andrew Huber was raised in Independence, Missouri and graduated from Truman High School in 2016.
He earned the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 228, represented his high school at Missouri Boys’ Sate
in 2015, and was an Academic All-American with the National Speech and Debate Association.
Nominated by Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver for admission to the United States
Military Academy at West Point, Andrew graduated from Cadet Basic Training and was accepted into
the Corps of Cadets. Later deciding he wished to pursue a non-military career, Andrew went on to
complete one semester of general education courses at Metropolitan Community College – Blue River
before transferring to the University of Missouri, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with degrees
in history and political science. Under the direction of Dr. Keona Ervin, Andrew spent his senior year at
Mizzou conducting original, independent research toward the completion of an honors thesis in history.
His thesis, which examined the Black Freedom Movement in Kansas City during the late 1960s and
early 1970s, earned him additional, departmental honors. While at Mizzou, Andrew received the Ruth
Earline Taylor Allen Scholarship, the William Wilcher Scholarship, and the J. G. Heinberg Scholarship,
awarded for academic excellence in arts & science, history, and political science, respectively. A
longtime champion of animal welfare, Andrew was the founder and president of an animal rights student
organization that received official recognition from the university.
Andrew’s formal introduction to politics came in summer 2019, when he served as a Congressional
Intern at Congressman Cleaver’s Kansas City District Office. After finishing his undergraduate
education in May 2020, Andrew was invited back to Representative Cleaver’s office for a Congressional
Fellowship. Upon completion of his Fellowship, Andrew became a Community Affairs Liaison & Press
Aide within the Congressman’s office, a position he maintains to this day.
While continuing to work full time in the Congressman’s office, Andrew became deeply involved in
local Democratic campaigns during the last election cycle. As the Field Director for Manny Abarca’s
campaign for the Jackson County Legislature, Andrew oversaw the campaign’s ground operations up
until Abarca’s victory in a three-way primary, at which point Andrew became a Field Organizer for the
Jackson County Democrats. Working tirelessly on evenings and weekends, Andrew was part of a broad
effort to break the Republican supermajority in the Missouri General Assembly. By recruiting and
training volunteers, making phone calls, and canvassing door to door, Andrew directly engaged several
thousand voters ahead of the general election. Knocking doors in every corner of eastern Jackson County
until the sun went down, Andrew helped ensure the re-election of State Representatives Robert Sauls
and Keri Ingle, as well as the victories of Aaron Crossley and Kemp Strickler, the latter of whom flipped
a seat previously held by Republicans in a closely contested race. Statewide, Democrats gained three
seats in the Missouri General Assembly and achieved their largest caucus numbers in a decade.
Andrew now lives in Kansas City, Missouri and plans to remain closely engaged in local Democratic
2023 Harry Wiggins Award for Best Democratic Organization - Grain Valley Democrats
Grain Valley Democrats was inspired by former JCDC Committeewoman Jan Brill. She began bringing together a group of individuals who felt isolated from other Democrats and knew that we needed to do 'something'. From the start, they have put action to their Mission Statement, making a positive difference in the community by registering people to vote; educating about politics and issues; bringing people together in a spirit of discussion and commonality; fostering and supporting candidates; participating in our communities through fair booths, demonstrations, as well as community forums; etc. It is their firm belief that grass roots action can truly make a difference. All of this has been done towards our ultimate goal to protect our democracy.