top of page

37th Annual Truman Gala


Special VIP Session 


General Admission Doors Open


Welcome from Chairwoman Dee Evans

Dinner Service


Speakers and Honorees including:
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II

Mayor Quinton Lucas

Missouri Democratic Chair Russ Carnahan

Truman Woman of the Year - Jessica Podhola

Truman Man of the Year - Jerome Barnes

Ronnie Depasco Public Service Award - Ingrid Burnett

Sybil Daniels Young Democrat Award - Rebeca Amezcua-Hogan

Senator Harry Wiggins Award for Best Democratic Organization - South KC Dems


2024 Harry S. Truman Award - Woman of the year - Jessica Podhola

Jessica Podhola is a passionate advocate for labor rights, social justice, and progressive politics. Her career spans multiple roles and way too many campaigns. Beginning as a precinct captain for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign, at 12, in Topeka, where she learned about building a multiracial democracy for the first time and igniting her lifelong commitment to progressive politics. She later worked on President Clinton’s first and second campaigns, the Clinton White House, and the Gore campaign of 2000 as Field Director for Los Angeles County, where she ran a team of 50 and hundreds of volunteers reinforcing her belief in the power of a strong field game.


Jessica’s Missouri journey includes her leadership role from 2007 to 2014 as the Executive Director of the Jackson County Democrats, where she honed her skills in grassroots organization and electoral strategy. She transitioned to the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) from 2014 to 2022, focusing on worker’s rights and accessibility in building trades. Serving as the Deputy Campaign Manager of the 2018 Right to Work Campaign and led the effort to bring Maternity Leave to IUPAT members nationwide. Since 2022, Jessica has been the Executive Director of MOVE and MOVE Action, the organization that is leading initiatives to raise the minimum wage and bring earned sick time and working to roll back the Abortion Ban in Missouri.

Residing in Independence, Missouri, with her husband, Scott, and her two youngest three children, Ronan and Sophie, Jessica continues to work hard everyday to change Missouri for the better. Today, she thanks the Jackson County Democratic Party for awarding her, recognizing her impact and leadership within Missouri’s progressive political ecosystem.


MemberPhoto (3).png

2024 Harry S. Truman Award - Man of the year - Jerome Barnes

Jerome Barnes was born on a small farm in Holmes County Mississippi. 

He graduated from Lexington Attendance Center High School and joined the United States Army.  Where he served honorable three years active service and three years of active reserve service in the rank of Sergeant.

Jerome moved to Kansas City Missouri in 1979, where he attended Longview Community College. Barnes was hired by the United States Postal Service as a letter sorting machine operator, then served as an expediter until making Supervisor. Barnes served as a manager of distribution operation until he landed a job in Human Resources with the Labor Relations Department.  In 2009, Rep. Barnes retired from the United States Postal Service after 30 yearsof service, ten as a Labor Relation Specialist.

Rep. Barnes was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives for District 28 in 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022. He represents Raytown and parts of Kansas City, Missouri.  Rep Barnes is an active member of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus. Appointed by the Governor to the Missouri School Safety Task Force, he also served as the Ranking Minority Member on the once-every-10-years Special Committee on Redistricting for Congressional Seats. As a legislator, Barnes has worked hard to attract and train candidates to help break the super majority in addition to his legislative work promoting Democratic values and fighting harmful bills that would further damage the working class.

Rep. Barnes resides in the City of Raytown with his wife Donna of 38 years; they have three children, and one granddaughter.  Rep. Barnes enjoys helping his surrounding community, served as Raytown Sports Association president for two years, served on the Raytown C-2 School Board for 6 years, Our Lady of Lourdes School Advisory Committee and the MU Extension for three years. He served 3 years on the Shepherds Center of Raytown Board, is an honorary member of the Raytown Rotary, a member of the Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce, the Raytown Democrat Association Vice President and Jackson County Democratic Committeeman for Brookings Township.

Rep Barnes has coached youth sports, refereed football, basketball and volleyball for the past 31 years.  He is an average photographer and loves taking pictures. But most of all, enjoys spending quality time with his five-year-old granddaughter.

House Floor Special Session 17 copy.JPG

2024 Senator Ronnie DePasco Public Service Award -  Representative Ingrid Burnett

Ingrid Burnett, represents one of the most diverse areas of states in Kansas City that includes the Historic Northeast, Columbus Park, City Market, Westside and the Riverfront (District 19). Elected to her first term in November 2016, Representative Burnett will finish her final term in December of 2024.

Rep. Burnett’s career in education spanned over 30 years as a music teacher, principal, and counselor in the Kansas City area Catholic and Independence Public School Systems. Her public service includes the Kansas City Public School District School Board, the Greater Kansas City United Way Board of Directors, the University of Missouri Extension Council in Jackson County, and the Jackson County Democratic Committeewoman for Ward 11.

Rep. Burnett was born in St. Louis, and graduated from Webster Groves High school in 1971. She received her Bachelor Degree in Music Education/Music Therapy from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1979, and in 1998, a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in Kansas City. Representative Burnett has lifetime certification to teach elementary and secondary music and as an elementary school counselor in the State of Missouri.

Rep Burnett has been honored with many awards including the 2022 MNEA Horace Mann Friend of Education Award, the 2022-23 Missouri School Counselor Legislator of the Year Awards, and most recently the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education Government Advocate Award.

Rep. Ingrid Burnett is married to former Rep.John Burnett who served from 2002-2010. Their three children, eight grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren all live in Missouri.


2024 Sybil Daniels Young Democrat of the Year Award - Rebeca Amezcua-Hogan

Rebeca Amezcua-Hogan (she/her) is a first-generation Jewish Mexican-American, member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and millennial residing in Kansas City, MO’s Westside, where she serves on the neighborhood association board. She was born in Los Angeles, California to undocumented immigrants and was raised in Morelos, Mexico before returning to the States where she moved frequently between Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; and rural Missouri. Rebeca learned English as a second language to Spanish late in primary school and later went on to graduate summa cum laude from Park University. She spent her early childhood learning to navigate the cultures and systems of both Mexico and the United States, where she served as translator and interpreter for her undocumented mother. Rebeca’s experience as a pseudo-immigrant to both Mexico and the United States has provided her with a unique perspective on inequality and the experience of immigrants, both documented and undocumented.


Rebeca is a dedicated community member, activist, and proud Kansas Citian who serves as a Commissioner on the Board for the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, (LCRA) Board Member on the Board of the Enhanced Enterprise Zone, and a Commissioner (appointed by Mayor Quinton Lucas) on the Advisory Board for the Chapter 353 Program for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. She was elected Vice-Chair of the LCRA by her fellow commissioners.Rebeca also previously served as a Council Member to the Ad Hoc Housing Sub-Committee of the Kansas City, MO Health Commission and as an inaugural DEI Council Member for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.


Rebeca’s focus issues include supporting labor and policies that expand the rights of workers to organize, language access, expanded protections for immigrants and for the LGBTQIA+ community, justice in land-use, affordable housing, actions to protect the environment, and expansion of quality public transit.


Rebeca is an active member of the storied New Reform Temple of Kansas City, MO. You can regularly see her sitting in on Kansas City, MO City Council and Jackson County Legislative meetings.


2023 Harry Wiggins Award for Best Democratic Organization - South Kansas City Democrats

Identifying the need to grow the Democratic brand on their home turf, long-time activists and Jackson County ward representatives Geoff Gerling and Laura Loyacono early last year formed the South Kansas City Democrats. A progressive
club, it is committed to promoting Democratic candidates and values in South Kansas City and beyond.

The response from Democrats at initial club meetings confirmed a fierce hunger in South Kansas City for their opportunity to become involved in party activism and become agents for change. When it was proposed that the club hold quarterly meetings, attendees insisted the meetings be held monthly. Bylaws were drawn up and ward committee man Jonathan Rand was elected president. Gerling was elected vice president, Loyocano treasurer and Kathy LaFrensen secretary.

The club brings in speakers to enhance members understanding of local and statewide issues and encourage involvement in the 2024 campaigns. A special meet and greet with gubernatorial candidate Crystal Quade drew an overflow crowd at a local restaurant. To address stagnant voter turnout and Republican ambitions in South Kansas City, the club has broadened its footprint. It reserved a booth at the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce block party and met scores of Democrats expressing thanks for the club being there. A spirited band of marchers hoisted the club's banner in the Martin City St. Patrick's Day Parade.

While immensely appreciative of the Best Organization Award at this year's Truman Gala, the club and its work are just getting started.

bottom of page