A few dozen people came together at the Heckart Center meeting room on Monday afternoon to help Eastern Commissioner Israel Baeza kick off his reelection campaign.

Katie Shannon moderated the event, introducing special guests State Rep. Brad Pollitt and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who both spoke to the Republican crowd supporting Baeza.

KSIS spoke with Baeza following the event and asked about his support from family, friends and the community.

“Definitely very humbled by the support we received today. You know, we had a packed room on a Monday at 3 p.m. We had county officials, we had our state officials, we had the lieutenant governor here showing his support. So again I think that's a testament to the work that we've been doing in the past. And we're looking at continuing that work moving forward. And it's not even about Israel, it's about Pettis County. And I want to make sure that whatever I'm running on, and the policies that I'm implementing, are echoing the concerns and needs of our constituency,” Baeza said.

“I am blessed to have a lot of people who wear many hats. My wife (Pearla) is a very important part of this. We have a lot of support, a lot of people in this community who have stepped up, and we are a small, grass roots campaign. But you know, like I said, we're going to win it the old-fashioned way. We're going to go door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood, precinct to precinct, and we will asking to earn people's votes, just like we did four years ago,” Baeza said, adding that “we were blessed to able to win with 54% of the vote in a three-way race. We won every single precinct, both in the rural areas and in the City,” Baeza recalled.

“I have no doubt that with their support, we'll be able to do that again, and continue the work we started four years ago,” Baeza told KSIS.

“We've worked hard to make sure we are a true voice of the people, making sure that we are accessible and transparent ... making sure we are investing heavily in our infrastructure, and making sure that our rural way of life is protected, making sure that we stay with low taxes and also protecting our land,” Baeza stated.

Baeza said he understand rural life in mid-Missouri.

“Absolutely. I wouldn't change it, I wouldn't have it any other way. We are proud to live here,” Baeza said of his family, several members of whom attended Monday's event. “And we're proud to raise our family here,” referring to his wife and two young daughters.

“You know, my family's success is tied to the success of this community, so obviously, that's an incentive for me to keep working that much harder,” Baeza concluded.

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Baeza faces two other candidates in the Aug. 6 primary, including Leonard Salmons and Bob Ramey, both of them Republicans as well. No Democrats filed for the position.

Presiding Commissioner Bill Taylor and Western Commissioner Jim Marcum both attended Baeza's campaign kickoff event, showing their support for Israel.

Marcum also faces two Republican challengers for his county seat, including Mark E. Rieckhoff and Mark A. Edwards, who attended Monday's event at the Heckart.

The National Anthem was sung by Smith-Cotton New Score members Serenity Debates and Nahiyah White to start off the event.

Baeza Reelection Campaign Kickoff

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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