May 13h, 2004--- Former Presidential candidate Gov. Howard Dean and Democracy For America endorsed Jeff Smith for Congress today citing Smith's energy and his progressive ideals. Smith was one of only two Congressional candidates nationwide to get DFA endorsement. The endorsement is Smith's third in two weeks and confirms Smith's status as the choice of area progressives in Missouri's 3rd Congressional District.
Democracy for America is the grassroots progressive group begun by Presidential candidate Gov. Howard Dean. The group has 600,000 members nation wide and is throwing its full support behind Jeff Smith's candidacy. Today Governor Dean announced "Dean's Dozen," the first twelve candidates whom will be aided by DFA's nationwide fundraising and grass roots activist network.
Governor Dean wrote in an email to the members of Democracy For America that Jeff Smith is "Campaigning in a 10-way primary for the opportunity to fill retiring Representative Richard Gephardt's seat in Congress, Jeff is an articulate young progressive running an energetic grassroots campaign that - with your help - could surprise the pundits."
Smith said that Democracy For America shared his progressive values and vision for change in America. "I am very proud that Howard Dean endorsed my candidacy. Like Governor Dean, I believe that this country needs more leaders willing to confront the right wing and stand up for progressive values like universal health insurance and the protection of our civil liberties. " Smith said.
Smith also noted that Democracy For America's grassroots organization served as a model for his campaign. "Democracy For America shares the values of my campaign, as well as the tactics. I believe that democracy must be cultivated from the bottom up. Each and every citizen has a voice and a vote, and cultivating those voices at the community level is the best way to change America. We have been taking my positive, progressive message to the voters of the 3rd District at community meetings and neighborhood coffees, one voter at a time."
Smith, 30, has distinguished himself as an award-winning teacher of political science and public policy at Washington University and UM-St. Louis, as co-founder (with Susan Uchitelle and Sarah Smith) of The Confluence Academies, a group of acclaimed public charter schools in the City of St. Louis, and as a longtime youth basketball coach. Though this is his first run for office, Smith has been involved in several local and national Democratic campaigns, including a stint as Deputy Political Director for Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential campaign.