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Ozarks Tonight: Knowing SWMO's Democratic Minority

[The following is a transcript of the Ozarks Tonight segment that has been lightly edited for our OzarksFirst.com readers.]

BRIAN
We're back tonight with our friend Wes Zongker, who is the Chairman of the Green County Democrats. Wes, thanks for being here. 

ZONGKER
Good to be here. 

BRIAN
All right, so a big question on my mind, and this might not be a big question on yours, but I'm curious about it: how it is it working as the political minority in such a conservative and Republican area? 

[WES ZONGKER
CHAIR, GREENE COUNTY DEMOCRATS]

ZONGKER
It's a challenge, obviously, and it seems like it is more of a challenge all the time. Our political environment, the attacks, the negativity, seems to be growing, and we don't have an opportunity to even have a debate anymore because we are the political minority in Missouri right now.

We don't even have a chance to have the discussions. We're just completely shut out, and sometimes that's frustrating for us. 

BRIAN 
So when I say "how's it work for everybody," I mean more in your organization. Do you get disillusioned as a group, do you sit around and . . .

ZONGKER
Actually, I think it's emboldened us a little bit. I think probably more in the last year, especially, we have a lot more people who are calling our office. We have a lot more people who are willing to volunteer. So, actually, I think it's emboldened people in this area. 

BRIAN
So let me ask you this, not to get too deep into strategy, but how do you bring your group to parity with Republicans, because it wasn't always so Republican around here, right? So what's your strategy? What do you do? 

ZONGKER
So for us, it's a matter of trying to rebuild that, trying to figure out how to get our message out. That is difficult for us because, obviously, it costs money to do that, and we are not a party that has a lot of wealthy donors that are, you know, pouring money into the party. 

So we're dependent upon the small donations: $10, $20, you know, from people in the area to try to build the party, and to and to find a way to get our message out. 

BRIAN
And what's your message? 

ZONGKER
Well, I think if you look at the message as a whole, we believe that government should work for everybody. We are at such a disadvantage because it seems like so many of the policies are exclusionary that the Republicans have been passing that it cuts a lot of people out. And we believe that, you know, everybody should have the same opportunities, and that government should work for everybody, and in many instances, the government should help to protect all of its citizens. 

BRIAN
All right, Wes Zongker, he is the chairman of the Democratic Party for Green County. 


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