Towards the end of August, Just Moms STL hosted two candidate forums about the West Lake Landfill with a combined attendance of 120 different community members. Both events invited the candidates from the Democratic and Republican Party in races for Congress, the Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and the Missouri Senate and General Assembly. In total, 26 candidates (some repeats) showed up to both events to tell community members what they would do if elected about the West Lake Landfill.
Both Republicans and Democrats at the event agreed on the need for removal of the radioactive waste present in the landfill and almost universally supported H.R. 4100, the bill transferring jurisdiction over the cleanup from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers. In an era where bipartisanship is rare to see on any issue, the realization across the aisle that something must be done on the West Lake Landfill is notable and refreshing. Jason Kander, a Democrat running for the Senate, pledged to community members, “you’ll be a top concern for me” and “my wife reminds me that you are why I am running for office, because she is a mom too.” Similarly, Mark Matthiesen, a Republican running for the Missouri State Senate, argued that the EPA isn’t proactive enough on the issue and pushed for relocation for the families.
All candidates also pledged to send a representative to Just Moms STL community meetings, an important show of support for the organization and the larger Bridgeton community. The fact that candidates for public office across the state saw the need to address the community speaks to its power. I’ve been working with Just Moms STL for over three months now and I am continually impressed by their resolve and determination to fight back against Republic Services (the owner of the West Lake Landfill) and even the government itself in order to protect themselves and their children. It is through events like the West Lake Candidate Forums that Just Moms STL has demonstrated that it is an important force in the Bridgeton community, one I strongly feel will succeed in removing the radioactive waste present in their community.