Craig is in!

It's official — Craig O'Dear is a candidate for U.S. Senate!

Here are some excerpts from his announcement speech:

I AM an independent candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri. And I AM IN because I want to serve the people, untethered to a political party. The leaders of these political parties are producing division and gridlock and what we need is common ground and a functioning government.

I AM IN because I want to bring greater economic opportunity to all of Missouri, especially the small towns and the rural areas, and the urban areas that have been left behind.

I AM IN, particularly, to change the way Washington works by serving as Missouri’s first truly independent Senator. We need innovation in the United States Senate. We need it to return to being the world’s greatest deliberative body. We need it to lead us toward solutions in healthcare, immigration, environmental protection, our exploding national debt, gun violence, and so many other critical and pressing issues.

Our Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, over 242 years ago. Since then, countless patriots have served this country, and they have sacrificed so much, including many of them with their lives. Our country has encountered countless challenges, and they were always met and overcome by people willing to step up and sacrifice and serve. This is the American way.

We’ve seen the power of independence. In the last year, look at the situations where we’ve had a close vote. It’s the people, the Senators, who retain some little bit of independence who have refused to simply hand their vote to their leadership to deal at their discretion. Those are the people that have the power today for what little that gets done.

But here’s what’s clear: the leadership of these two caucuses, these two parties, they’re not going to innovate voluntarily. And that’s why we are running this campaign. That’s why we’re running as an independent. And did I mention this: electing one more R and one more D is not going to change anything.

The question I often get is, “Can you win? Love your message. You’re right about everything. You’re right about all of it. We need all of these things, but in order for you to lead us there, Craig, you’ve got to win. Tell us you can win.” Well, that’s a question that I have confronted several times in my professional career. The reason I’m standing in front of you is that I’ve had a level of professional success that allows me to do it. And that professional success has been built on winning cases that everybody said we couldn’t win. The answer is: We absolutely can win this campaign.

I’ve been humbled and inspired by the support we’ve received—people are stepping up to support us financially, with their time and their energy. I’m inviting every Missouri voter to take a close look, ask the tough questions, go to our website, research it, use your best judgment, and make your own decision about who will best serve the people of Missouri in the Senate.

By joining our effort you will be joining an historic movement to bring unity, common sense and independence back to the Senate, back to Missouri, and back to this country.

I’m reminded of a Victor Hugo quote: There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

Let’s go make this happen!

Craig O'Dear for U.S. Senate