May 5, 2020

Luke Barber: Candidate for Missouri House of Representatives District 89

Luke Barber is challenging the current incumbent Dean Plocher in the 2020 general election. Luke is unopposed in the August 4th Democratic primary. He is running to bring greater accessibility and inclusion for the disabled, to force government accountability and remove dark money from politics, and to correct the lack of response to COVID-19 as a public health concern that is costing us lost wages, poor healthcare, and the death of loved ones.

Luke Barber graduated from Kirkwood High School in 2014 and earned an Associate Degree from Saint Louis Community College in 2018. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work & Public Policy from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). He was one of the founders of the Able-Disable Partnership at UMSL which is a student club focused on advocating for students with disabilities, especially for needed building modifications. Luke Barber is a disability self-advocate, who has a diagnosis of autism. He is very familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. While not a lawyer, he has won several discrimination cases as a plaintiff. He also has presented several sessions at multiple national conferences about disability and self-advocacy.

Luke is currently employed by Schnucks Markets Inc. and works on the front line of the Des Peres Store, serving those who are sheltering at home. He is proud to be a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union local 655, and an Eagle Scout of Troop 313; his Eagle Project was building a training course for the Puppies for Parole, a rehabilitative program in which prisoners train dogs for adoption in coordination with the Missouri Department of Corrections and Local Animal Shelters.

Luke said, “I have come to understand the struggles workers face every day from slave wages, eroding collective bargaining rights, and most recently, the challenges that come with providing a safe working environment and customer experience while we navigate through this pandemic. I know the importance and invaluable benefits unions bring to the workplace. I am also a member of a vast community of individuals with mental and developmental disabilities whose contributions to our communities and the region often are ignored and marginalized. Being autistic, I understand the marginalization of my disabled brothers and sisters in our community and, with your help, can organize a district-wide coalition of community members to make sure our voices are not only heard but are respected and valued.My opponent has raised massive amounts of donations from special interest groups who are fighting to further marginalize members of our district and allow our workplace to be less safe. My opponent has also failed our district with an abysmal record for not voting on crucial legislation due to his poor attendance. Where is Dean Plocher? We must stand together to fix our failing healthcare system and to provide safety in our communities and workplaces. I will fight to expand social safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid. I will work to ensure that members of our district with disabilities are treated with respect and value in the workplace, and fight for a living wage.”

The lines have been drawn. We must act to ensure that our communities and the 89th district are protected, and our voices are heard at the State Capital. Let’s stand together to make our votes count in Jefferson City.