By Joe Wilson
This week Better Together hosted the first meeting of BTYP, Better Together Young Professionals. Twenty men and women from around the area got together to talk with each other about their vision for the St. Louis region, about the problems they see in their particular communities, and about the difficulty they have in trying to explain to friends from out of town why St. Louis is the way it is.
The men and women in attendance were a mix of newly minted lawyers, non-profit employees, and other professional fields. They might not have come together except for their interest in how the region operates and how things might be made better. Many had already heard a speaker from Better Together give a presentation at a neighborhood association or professional organization meeting.
Jeff Smith was the guest speaker. Yes, that Jeff Smith. The Jeff Smith that went for Dick Gephardt’s congressional seat against Russ Carnahan. The Smith who had a documentary made about his campaign ( ) Smith also went to prison for things that happened during his campaign. He spoke about the political strength and power that the St. Louis region has but doesn’t flex in the Missouri legislature because of the regional belief in the lines that divide the community. He expressed the belief that St. Louis would be much stronger, and more successful, if we worked with each other instead of against each other.
His message wasn’t something new for the people in the room. The new members of Better Together Young Professionals were there because they already knew, already believed, that the St. Louis region is capable of something much more and that too much time has been spent trying to win petty regional fights. Now these young men and women – these early and mid-career professionals and future leaders in the region – have a call-to-action to which they can respond.
If you are interested in joining the Better Together Young Professionals organization, please email [email protected] .