Politically Speaking: Bell expounds on bid for St. Louis County prosecutor | St. Louis Public Radio

Politically Speaking: Bell expounds on bid for St. Louis County prosecutor

Jul 19, 2018

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell comes back to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about the race for St. Louis County prosecutor.

The Democratic official is taking on incumbent St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, one of the longest serving local officials in the entire state. Because no Republican signed up to run, the winner of the Aug. 7 primary will serve a four-year term.

Bell is an attorney and college professor who was elected to the Ferguson City Council in 2015. The races for three council seats got outsized national attention, when they occurred just months after a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown.

Before running for the Ferguson post, Bell unsuccessfully sought a St. Louis County Council seat. He has experience as a municipal judge and prosecutor, and has played a major role in setting up the North County Police Cooperative, which serves seven municipalities in north St. Louis County.

While McCulloch has raised the most money in the race, Bell has received more financial support than any other prosecutorial contender in years. He’s also received support from several national groups, including Color of Change, and backing from a number of township organizations.

Here’s what Bell had to say during the show:

  • If he’s elected, Bell would make sure certain assistant prosecutors were assigned to specific parts of St. Louis County. “I want them to be familiar with the communities that they’re representing,” Bell said. “What Chesterfield needs is not what Wellston needs is not what Ferguson needs.”
  • Asked about how he would be able to combat McCulloch’s experience as prosecutor, Bell replied: “The head prosecutor drives policy and the culture of the office. There’s a lot of good attorneys in there. But what the prosecutor does decide is what direction that office is going to go in, what we’re going to prosecute and what we’re not.”
  • Bell said the St. Louis County prosecutor should take a leadership role in areas that are not in their direct jurisdiction. “If I get the honor of serving as the next county prosecutor, I believe that everyone should have access to quality and affordable health care,” he said. “I’m going to use my platform to push for those things. And you say ‘that might not connect to the county prosecutor’s office.’ Well, healthy communities are safer communities.”
  • He said he’s heartened that he’s been able to get township endorsements from all over the county, as well as some national organizations that are interested in the contest.

McCulloch is slated to record an episode of Politically Speaking in the coming days.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Wesley Bell on Twitter: @Bell4STL

Music: “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica