On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jenny Simeone welcome state Rep.-elect Cora Faith Walker to the show for the first time.
Walker recently won a Democratic primary to represent the 74th District, which takes in portions of north St. Louis County. Because she has no Republican opponent, she will take office next year. (Even if she did have a GOP opponent, her district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so she most likely would have still won. )
Walker was born in St. Louis, but grew up in Alabama. She returned to the region to go to attend. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the school, she received her law degree and her health law certificate from Saint Louis University. She also received a master’s degree in public health from Washington University.
Before she ran for the state House, Walker was a policy associate at the Missouri Foundation of Health. She also was an instructor of health law at the Saint Louis University School of Law and an adjunct instructor at Lindenwood University.
Here’s some of what Walker had to say during the show:
- Walker said she had a number of key mentors, including St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones. She says that female African-American politicians have made big strides in local and state legislative offices. “And I really feel what we are seeing in and around this area especially is a group of dynamic women of color who are supporting each other and really understanding that we need to be at the table.”
- She expects “right to work” will be a big issue when she enters the legislature next year. "We need to have a strong working class to have a strong middle class to try to help even begin to tackle these growing poverty rates,” she said. “I am going to do everything that I can possibly do to keep Missouri from becoming a right-to-work state.”
- As someone who’s pushed for Medicaid expansion for the last few years, Walker is well aware that getting that policy accomplished isn’t going to be easy as long as Republicans are in charge of the legislature.
- Walker said she’s accentuated a positive message throughout her tenure in politics, both in her campaigns and through social media. “I have been very fortunate that I have been able to stay in my policy-wonk lane,” she said. “And to be completely candid with you, I don’t see myself really going out of that.”
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jenny Simeone on Twitter: @jnnsmn
Follow Cora Faith Walker on Twitter: @corafaith4mo
Music: “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel