On this week's edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome the newest member of the St. Louis County Council -- Councilman Mark Harder.
The Republican from Ballwin grew up in Normandy and eventually became a real estate professional. He was elected to the Ballwin City Council in 2011 and worked to mitigate the impact of a grocery store in the West County suburb.
After long-time Republican Councilman Greg Quinn decided not to run for re-election, Harder entered a three-person GOP primary for the council's 7th District seat. He narrowly won over Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul and former Ballwin Mayor Walt Young to represent most of western St. Louis County on the council.
Even before he was sworn in, Harder spent time observing the county council at the height of the protests over Michael Brown's death. He entered office at a time of great transition within St. Louis County government, especially since St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is appointing new people to high-ranking posts.
Harder’s observations on the podcast included:
- He believes that the County Council has acted as well as it could when it comes to responding to the unrest in Ferguson. He cited various efforts to help poor residents and the council’s willingness to listen to irate protesters who showed up at meetings.
- He supports an NFL team in St. Louis, but is wary about using any public money to help build a new stadium. Harder prefers that the project use private money.
- He is concerned about the county’s finances. His top priority is getting the county on sounder fiscal footing. He presented a list of the top 10 recent county contracts. Although the official combined cost had been $1.3 million, overruns bumped up the combined costs to the county to almost $6 million.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel
Harder does not have a Twitter account, but he is on Facebook.