For the most part, the St. Louis County executive’s contest between Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream is sucking up most of the electoral oxygen on the county’s political scene.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the only contest with significant consequences. Incumbent Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, is seeking re-election against Republican committeewoman Jennifer Bird, the only county council race in a competitive district.
In a warning to area Democratic leaders, a number of north St. Louis County mayors and other African-American elected officials announced Wednesday that they’ve formed a political coalition aimed at increasing the clout of minority voters.
“Recent events have shown that our voice has diminished,” said St. Louis County Council chair Hazel Erby, D-University City, who served as spokeswoman. “That ends today.”
Erby said the coalition is “serving notice that we are not going to support candidates just because they have an insignia of a donkey behind their name.”
It’s been well over a month since a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. And for the most part, the St. Louis County Council was shielded from the unbridled anger over the 18-year-old’s death.
That reprieve ended on Tuesday.
The council’s chambers were packed with supporters of Brown and his family, with the vast majority of the crowd giving the county’s top executive and legislative officeholders a blazing array of criticism.
The St. Louis County Council authorized up to $1 million to be spent to help Ferguson residents pay for expenses incurred during nearly two weeks of unrest.
Without opposition, the council authorized the county to spend up to $1 million to help Ferguson residents who felt the impact of riots and looting. For more than two weeks, the city was under almost constant turmoil after Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown earlier this month.
Mike Jones, an adviser to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, speaks during Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting. Jones offered a scathing rebuke to Councilman Steve Stenger's criticism over his actions on the state Board of Education.
Before he was a St. Louis County councilman, before he was an attorney and a certified public accountant, Steve Stenger was the lead singer in a rock and roll band that toured the area in the 1980s.
Now Stenger is traveling around St. Louis County again as a Democratic candidate for county executive in the Aug. 5 primary. And he believes that many county residents will sing along to his latest political tune: “It’s time for a change.”
The St. Louis County Council melted down on Tuesday during consideration of minority participation legislation.
It was the latest sign of boiling election year tensions between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and members of the council aligned with Councilman Steve Stenger, a fellow Democrat vying for county executive.
St. Louis County’s Democratic and Republican central committees have chosen their nominees for the Aug. 5 special election to fill the vacant seat on the County Council created by the death of Kathleen Burkett.
The Democratic nominee for the 2nd District post is a familiar one: Dr. Sam Page of Creve Coeur, a physician and former state representative who was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2008. He lost to incumbent Republican Peter Kinder.
Voters will go to the polls in August to fill a vacant seat on the St. Louis County Council.
The county council gave final approval Tuesday night to setting an Aug. 5 election date to fill the 2nd District seat. That slot on the seven-person council became vacant after the death of Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett.
“That’s 150,000 people without representation,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. “And that needs to be addressed.”
St. Louis County Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett has died at the age of 68.
Burkett, D-Overland, was diagnosed with cancer last year while serving as chairwoman of the St. Louis County Council. She continued to serve as a councilwoman while undergoing chemotherapy, but she had been absent from meetings the past few weeks.
In a statement Sunday, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley praised Burkett as someone who “took care of her constituents like they were her own family.”