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Politically Speaking: Rep. Peters Seeks To Bolster North St. Louis' Economic And Education Future

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Joshua Peters to the show. 

Peters, D-St. Louis, grew up in north St. Louis and attended Beaumont High School. After graduating from Lincoln University, Peters spent several years as an aide for U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis. He also worked for an undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

After then-state Rep. Chris Carter won election to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Peters won a special election to fill out the rest of Carter's term in the Missouri House. Peters’ bid for re-election this year may have been the most contentious and consequential elections for a city office. Several aldermen and state legislators supported his opponent – Chris Carter, Sr. – in the Democratic primary, with some explicitly stating they were trying to send a message to Clay.

In the end, though, Peters won by nearly 10 percentage points. He's the first person to defeat a member of the Carter family in an election since then-Board of Aldermen President Tom Villa defeated Paula Carter in 1991. Since he has no Republican opponent in November, he will return to Jefferson City next year.

During the show, Peters said:

  • He harbors no animosity toward elected officials – such as state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, and Alderman Antonio French -- who supported Carter. “At the end of the day, we all have a job to do,” he said. “We all have to look at how we can be above politics to bring results for the people.”
  • He plans to re-introduce legislation to clamp down on racial profiling in municipalities. Peters also said he’s looking at a bill to hold municipal elections at the same time as general electoral contests – which could bolster turnout.
  • He opposed legislation altering the state’s student transfer law because he didn’t like the “rapid expansion of charter schools.” He also didn’t agree with the so-called “private option” to allow students to transfer to a non-sectarian private school. He says he’s going to work next session to put forth an alternative bill to the measure vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this year.
  • He’ll be working to help Democrats running in tough elections, including state Rep. Jill Schupp’s bid to take back a state Senate seat for the Democrats.  He worries, though, that the Missouri Democratic Party doesn't have the “infrastructure” in place to win more seats -- especially when it comes to fundraising.
  • At the end of his tenure in the Missouri House, he’s hoping to bolster funding for Lincoln University and work toward making St. Louis Public Schools fully accredited again.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Joshua Peters on Twitter: @JoshuaPeters76

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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