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Politically Speaking: Rep. McCreery On Lobbyists, Human Trafficking And Winning By Losing

State Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

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

The Olivette Democrat grew up in northern Ohio and graduated from the Ohio State University. After a stint in the pharmaceutical industry, McCreery served as state Sen. Joan Bray’s district aide for the University City Democrat's eight-year tenure in the Missouri Senate.

When then-state Rep. Jake Zimmerman successfully ran for St. Louis County assessor in 2011, McCreery won a special election as an independent against both a Democratic and Republican candidate. Roughly a year later, she lost a Democratic primary to Sue Meredith for a St. Louis County-based seat that became open due to redistricting.

After her loss, McCreery spent the next couple years working for PROMO – the state’s top advocacy organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. When state Rep. Jill Schupp left her seat last year to run for the state Senate, McCreery engineered a successful comeback and won against Republican Raymond Chandler to represent a central St. Louis County-based House seat.

Since she returned to the House, McCreery has co-sponsored legislation with Rep. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield to add victims of human trafficking to the Missouri secretary of state’s address confidentiality program. She’s also sponsored a wide-ranging bill to restrict lobbyists and lobbying.

Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

During the show, McCreery said:

  • Even though Bray differed sharply with Republicans on social and economic policies, she was effective on budget issues through her role as ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “People really respected her knowledge and her mastery of the budget process.” 
  • McCreery's loss to Meredith, D-St. Louis County, provided her with some perspective – and guidance for her successful race two years later. “What I realized is I could lose but not feel like a loser,” she said. “And it was a really valuable life lesson and I wish I would have learned it 25 years ago.”
  • She’s been working on efforts to clamp down on human trafficking for roughly 10 years. While she said Missouri has a genuine bipartisan effort to tackle the issue, she believes the push from congressional Republicans may have more to do with counteracting a perception that the GOP is hostile to women.
  • Missouri voters “have had it” with the state’s lack of limits on lobbyists' gifts. She added that “anyone with half a brain knows there’s a difference between a free pen and World Series tickets.”
  • She didn’t buy state Rep. Keith English’s contention that his departure from the Democratic Caucus had to do his views on abortion or gun control. “He’s hard to get to know – I’ll just say that politely,” she said. “I think he really enjoys drama – and I know a lot of public officials tend to be more dramatic. But I think he had this kind of orchestrated all along.”   

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Tracy McCreery on Twitter: @tracymccreery

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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