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Politically Speaking: Robin Smith makes her case to be Missouri's next secretary of state

Robin Smith October 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
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Robin Smith

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Democratic secretary of state nominee Robin Smith to the show for the first time.

Smith is squaring off against Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft later this fall. Ashcroft recently recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that will air later this week.

Before jumping into electoral politics, Smith spent more than 40 years working as an anchor and reporter for several television stations in St. Louis. She also served on the Saint Louis University Board of Trustees for 12 years and was the host of the Sammy Davis Jr. Memorial Variety Club Telethon.

Smith comes from a political family. Both her father, Wayman Smith Jr., and her brother, Wayman Smith III, served on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Wayman Smith Jr., was the first African-American CPA in Missouri.

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By winning the Democratic primary for secretary of state against two perennial candidates, Robin Smith made history as well by becoming the first African-American woman to win a statewide nomination (former U.S. Rep. Alan Wheat was the first African-American to be nominated by a major party for a statewide office). If she beats Ashcroft, she would become the first black statewide official in Missouri’s history.

Here’s what Smith had to say during the show:

  • She is strongly opposed to Amendment 6, which would authorize the legislature to pass a photo identification requirement. “The Missouri Constitution is a perfect constitution the way it stands,” she said. “It guarantees every resident, so long as they meet the requirements of residency and age, the right to vote. There’s an entire political party that wants to shatter the Missouri Constitution.”
  • If Amendment 6 passes and she becomes secretary if state, Smith said she would have to confer with attorneys before deciding whether to pursue any legal action.
  • She says that her tenure in television news provides her with good name recognition in the St. Louis region. Smith also noted that her husband, Isaac “Bud” Stallworth, is well known in Kansas City. This combination, she says, gives her an advantage going into the general election.   
  • Smith, who has a MBA from Saint Louis University, said her business education provides her with the qualifications to be secretary of state. The officeholder is in charge of business registration and regulating securities. “I, next to the governor, will become the No. 2 business executive for the state of the Missouri,” she said. “And my graduate degree in business makes me eminently qualified for the office.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosebaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Robin Smith: @WithRobinSmith

Music: “Crystal Baller” by Third Eye Blind 

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
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.

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