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Politically Speaking: Bill Haas on how he's making a difference in St. Louis mayor's race

Bill Haas, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio
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On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas to the program.

Haas is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become the next St. Louis mayor. Each of the Democratic candidates have been interviewed on the podcast ahead of the March 7 primary election.

While Haas won races to be on St. Louis’ elected school board, he’s also waged unsuccessful bids for Missouri state representative, St. Louis aldermen, U.S. congressman, Missouri lieutenant governor and St. Louis mayor. Most recently, he came in third place in a Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District.

Related: Listen to extended interviews with each of the Democratic candidates

Before he started running for office, Haas received an undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from Harvard Law School. His professional career includes tenure as a corporate attorney, a tutor, an attorney working for former Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, and a novelist.

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This is Haas’ fifth bid for mayor. His best showing was in 1993, when he ran as an independent and received a little more than 15 percent of the vote. 

A few highlights from the show:

  • Haas said the lack of incumbent mayor gives him a chance to make a difference in the Democratic primary. “If I don’t get this, that’s my loss. Because it’s what I want to do,” he said. “But I think it’s their loss too, because I think I’m the best candidate ever to stand before them and ask for their vote.”

  • He’s opposed to proposed sales tax that would go to variety of purposes, including expanding MetroLink. “This is a terrible sales tax we have on the ballot now and I’m against it,” he said. “I’d rather have police than police cameras. And I’d rather have money for education instead of a North-South MetroLink.”

  • Unlike other candidates, Haas won’t commit to getting rid of St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson. He said he would like to meet with him after he takes office and figure out ways to make the city’s police department better.

  • Haas is opposed to a bid to publicly fund a professional soccer stadium. “When the community gives me $45 million for more police and their education initiatives, then they can have their damn soccer stadium,” he said.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rachel  on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Bill Haas on Twitter: @votehaas

Music: “Number One Contender” by Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship 

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.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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