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Politically Speaking: Patrice Billings on her bid to turn St. Charles Senate seat blue

Patrice Billings, the Democratic candidate for the 2nd District Senate seat.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Patrice Billings, the Democratic candidate for the 2nd District Senate seat.

Democrat Patrice Billings is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The St. Charles County resident talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies about her bid for Missouri’s 2nd Senatorial District seat.

Billings worked for nearly three decades as a helicopter pilot for the St. Louis County Police Department. She is squaring off against Sen. Bob Onder, a Lake Saint Louis Republican who recorded an episode of Politically Speaking earlier this month.

Billings was the first woman in the country to become a helicopter pilot for a law enforcement agency. She was the chief pilot and certified flight instructor for the Metro Air Support Unit.

While the 2nd District is Republican-leaning, Billings believes the recent rejection of right to work may show that her Democratic candidacy could gain traction. St. Charles County voted overwhelmingly to repeal the policy that bars requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Onder is a strong supporter of the policy — and made the issue a major part of his successful 2014 campaign for the 2nd District seat. Billings is a right to work opponent,

Here’s what Billings had to say during her show:

  • She opposes any effort for the legislature to bring a right-to-work measureback up for discussion. “It’s one of those issues that I hear most about,” she said. “That they don’t want it brought up again because they have spoken.”
  • She supports a bid to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023. It’s something that’s absolutely necessary for families to make it,” she said. Onder has said he opposes that measure, contending it will lead to businesses shedding jobs.
  • Billings also endorses legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Missouri voters will decide on three different proposals regarding that subject.
  • She’s a supporter of abortion rights. Onder, who is a doctor, has been a consistent abortion rights opponent since he first entered the legislature in 2007.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Patrice Billings on Twitter: @Billings4Senate

Music: “Estranged” by Guns N’ Roses

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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