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Politically Speaking: Mary Elizabeth Coleman on Jefferson County’s Republican revolution

State Rep.-elect Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep.-elect Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold

State Rep.-elect Mary Elizabeth Coleman joins Politically Speaking to talk about her big win in Missouri’s 97th District House seat — and her expectations about the upcoming legislative session.

Coleman is a Republican from Arnold who defeated Democratic state Rep. Mike Revis in this month’s election. She will represent parts of St. Louis and Jefferson counties when lawmakers return for the 2019 session in January.

Coleman is an attorney who previously served on the Arnold City Council. She was one of three Republicans who signed up to challenge Revis, who took over a seat that Republicans had controlled for roughly eight years.

Ultimately, Coleman ended up besting Revis by around 1,800 votes. Her win guaranteed that every single state legislative seat that covers Jefferson County will be represented by a Republican. Jefferson County residents have historically preferred Democratic candidates.

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

  • She attributes her big win this month to lots of hard work — and President Donald Trump’s popularity throughout her district. U.S. Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, who placed a big emphasis on supporting Trump’s presidency, won in Jefferson County by a wide margin.
  • She said that Democrats will likely not succeed in Jefferson County as long as the national party is perceived as too liberal. And in my district we are socially conservative. Pro-life. Pro-Second Amendment. And pro-union,” Coleman said. “And so people who have traditionally been Democrats find the national platform really hard to identify with.”
  • When she’s sworn into office in early January, Coleman said, among other things, she wants to assist in crafting legislation overhauling lawsuit regulations and providing more money for transportation infrastructure.
  • Coleman said  her first legislative priority will be to change state laws that she says unfairly target young girls. “Girls who are underage can be prosecuted for prostitution before the age of consent.  They can also be prosecuted for truancy.  Girls who have been caught up in sex trafficking or the sex industry. So I’m going to be working to change those laws.”
  • Coleman said she voted for Proposition A, which would have sustained a law requiring workers and employers to pay dues as a condition of employment. But she said doesn’t plan to support any effort to resurrect ‘right to work.’ “I’m not going to vote against my district,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a conservative value to say ‘you guys by 78 percent rejected doing the same thing.’”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Mary Elizabeth Coleman: @meaccoleman

Music: “Counting Blue Cars” by Dishwalla

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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