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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Councilwoman-Elect Rita Days On Her Priorities For St. Louis County

St. Louis County Councilwoman-elect Rita Days
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County Councilwoman-elect Rita Days

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Rita Days talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue about her impending service on the St. Louis County Council.

Days was elected to fill out the rest of Hazel Erby’s term in the 1st District, which takes in more than 40 cities in central and north St. Louis County. The Bel-Nor Democrat’s term goes until the end of 2022.

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

  • Days talked about her journey from northern Louisiana to Missouri, which culminated in elections to the Missouri House and Senate. 
  • She also gave her take about whether any changes need to be made to how St. Louis County handles elections. Days was the Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Elections for about four years.
  • Among Days’ top priorities are bolstering the stock of affordable housing throughout St. Louis County’s unincorporated areas. She also wants to work with Metro officials to improve public transportation options.
  • Days believes she can foster a good relationship with St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. She said she had a nonexistent relationship with former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who was on the county council while she served as elections director.

Days is a Lincoln University graduate who joined the Missouri House in a 1993 special election. That was a period of time when Democrats controlled both chambers of the Legislature, which gave Days opportunity to pass numerous bills and rise to a leadership position within her caucus.

In 2002, Days defeated fellow state Rep. John Bowman in a Democratic primary for the 14th District Senate seat. After she won the general election, Days became the first African American ever to be elected to the Senate from St. Louis County. Days notes that Bowman was a key ally in her 2019 county council bid.

After being term-limited out of the Missouri Senate, Days went to work for then-St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. She served as Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Elections from 2011 to 2015. Before running for the county council, Days worked for the Missouri Housing Development Commission — which issues tax credits aimed at cultivating housing for low-income people.

Democratic committee members picked Days to succeed Erby, who resigned to serve in Page’s administration. Winning that nomination in July was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic 1st District.

Politically Speaking

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Julie O’Donoghue on Twitter: @jsodonoghue

Follow Rita Days on Twitter: @ritadays1 

Music: “The Chain (Live at Glastonbury)” by Florence + The Machine

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