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Paul Berry III On The Big Issues In His Second St. Louis County Executive Bid

Paul Berry III addresses the crowd at Christ Church Cathedral.
File photo / Carolina Hidalgo
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St. Louis Public Radio
Paul Berry III, the Republican nominee for St. Louis County executive

Republican St. Louis County executive nominee Paul Berry III is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where he talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about his campaign.

Berry is running against incumbent Sam Page. Also on the Nov. 3 ballot are Green Party nominee Betsey Mitchell and Libertarian Theo Brown Sr.

Here’s what Berry discussed on the show:

  • How he would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic differently than Page. More people have either been infected by or died from the coronavirus in St. Louis County than any other place in Missouri.
  • Whether St. Louis County should have a mask mandate.
  • How to get Black residents in St. Louis County to trust police more. That’s become a big issue in the county executive’s contest, especially after Police Chief Mary Barton questioned whether there was systemic racism in her department.
  • His reaction to Page’s decision to dismiss Hazel Erby, a former county councilwoman who had served as the director of the county’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department.

A bail bondsman and business consultant, Berry’s entry into electoral politics was in 2012 when he ran as a Democrat for a Maryland Heights-based House seat. He switched to the GOP in 2014, running unsuccessfully for that same House seat that year and then falling short in a Republican primary for Congress in 2016. Berry cited frustration with how Democrats approached numerous public policy issues for his party switch.

He defeated Ed Golterman in the GOP primary for county executive by about 8,000 votes earlier this month. To prevail in the general election, Berry will have to persuade enough Democrats who may be leery of Page’s administration to vote for him — especially since the GOP has had trouble winning countywide races over the past several decades.

This is Berry’s second bid for county executive. Two years ago, he lost by about 20 percentage points to incumbent Steve Stenger. The winner of the November election will serve as county executive through the beginning of 2023.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum: @jrosenbaum

Music: “Take Care” by Drake and Rihanna

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

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