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Rep. Barbara Phifer Provides First Impressions Of Missouri House

Barbara Phifer
Travis Zimpfer | House Communications
State Rep. Barbara Phifer, D-Kirkwood, speaks on the Missouri House floor earlier this month.

State Rep. Barbara Phifer is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where the Kirkwood Democrat talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about her first couple of weeks in the Missouri General Assembly.

Phifer was elected last year to represent the 90th District after then-Rep. Deb Lavender vacated her seat in an unsuccessful run for the state Senate. Her district includes places like Kirkwood, Glendale, Rock Hill and Oakland.

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

  • She detailed her first few weeks in the Missouri House, which began on the day of the insurrection in Washington, D.C., and has included debates over whether to require lawmakers to wear masks in the chamber.
  • Why she was the only Democrat who voted to expel state Rep. Wiley Price IV, D-St. Louis, who was censured after being accused of having sex with an intern and trying to cover it up.
  • Phifer talked about some of her expectations and priorities for the upcoming session, which will include following through on a constitutional amendment enacting Medicaid expansion.
  • She explained some of her longer-term expectations about how House Democrats can make themselves relevant when they are so deep in the legislative minority.

Phifer is a Washington, D.C., native who spent nearly 40 years as a pastor with the United Methodist Church. She’s served as a pastor in churches around Missouri, as well as Montevideo, Uruguay.

Republicans represented the 90th District for many years, until Lavender won the seat in 2014 and was reelected by increasingly large margins. Phifer ended up defeating Republican Rick Perry by more than 13 percentage points — a signal that the Kirkwood area is now firmly aligned with Democrats.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

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

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