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Politically Speaking: Councilman Harder Discusses the Rams, Ferguson And Stenger

Councilman Mark Harder, R-Ballwin
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome the newest member of the St. Louis County Council -- Councilman Mark Harder. 

The Republican from Ballwin grew up in Normandy and eventually became a real estate professional. He was elected to the Ballwin City Council in 2011 and worked to mitigate the impact of a grocery store in the West County suburb.

After long-time Republican Councilman Greg Quinn decided not to run for re-election, Harder entered a three-person GOP primary for the council's 7th District seat. He narrowly won over Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul and former Ballwin Mayor Walt Young to represent most of western St. Louis County on the council.

Even before he was sworn in, Harder spent time observing the county council at the height of the protests over Michael Brown's death. He entered office at a time of great transition within St. Louis County government, especially since St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is appointing new people to high-ranking posts.

Harder’s observations on the podcast included:

  • He believes that the County Council has acted as well as it could when it comes to responding to the unrest in Ferguson. He cited various efforts to help poor residents and the council’s willingness to listen to irate protesters who showed up at meetings.
  • He supports an NFL team in St. Louis, but is wary about using any public money to help build a new stadium. Harder prefers that the project use private money.
  • He is concerned about the county’s finances. His top priority is getting the county on sounder fiscal footing. He presented a list of the top 10 recent county contracts. Although the official combined cost had been $1.3 million, overruns bumped up the combined costs to the county to almost $6 million.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

Harder does not have a Twitter account, but he is on Facebook.

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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