Politically Speaking: Yinka Faleti Discusses Secretary Of State Bid — And Protests For Black Lives | St. Louis Public Radio

Politically Speaking: Yinka Faleti Discusses Secretary Of State Bid — And Protests For Black Lives

Jun 10, 2020

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Yinka Faleti, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, joins the program to discuss his bid for the office, as well as the burgeoning protest movement for police accountability. 

Credit Courtesy of Yinka Faleti

Faleti’s appearance on the podcast kicks off an effort to have all of Missouri’s major statewide candidates on Politically Speaking. The two Democratic contenders for attorney general, Elad Gross and Rich Finneran, are slated to record episodes later this month — and we’ll be reaching out to GOP and Democratic candidates to be on the show in the coming weeks. 

On the show, Faleti talked about:

  • His background as a Nigerian immigrant who graduated from West Point and eventually came to St. Louis for a law degree. He said his experience living in poverty provided him with a baseline of how he views public service.
  • The protests that have sprung up across the state and country since the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Faleti said the demands to hold police accountable for misconduct against black people are becoming more mainstream, more so than after Michael Brown’s killing in 2014.
  • Legislation expanding the absentee balloting process. Faleti is glad that Gove Mike Parson, a Republican, signed the measure last week but is concerned that many people who want to vote absentee will have to have their ballots notarized. 
  • Protecting the ballot initiative process, which has come under fire from some Republican lawmakers who want to require a higher vote percentage to amend the Missouri Constitution. Faleti said it should remain a simple majority.

Faleti immigrated to the U.S. when he was 7 and lived in various states before settling in Texas. After graduating from high school two years early, Faleti went on to the U.S. Military Academy. He served in the Army and was sent overseas twice, before and after the 9/11 terrorists attacks.

Once his Army career was finished, Faleti earned a law degree from Washington University and practiced at the Bryan Cave law firm. He went on to become a senior vice president at the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the executive director of Forward Through Ferguson. Forward Through Ferguson is the successor nonprofit to the Ferguson Commission, which came up with a host of policy recommendations after Brown’s death.

Faleti is taking on Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is unopposed in the GOP primary.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jaclyn Driscoll on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

Follow Yinka Faleti on Twitter: @yinka_faleti