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Jotte officially launches County Council bid three months after declaring interest

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2009 - Three months after he first announced his candidacy, former Webster Groves councilman Randy Jotte has formally launched his Republican quest for the 5th District seat on the St. Louis County Council.

With no pre-publicity, Jotte held his kickoff last Friday at his home in Webster Groves. He says more than 100 supporters attended.

At the moment, his only rival is former Webster Groves Mayor Terri Williams, a Democrat who declared her candidacy in early July.

The 5th District post is now occupied by Democrat Barbara Fraser, who's foregoing a re-election bid to run for the state Senate.

An emergency-room physician, Jotte said his dual experience as a doctor and a politician should serve him well in county government.

“I have a unique window into the concerns of our county.  As an emergency room physician, I encounter many people from all walks of life,'' he said in a statement issued Tuesday. "I care for patients’ immediate health concerns, but they also share with me their larger life issues, ranging from financial worries to problems with school, transportation and family. 

"My public office experience has shown me that government can do much to help with these problems. Some areas in St. Louis County government, such as property assessment, MetroLink service, and tax spending accountability, desperately call for change."

Jotte, 49, narrowly lost a bid for the state House last fall to fellow former Webster Groves councilwoman Jeanne Kirkton, a Democrat.

As his bio notes:

"Jotte, a Harvard-educated emergency physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, has been appointed to several statewide health policy committees, including the Pandemic Influenza Healthcare Planning Committee and the Advisory Committee for 911 Services Oversight. From 2006 – 2008, Jotte was president of the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians. Jotte also founded Safe and Secure, a charity that has distributed over 2,000 car seats to low-income Missouri families."

The county's 5th District is generally swing political territory, taking in most of the county's inner-ring suburbs from University City south to Grantwood Village, MacKenzie and Marlborough.

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.