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Now back from Europe, Wagner contemplates future -- could it include congressional bid?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 23, 2009 - Veteran Republican activist Ann Wagner has just returned from a four-year stint as ambassador to Luxembourg, an honor bestowed on her by former President George W. Bush in recognition of her years of service to the GOP.

Now back with her family at their longtime home in Ballwin, Wagner says she ready for the next phase of her life. And it may continue to include politics.

"I rule nothing in or out,'' Wagner said Tuesday night.

Her possible options may include a possible run for Congress -- which could pit her against fellow Republican Todd Akin, who has held the 2nd District seat for eight years.

When asked if she might consider such a bid, Wagner didn't say "No."

(Akin already has one announced opponent: Kirkwood Republican Liz Lauber.)

Wagner said her "coming out'' will be as a headliner at a coming event for the Missouri Republican Party. She chaired the state party for six years, from 1999 until 2005, and co-chaired the Republican National Committee during Bush's first term.

Wagner, 47, is the wife of Ray Wagner, a vice president at Enterprise Rent-a-Car and former director of the state Department of Revenue under Gov. John Ashcroft. The Wagners have three children, all of whom spent some time with their mother in Luxembourg.

But before considering her political options, Ann Wagner said she has a more immediate task to tackle: Unpacking 275 boxes that just arrived at her house, filled with her family's belongings and memorabilia from those years in Luxembourg.

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.