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Walsh kicks off quest for state Senate, seeks to succeed Green

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 27, 2012 - With official candidate-filing set to kick off Tuesday, state Rep. Gina Walsh is already staking a claim for the soon-to-be-open 13th District state Senate seat.

Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, announced over the weekend that she plans to file for the state Senate seat now held by fellow Democrat Tim Green, who is term-limited and will leave office at the end of this year.

Walsh is term-limited in the Missouri House, and notes that she won her last re-election with 92 percent of the vote.

Walsh held her official kickoff on Saturday at the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant.  She is a lifelong resident of north St. Louis County, and – like Green – has union ties.  She is a graduate of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Apprenticeship School.

The 13th District is expected to generate strong interest from potential Democratic contenders. Race also could become an issue. 

Walsh is white. The new state Senate map has given the district an African-American population in the 55 percent range, in part as a result of an appeal by the local NAACP, which had balked at an earlier map that reduced the district’s minority population below 40 percent. The assumption is that the NAACP will seek to get at least one minority to file for the Senate seat.

Said Walsh in her statement declaring her Senate bid:

“I am committed to serving as state senator who will put politics aside and focus on the needs of north St. Louis County– balancing our state budget the right way, by protecting vital social services, creating jobs by investing in higher education and new industries, protecting our veterans and seniors, and securing our future energy needs by supporting balanced energy production that will also create jobs.”

“The people of north county deserve a person as our next State Senator that puts problem-solving before politics,” she said. “Having served eight years in the Missouri House, I have built the relationships, and I have the experience necessary to provide the residents of north county the best representation in our state Capitol.”

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.