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Politically Speaking: Bob Onder On His Legislative Comeback

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomed future state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, to the Politically Speaking podcast. 

Onder, a doctor and an attorney, first burst on to the political scene in 2006 when he was elected to the Missouri House.

His tenure in the Missouri General Assembly was brief, because he left to make an unsuccessful bid in 2008 for the U.S. House in the (now defunct) Ninth Congressional District.

But Onder chose to make a comeback last year by running for the 2nd District state Senate seat that encompasses part of St. Charles County. (Current state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, is leaving because of term limits.)  Onder easily defeated Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake Saint Louis, and former Rep. Vicki Schneider in an expensive contest.

Because there is no Democratic candidate, Onder is virtually guaranteed to be declared the winner in the Nov. 4 election.

During the show, Onder said:

  • When he ran for Congress in 2008, he didn't have the campaign infrastructure or the time to match the organization of Blaine Luetkemeyer -- a Republican who eventually won in the general election. He said this time around, he had more time to connect with the "grassroots" in St. Charles County.
  • He was critical of how Gov. Jay Nixon had handled the unrest in Ferguson. He said Michael Brown's death may prompt the legislature to look into the idea of making police officers wear cameras.
  • Organized labor didn't do too well in St. Charles during the last election cycle. He noted how some groups supported his opponents, as well as a state representative candidate who lost. Onder also once again stated his support for so-called "right-to-work" legislation.
  • He would not necessarily become a member of the Senate's conservative filibustering bloc. He also said he hoped to use his experience as a doctor to make changes to the state's Medicaid program.
  • He hopes the legislature overrides Nixon's veto of legislation extending the waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours. Onder has been a strong abortion opponent throughout his public life.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Bob Onder on Twitter@BobOnderMo

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.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.