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Politically Speaking: Councilman Page On Electoral Comeback, Ferguson And Smoldering Landfills

St. Louis County Councilman Sam Page of Creve Coeur
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcomed St. Louis County Councilman Sam Page to Politically Speaking. 

The Creve Coeur Democrat is something of a veteran on the local political scene. After serving a stint on the Creve Coeur City Council, Page won a hotly contested Democratic primary for a Missouri House seat representing central St. Louis County. While serving in the House, Page – an anesthesiologist – emerged as a key player in the debate over health care, including reconfiguring the state’s Medicaid program in 2007.

Page’s political career hit a rough patch a few years back. Despite impressive fund raising, he lost a close statewide contest in 2008 to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican. Two years later, St. Louis Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, D-University City, easily defeated Page in a Democratic primary for a state Senate seat.

After St. Louis Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett, D-Overland, died of cancer last year, the St. Louis County Democratic Central Committee tapped Page to run in an August special election. He won and now represents areas of central and north St. Louis County on the St. Louis County Council.

Page joined the council right around the time of Michael Brown’s shooting death, which meant he sat through some of the most tumultuous meetings of the legislative body in recent history. He’s also sought to bring more attention to environmental issues at the West Lake landfill and Coldwater Creek.

Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

During the show, Page said:

  • He was effective in the GOP-controlled Missouri General Assembly because he tried “not to be too partisan or abrasive.” Page says he often teamed up with Republicans to pass ideas through the Missouri legislature – even if it meant other people getting the credit.
  • One reason Kinder is so difficult to defeat in a statewide race is that “he campaigns very hard” and attempts to cultivate support in traditionally Democratic areas like St. Louis. In addition to Page, Kinder has defeated former Secretary of State Bekki Cook, former state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, and former state Auditor Susan Montee in his statewide elections.
  • After staying neutral during last year’s Democratic primary, Page is happy with how St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has performed so far. He said he’s heartened that he reached across the aisle to fill out his administration, including picking former Councilman Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin, to be the county’s director of revenue.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency could move “much quicker” in testing around the West Lake Landfill, the place where radioactive material was dumped decades ago. He’s also questioned statements from the EPA about the air quality around the landfill.  

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Councilman Page does not have a Twitter account. But he does have a Facebook page.

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.

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