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Politically Speaking: Rep. Gardner on need to collaborate in the House – and her political future

State Rep. Kimberly Gardner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Kim Gardner for the first time.

The St. Louis Democrat was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. It was her second attempt at elected office, as she unsuccessfully challenged then-state Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, back in 2008. (Gardner is now on good terms with Nasheed, who is now a state senator.)

Gardner is a graduate of Webster Groves High School, where she was a state champion cross country runner. She later earned an undergraduate degree at Harris-Stowe State University, as well as law and nursing degrees at Saint Louis University. Gardner worked in the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office for about five years.

Among other things, Gardner serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Rules Committee. She was also selected to be on the conference committee that hashed out the state’s budget.

Here’s what Gardner had to say during the show:

  • Because the House Democratic Caucus has shrunk so dramatically in recent years, Gardner says her colleagues need to work together with Republican colleagues and members of the Senate. She pointed to the successful passage of legislation allowing Harris-Stowe to issue graduate degrees.
  • Gardner was critical of efforts during veto session to implement “right to work” and to take away the power of cities to raise their minimum wages. “I think we need to start the trend to increase the minimum wage, which most people are for,” Gardner said.
  • Gardner isn’t supportive of Republican hearings over Planned Parenthood’s operations in Missouri. She says the agency has been “attacked from every level.” “We pick an issue that’s driven by political things,” she said. “I say let’s have a discussion about access to health care, and that’s the true issue.”
  • When asked if she would support bringing in the attorney general or an independent prosecutor when there’s a police-involved killing, Gardner said: “The community wants that and I think we should put those measures in place.”
  • With Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce not running for re-election, Gardner is seriously considering running for the citywide position. A number of candidates, including assistant circuit attorney Mary Pat Carl, attorney Steve Harmon and attorney Steve Roberts Jr., are planning to enter that contest.   

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Kim Gardner on Twitter: @Kmg77thDistrict

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Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.