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Politically Speaking: Former Rep. Baker discusses her bid for state treasurer

Judy Baker May 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Judy Baker

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome former state Rep. Judy Baker to the program for the first time.

With state Treasurer Clint Zweifel unable to run for another term, Baker is one of two Democrats seeking to succeed him. She’s running against Kansas City native Pat Contreras in the Democratic primary.

(Click here to listen to Contreras’ appearance on Politically Speaking.)

Before running for state representative in 2004, Baker worked for several decades in the health-care industry. She served two terms in the Missouri House, a time when Democrats had far more members – and arguably more influence on public policy.

Despite the fact that she could have easily won two more terms from her heavily Democratic House district, Baker decided in 2008 to run for Missouri’s 9th District Congressional seat (that district no longer exists because the Show Me State lost a congressman after the 2010 Census). She actually started an exploratory committee before then-U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof decided to run for governor.But Hulshof’s decision to switch races sparked crowded GOP and Democratic primaries.

Baker ultimately won the Democratic primary by a wide margin, and squared off against Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer in the general election. She lost by a small margin,but did much better than other Democrats who had ran in what was widely seen as a safe Republican district. Four years later, she unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor.

The winner of the Democratic treasurer primary will face off against state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale.

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

  • During her 2008 congressional campaign, Baker said she "shook so many hands and went to so many places where I think Democrats don't normally go." She said that experience will help her do better than other Democrats who run for statewide office.
  • She says people around Missouri are anxious about the state's economy. She said the fact that Missourians have to work several jobs to get by reveals big problems."To me, that shows that there's something fundamentally wrong with our economy here in Missouri," she said. "So the treasurer's office can be a great place where a platform of economic development that includes everybody is sought."
  • Baker wants to start a savings account that inmates can use when they are released from prison. Friends and family can contribute to this account, which could be used to pay off lingering court costs. 
  • She said Democrats are energized during this election season. She also predicted that female voters will be motivated to get out to the polls this year.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Judy Baker on Twitter: @JudyBaker4MO

Music: “1901” by Phoenix

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