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Politically Speaking: Rep. Gardner talks about standing out in the circuit attorney crowd

Kim Gardner
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back state Rep. Kim Gardner to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat is one of four Democratic candidates for circuit attorney. We are running shows featuring each of the candidates this week. (Gardner was a guest on Politically Speaking before she announced her bid for the job.)

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.

While Gardner could have run for at least two more terms in the Missouri House, she decided instead to run for circuit attorney. Incumbent Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce decided not to run for re-election. Since St. Louis is heavily Democratic, whoever wins the Democratic primary on Aug. 2 will likely be Joyce’s successor.

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

  • One of  her main priorities is “building trust” within the justice system. “We have to hold the serious individuals accountable for the violent crime we’re seeing,” she said. “And we need witnesses and victims to come forward – and feel comfortable coming forward.”
  • Gardner wants to bring in independent prosecutors – and independent investigators – to look into police-involved killings. Bothwere major recommendations of the Ferguson Commission’s final report.
  • She also wants to use the office’s bully pulpit – and her legislative experience – to get the Missouri General Assembly to restrict firearms. She acknowledge that will be a difficult task, especially with the GOP in charge of the General Assembly. “It’s going to be an uphill battle,” she said, but “we need to come together as a community because we see the devastating destruction that guns are doing in the wrong hands.”
  • Noting that she was one of several African-American prosecutors in Joyce’s office, Gardner wants to infuse the office with more diversity. That includes trying to recruit attorneys from the Bosnian or LGBT community.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Kim Gardner on Twitter: @Kmg77thDistrict

Music: “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead

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.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.