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Politically Speaking: Stream talks about Senate bid and lessons from county executive loss

Rick Stream 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo
Rick Stream

Former state Rep. Rick Stream – who almost became St. Louis County executive and now is running for the Missouri Senate – once again joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast.

It’s the third appearance for Stream, a Republican from Kirkwood, but his first since declaring his candidacy for the 15th District, which takes in much of St. Louis County south of Manchester and east of Clarkson roads. He will compete against state Rep. Andrew Koenig, a legislator and businessman from Manchester, in the Aug. 2 primary.

Stream, a former member of the Kirkwood School Board, chaired the House Budget Committee for part of his eight-year tenure. He was the GOP nominee for county executive in 2014 and lost by less by than 2,000 votes to Democrat Steve Stenger.

Stream says that campaign allowed him to highlight his leadership experience and his willingness to reach out to Democrats. Both attributes should help him and his district, if he wins the Senate seat, Stream said.

He says his top priority in the Senate would be "jobs, jobs, jobs."

Among his observations during the podcast:

  • Stream says he’d support passage of a “right to work’’ measure to bar unions and employers from requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees. Unions, said Stream, create “extra costs for the manufacturers’’ and hurt the state’s economy.
  • Stream acknowledges that he skipped a 2014 House vote on a right-to-work measure on the advice of GOP legislative leaders who told him that a vote for right to work that year “will kill you in the county executive race.”
  • Stream is proud of his work on the school transfer bill in 2014. The bill, vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, would have allowed students in non-accredited districts to transfer to private schools. Stream said that “options needed to be available for these students." Nixon also vetoed a 2015 version on other grounds.
  • Education would also be among his top priorities in the Senate (after jobs). He cited studies that he says show that “if a student is not reading at grade level by the third grade, we can start planning prison beds for them.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rick Stream on Twitter: @teamrickstream

Music: "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" by David Allen Coe

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.