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Politically Speaking: Democrat Judy Baker on her bid to become Missouri's next state treasurer

Judy Baker
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes back Democratic state treasurer hopeful Judy Baker to the program.

The Columbia Democrat is running against state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, in the contest to succeed state Treasurer Clint Zweifel. Zweifel is unable to run again, because the treasurer’s office is term-limited.

Baker is a former state representative who served for two terms representing a portion of Boone County. Before running for state representative in 2004, Baker worked for several decades in the health-care industry. 

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). Baker narrowly lost to Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer in a district that titled heavily toward Republicans. And she unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 2012.

Earlier this summer, Baker decisively won the Democratic primary for treasurer over Pat Contreras. The race was decidedly less testy than some other statewide primaries, and Baker says Contreras has strongly endorsed her general election candidacy.

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

  • If she were elected treasurer, Baker would like to “bring to this a sense of being the chief economic officer to look at the bigger picture.” “What’s our business climate like? How can we grow? How can we increase trade? How can we build the pie, grow the pie so that’s more at the end of the day?” Baker said.
  • Baker said she would like to work with legislators to make sure safety net programs “all go toward a stair step approach.” “I can go door-to-door at night to my colleagues at the legislature and talk about what it is I think that we can do help people pull themselves out of poverty,” she said. “No one wants to live in poverty. Unfortunately, we have some systems that create barriers.”
  • She said she wants to make Missouri’s college savings program, known as MOST, better known as a “college and career” savings program. “Not everyone goes to college,” Baker said. “There’s some really great apprenticeships, trade schools, vocational schools, community colleges – all kinds of things that people can go to … having saved a nest egg in order to do that.”
  • Baker said she strongly disagreed with Schmitt’s stancethat Boeing should be disqualified from receiving state tax credits for forging a deal to sell passenger jets to Iran. “I think that is very destabilizing to the business community,” she said. “You say we’ll give you tax credits. But on the whim of a state senator that wants a larger office, all of sudden we’re going to jeopardize or cancel your tax credits. We can talk all day about the tax credits. Sometimes I’m not exactly on board with all tax credits. But if we give them, we shouldn’t use a political ploy a threat to take them away.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Judy Baker on Twitter: @JudyBaker4MO

Music: “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie

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