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Politically Speaking: Rep. Joshua Peters says drugs fuel high crime rates in north St. Louis

Joshua Peters, July 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri state Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Joshua Peters.

The St. Louis Democrat represents Missouri’s 76th House District, which takes in a portion of north St. Louis City. He was first elected to the House in a 2013 special election before being re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

Peters’ district includes neighborhoods that have struggled for years with crime and poverty. A combined 32 homicides took place in 2016 in Wells-Goodfellow, Walnut Park and Baden. From what police officials have told Peters, drugs are driving both property crimes and violent crime throughout north St. Louis.

In addition to being a legislator, Peters works with the St. Louis Labor Council, helping collect signatures for a statewide petition to undo the new “right-to-work” law which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues.

Here's what Peters had to say during the show:

  • Peters also said young people are turning to drug dealing because there aren’t jobs available to them. “Right now, what you’re seeing is someone literally trying to survive and make a living trying to take care of their family,” Peters said.
  • He also said the hundreds of vacant buildings throughout north St. Louis is making it harder to stamp out the drug trade. “We’re creating an environment in north St. Louis where someone can run into a building, do their dope, do their heroin and then leave,” he said. “And that’s the reality of what’s taking place. So we have to clean up our city.”
  • One way to fight crime in his district is providing more money for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office. The Democratic official received a million dollars less for staffing in this year’s budget than what she requested. And her personnel budget was cut by more than $88,000 compared to last year’s budget.
  • Peters says state government can help by applying for federal grants aimed at deterring people from doing drugs.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Joshua Peters on Twitters: @JoshuaDPeters

Music: “Save the Children” by Marvin Gaye

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.

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