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Politically Speaking: Councilwoman Clancy On Opportunity And Uncertainty In St. Louis County

St. Louis County Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County Councilwoman Lisa Clancy

St. Louis County Councilwoman Lisa Clancy joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about a slew of issues affecting county government.

Clancy was sworn in last week to represent the council’s 5th District, which takes in more than a dozen municipalities in eastern and central St. Louis County.

Clancy has a master’s degree in social work and has worked for about a decade with nonprofit groups. She also was president of the Hadley Township Democrats, which includes Richmond Heights, Maplewood, University City, Clayton and Shrewsbury.

In 2018, Clancy challenged incumbent Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights. Dolan was St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s lone ally on the County Council for roughly two years, but ended up voting against a number of his colleagues’ initiatives.

Clancy decided to run against Dolan because she believes “we need bold and courageous leadership to help lead us forward and to reach better outcomes for our community.” Even though Dolan had more money than Clancy and the support of organized labor groups, Clancy won by roughly 22 percentage points.

With Clancy’s victory, Stenger no longer has any reliable allies on the St. Louis County Council. But Clancy has emphasized that there can be common ground between the council and the executive branch — and that she’s not going to vote on issues based on her opinion of Stenger.

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

  • When it comes to a potential city-county merger, Clancy believes any discussion needs to involve the people it affects the most. She has misgivings about taking the question to statewide voters, as opposed to only residents of St. Louis and St. Louis County. "One of the concerns I have about the statewide vote, for example, is that I don't want this to be something that happens to the St. Louis region,” she said. “I want this to happen, if it happens, because the St. Louis region wants it."
  • She made furthering racial equity a major focus of her 5th District council campaign. One way she wants to do that is by following through on the Ferguson Commission's recommendations, which include changes to law enforcement and health care policies in St. Louis.
  • She said one of the ways to follow through on that principle is through the county budget process. "I want to hear from each of the department heads, including the police chief, here's what we are doing to address the region's agenda particularly when it comes to racial equity,” she said. “And I want them to be able to tie how they're using their resources back to equity."
  • Clancy said she’s disappointed that there isn’t more collaboration between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the County Council. “I think we can get more things done if we go together,” she said. “But I think there’s some history there that I wasn’t a part of — and I don’t even need to know all the details of — to know there’s been some bridges that have been burned, unfortunately. And I’m not here to cast blame or even judge that. It just is what it is.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Lisa Clancy on Twitter: @lisadclancy

Music: “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac

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.