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Politically Speaking: Rep. Doug Clemens On Medicaid Drop Of Children — And The West Lake Landfill

State Rep. Doug Clemens, D-St. Ann
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep. Doug Clemens, D-St. Ann, poses for a portrait in the St. Louis Public Radio studio.

The latest episode of Politically Speaking features state Rep. Doug Clemens talking to St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O'Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his first impressions of legislative life.

The St. Ann Democrat represents the 72nd House District, which takes in portions of Maryland Heights, St. Ann and Breckenridge Hills. He was first elected to his post in 2018.

Here’s what Clemens talked about on the program:

  • Clemens said he was driven to get involved in politics by the controversy surrounding the West Lake Landfill. That’s the place where radioactive material was dumped, which has prompted decades of activism from people living in the surrounding communities. 
  • He said he’s gravely concerned with reports about how roughly 90,000 children have been dropped recently from the state’s Medicaid program. Clemens said that could force low-income families to make tough decisions about their kids’ health care.
  • Like nearly every other Democratic member of the Legislature, Clemens was opposed to a bill banning most abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. He said he’s not optimistic that opponents of the measure can gather enough signatures by Aug. 28 to spark a 2020 statewide referendum.
  • Clemens also discussed legislation that would bar cities and counties from passing ordinances to regulate concentrated animal-feeding operations. Clemens was an opponent of that bill, which Gov. Mike Parson signed into law earlier this year.

Clemens is a longtime resident of northwest St. Louis County and has worked for a company that installs captioning phones for people who are hearing impaired. He first ran for the Missouri House in 2010, when he lost to Eileen McGeoghegan in the Democratic primary by 11 votes.

After redistricting, Clemens ran again for the House in 2012 — this time losing by a larger margin to Courtney Curtis. He played a behind-the-scenes role in St. Louis County Democratic politics for the next six years, until 2018, when state Rep. Mary Nichols, D-Maryland Heights, was departing from the House due to term limits.

Clemens defeated four other Democrats, including McGeoghegan, to finally prevail in a House Democratic primary. Winning that primary was tantamount to election in an area that’s consistently voted for Democrats over the past couple of decades.

Clemens serves on House committees dealing with pensions, health and mental health policy, and financial institutions.

Politically Speaking

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Julie O'Donoghue: @jsodonoghue

Follow Jason Rosenbaum: @jrosenbaum

Follow Doug Clemens: @doug_clemens

Music: “Everything to Everyone” by Everclear