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Politically Speaking: Rep. Becky Ruth On Missouri’s Transportation Priorities

State Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus
Tim Bommel I House Communications
State Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus

State Rep. Becky Ruth joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum on the latest episode of Politically Speaking.

Ruth represents a portion of eastern Jefferson County, which includes the cities of Festus, Herculaneum, Pevely and Hematite. The Festus Republican is the first woman to ever lead the House Transportation Committee.

Here’s what Ruth talked about on the program:

  • She described the political evolution in Jefferson County from Democratic-leaning to a Republican stronghold in roughly a decade. She cited voter distaste with the national Democratic Party, especially when it came to social issues like gun control and abortion rights.
  • She talked about how Missouri lawmakers ended up passing a bonding plan aimed at repairing bridges throughout the state. This was one of the first times in recent memory that lawmakers used general revenue dollars, and not direct revenue like gas taxes, for transportation projects.
  • Even with the bonding plan, Ruth said Missouri needs to find more robust sources of funding to help fix the state’s transportation network. She stressed that the financial solution has to be multifaceted and not just come from one funding source. Missourians have rejected bids to raise the gas tax and sales tax to pay for transportation needs since 2014.
  • Ruth talked about potential state involvement in the Hyperloop, super-fast pod travel that could take passengers from St. Louis to Kansas City in less than 30 minutes. House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, recently joined other state officials to tout a commission’s study about the transportation concept.

Ruth is a retired teacher who is currently a real estate agent. She first ran for the Missouri House in 2012, losing by fewer than 100 votes to Democrat T.J. McKenna. Ruth ended up running for the seat again in 2014 — and ended up ousting McKenna by over 500 votes. 
Since her first victory, Ruth has easily won re-election. She beat Democrat Dennis McDonald in 2018 by over 35 percentage points. And in 2016, she was unopposed for re-election.

Politically Speaking

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

Follow Julie O’Donoghue on Twitter: @jsodonoghue

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Becky Ruth: @beckyruth114

Music: “Tempest” by Deftones