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Maria Chappelle-Nadal Looks Back At 16 Years In The Missouri Legislature

Maria Chappelle-Nadal spent 16 years serving in the Missouri House and Missouri Senate.
File photo | Tim Bommel | House Communications
Maria Chappelle-Nadal spent 16 years serving in the Missouri House and Missouri Senate.

Former state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where the University City Democrat talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about her 16 years of service in the Missouri House and Senate.

Chappelle-Nadal resigned in December to take a job with St. Louis County Councilwoman Rita Days, D-Bel Nor. Days was Chappelle-Nadal’s predecessor in the Senate and served as one of her mentors throughout the years.

Here’s what Chappelle-Nadal talked about on the program:

  • The effect of her primary battles. Chappelle-Nadal, who represented a highly Democratic district, said facing credible challenges in primaries made her a better legislator, because it required her to be closely in touch with her constituents.
  • Her approach toward education policy, which often included walking a fine line among competing interest groups to achieve certain legislative goals. Chappelle-Nadal was heavily involved in crafting legislation changing the state’s school transfer law, which was a major issue when Normandy’s school district lost accreditation.
  • Takeaways from being a part of the protest movement that arose after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. She also discussed the lack of movement on the policy front — and the challenges for some activists who have made the successful jump into the electoral arena.
  • Her use of the filibuster and how she managed to wield that procedural maneuver, which stalls legislation, to maximum effectiveness.

After serving as an aide to Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell, Chappelle-Nadal successfully ran for the Missouri House in 2004. She won reelection in 2006 and 2008 before winning a competitive race for the 14th District Senate seat in 2010.

She won reelection to that seat in 2014. Her only electoral loss was in 2016, to U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay. Once she hit term limits in the Missouri Senate, she successfully ran for her final term in the Missouri House.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Maria Chappelle-Nadal on Twitter: @mariachappellen

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