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Politically Speaking: Contreras on his bid to become Missouri's next state treasurer

Pat Contreras
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Pat Contreras is a Kansas City native who went to undergraduate school at Saint Louis University. As a Coro Fellow he participated in an array of nonprofit and political organizations.

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state treasurer aspirant Pat Contreras to the program for the first time.

Contreras is seeking the Democratic nomination for the statewide office currently held by state Treasurer Clint Zweifel. Zweifel is unable to run again, because his statewide office is limited to two terms.

Contreras was the first Democrat to jump into the treasurer’s race. He’s squaring off against former state Rep. Judy Baker in the Democratic primary. The winner of that contest will face state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, in the general election.

(You can listen to Baker's appearance on Politically Speaking by clicking here.)

Contreras is a Kansas City native who went to undergraduate school at Saint Louis University. Asa Coro Fellow he participated in an array of nonprofit and political organizations. (One previous guest on Politically Speaking, St. Louis Alderman Megan Green, was also a CORO Fellow.) He later received his MPA from Columbia University in New York City.

Ultimately, Contreras worked at the State Department. He did two tours in Pakistan, as well as one stint in Mexico aimed at overhauling that country’s judiciary. He later worked for several federal departments in Washington, D.C.

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

  • Contreras is making a concerted effort to get millennials to support his campaign. He's released a web video trying to bolster support among that demographic group.
  • One of the state treasurer's jobs is to vote on projects that come through the Missouri Housing Development Commission. He said that entity has "a lot of red tape and a lot of politics." "What [developers] want to do most is break ground and offer affordable housing that need it the most," he said. "I want to make sure that MHDC is less political and more merit based. I want to make sure we are providing families with the housing they need, so we can worry about making their lives better instead of worrying where they're going to sleep at night."
  • He says he wants to make sure members of the treasurer's staff are "making smart investments and we're getting a good return on our investment." "I want to make sure that I'm making smart investments and investments that align with Missouri values," he said. "And my background and training in economics, I understand what a good investment is from a bad one. I think that's why I'm the most qualified to do this job."
  • If Contreras wins, he will become the first Latino statewide officeholder in Missouri history. He said "having a place at the table is very important." "Any time you bring different perspectives, different mindsets and diverse opinions is going to be stronger for a project, stronger for the government, stronger for business, stronger for who we are as a state," he said. 

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum (and jasonrosenbaum on Snapchat)

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Pat Contreras on Twitter: @patcontreras (and contrerp on Snapchat)

Music: “Blackout” by Linkin Park

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.