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Politically Speaking: On final full day in office, Treasurer Zweifel reflects on his public service

State Treasurer Clint Zwiefel
Courtesy of Clint Zweifel's office
State Treasurer Clint Zwiefel

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Treasurer Clint Zweifel to the program.

The Democratic statewide official was kind enough to record the show on his last working day in office. He’s departing from elective life on Monday, primarily because state treasurer is one of two statewide offices that have term limits.

Before he entered the Missouri House, Zweifel was the research and education director for Teamsters Local 688. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Zweifel first won election to the Missouri House in 2002, when he defeated a Republican incumbent to represent a portion of north St. Louis County. In the House, Zweifel was often a Democratic point person who offered alternative policies to the Republican majority. He helped run the House Democratic campaign effort in 2006, a year where his party gained seats for the first time in years.  

After then-state Treasurer Sarah Steelman announced her gubernatorial bid in 2008, Zweifel jumped into a somewhat crowded Democratic primary for the statewide office. He narrowly defeated then-Arnold Mayor Mark Powell and went onto defeat GOP state Sen. Brad Lager in the general election. He won re-election against GOP state Rep. Cole McNary in 2012.

The treasurer’s office is responsible for investing the state’s money and running Missouri’s college savings plan. The officeholder also sits on a number of key boards, including the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Even though the legislature became more and more Republican as his time in office wore on, Zweifel managed to get lots of treasurer-related bills passed and signed into law.

In early 2013, Zweifel announced he wouldn’t run for governor – and subsequently declined to run for any office last year. 

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

  • He's had success working with the Republican legislature in passing bills important to the state's finances. “Many legislators understand the important operational impact that this office has and that there really isn’t a lot of room for error," he said.
  • One of the keys to being a successful statewide officeholder is forging relationships with people.
  • President-elect Donald Trump's huge margin of victory in Missouri made it difficult, if not impossible, for some of his Democratic colleagues to prevail last Tuesday. He said there needs to be a concerted effort to harness the Democratic Party's "human capital, especially when it comes to recruitment for legislative seats" 
  • When asked what advice he had for Treasurer-elect Eric Schmitt, Zweifel said "keep things simple." “Keeping it simple is important," he said. "So if you have integrity, if you believe in service to others and if you believe in actually knowing this job and doing it well, things tend to work out. You can get the politics right as you go along."

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Clint Zweifel on Twitter: @ClintZwiefel

Music: “A Town Called Malice” by The Jam and “Vote Thatcher” by American Wrestlers

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.

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