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Politically Speaking: Fitch seeks to be independent voice on St. Louis County Council

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Now, Fitch is seeking the 3rd District County Council seat that has been held by fellow Republican Colleen Wasinger, who decided to step down after 12 years in the job. He is unopposed in the August primary. The 3rd District covers parts of South and West County, stretching from Chesterfield to Fenton.

Fitch candidly admits that his financial success in the private security industry is a key reason why he turned down previous GOP appeals that he run for county executive. But his personal fiscal cushion also allows him to self-fund his campaign; Fitch is not accepting any campaign contributions.

Among his observations on the podcast:

  •  Fitch has his beefs with current County Executive Steve Stenger, a Democrat, but he’s not taking sides in Stenger’s Democratic primary race against  businessman Mark Mantovani. Nor is Fitch, for now, endorsing any of the GOP contenders.
  • Fitch’s key issues include protecting the Proposition P money, produced by the sales-tax increase that county voters approved in 2017. In fact, he sides with Stenger when it comes to raising the pay for nurses caring for prisoners at the Justice Center. Fitch opposes the council’s plan to use Prop P to increase the nurses’ pay, saying that money should come from elsewhere.
  • He promises to be an independent voice on the council. He supports the council’s effort to install campaign-donation limits for county candidates. But he’s critical of some council decisions, notably the hiring of county Auditor Mark Tucker. Fitch agrees with Stenger that Tucker isn’t right for the job.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Tim Fitch on Twitter: @ChiefTimFitch

Music: "Voices in My Head,'' by The Police

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.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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