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Politically Speaking: Missouri Rep. Windham On Absentee Balloting — And Turning Protests Into Policy

State Rep. Kevin Windham, Jr., speaks during a February 2020 committee hearing.
Tim Bommel I House Communications
State Rep. Kevin Windham Jr. speaks during a committee hearing in February.

State Rep. Kevin Windham Jr. is the latest guest on "Politically Speaking." The Hillsdale Democrat talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about how the Missouri Legislature expanded absentee balloting this session — and the prospects for policy change amid protests for police accountability.

Windham represents the 85th District, which takes in roughly 20 municipalities in central and north St. Louis County. When he won his seat in 2018 at age 25, he became the youngest African American man ever elected to the Missouri House.

Here’s what Windham discussed on the show:

  • Legislation that Gov. Mike Parson signed that expands absentee and mail-in voting. One of the final pieces of legislation passed during the 2020 session was aimed at allaying voter fears about contracting the coronavirus at the polls.
  • Whether protests decrying police killing Black people will lead to legislative action in the General Assembly. Missouri lagged behind other states in terms of policy change after Michael Brown’s 2014 shooting death in Ferguson.
  • Diversity in the St. Louis County Police Department. After Police Chief Mary Barton’s comments on racism within her agency, Windham said he wants to see more of a concerted effort to instill diversity in the department.
  • Issues that will be on the ballot later this summer, including expanding Medicaid, as well as the Democratic primary for St. Louis County executive.

Windham is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University. After college, he worked as a legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. 
In 2018, Windham beat three other candidates in the Democratic primary before winning the general election. He serves on committees dealing with transportation, local government and elections and elected officials.

Windham is running unopposed for a second term this year.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Kevin Windham on Twitter: @KWindham85

Music: “Ghetto Superstar” by Pras and Mya

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

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.