St. Louis 2018 Midterms

The following is a guide to the 2018 midterm election in St. Louis, Missouri as prepared by Grace Ward and Trent McDonald. We are not including all races in the city and county, but hope to cover those which impact the regional labor movement. In order to see your ballot and read up on ballot measures and district races, type in your (or your neighbor’s) address at this website: https://www.vote411.org/

US Senator: Claire McCaskill

A pro-union Democrat who takes more moderate stances on some social and economic issues that are probably necessary to be elected statewide in Missouri. She opposed right-to-work and is in favor of raising the minimum wage to $12/hour through Proposition B (below). Democrats have no chance of a Senate majority without Senators like Claire.

US Representative for District 1: William Lacy Clay

A pro-union Democrat who supports Medicare for All and is in favor of raising the minimum wage to $12/hour through Proposition B (below).

US Representative for District 2: Cort Van Ostran

A pro-union Democrat who is working to oust conservative Republican Representative Ann Wagner, Cort has campaigned closely with SEIU Local 1.

State Auditor: Nicole Galloway

The only statewide Democrat in Missouri other than Claire, Galloway provides necessary oversight to our overwhelmingly Republican, anti-worker state government.

St. Louis Recorder of Deeds: Michael Butler

Now-Representative Butler has fought for raising wages in St. Louis and Missouri for some time now; he will make an excellent Recorder of Deeds.

St. Louis County Prosecutor: Wesley Bell

Now-Ferguson City Councilman Bell is a part of the progressive, reformist District Attorney wave who aims to end mass incarceration, the death penalty, and racialized policing and improve relations between law enforcement and the community through outreach and oversight. He is running unopposed after his primary victory over his law-and-order, mass incarcerating predecessor.

St. Louis County Executive: Steve Stenger

At least a Democrat. Described by the STL Post-Dispatch as “the least-bad option” for County exec.

St. Louis County Assessor: Jake Zimmerman

See above.

Amendment 1: YES

Amendment 1 or Clean Missouri will end gerrymandering (partisan redistricting) for the state legislature by using a nonpartisan commission to draw legislative maps, ban lobbyist gifts to lawmakers, and ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for 2 years after they leave office. A necessary anti-corruption act.

Amendment 2: YES

Legalize medicinal marijuana by constitutional amendment, preempts Proposition C: “This proposed amendment to the state Constitution, which qualified for the ballot through an initiative petition drive, would legalize marijuana for medical purposes and impose a 4 percent tax on marijuana sales. Revenue would be channeled to health and care services provided by the Missouri Veterans Commission” (from Vote 411).

Amendment 3: NO

Legalize medicinal marijuana and empower personal injury attorney Brad Bradshaw to have his own board to control the industry. Taxes are much higher than Amendment 2 and thus there is no real reason to vote for this Amendment.

Amendment 4:

Allows members of organizations to run bingo games after 6 months of membership rather than 2 years. Allows for more bingo advertisements.

Proposition B: YES

Raise Up Missouri, increasing the statewide minimum wage to $12/hour. Estimated to help 677,000 workers, or over 1/10th of the state’s population. Stretches our union’s mission across the state, which would also drive up wages through competition in communities that border states.

Proposition C:

Legalizes medical marijuana, though it would be preempted by Amendments 2 or 3; while superior to Amendment 3, it is inferior to Amendment 2 as far as projected revenue and, by virtue of being a Proposition rather than an Amendment, means that the Missouri Legislature could fight implementation, as continues to happen Florida after legalizing medicinal marijuana.

Proposition D:

“Increase the motor fuel tax by two and one half cents per gallon annually for four years beginning July 1, 2019, exempt Special Olympic, Paralympic, and Olympic prizes from state taxes, and to establish the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund? If passed, this measure will generate at least $288 million annually to the State Road Fund to provide for the funding of Missouri state law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.”

Cons: Increased funding for Missouri state law enforcement means increased funding for a state entity implicated in systemic racial profiling and violence. Additionally, commodity taxes like a gas tax tend to disproportionately affect lower-income families and individual.

St. Louis County Proposition F:

Prevents casinos from allowing smoking on more than 50% of the gaming floor area. Casinos are currently exempt from county smoking bans, so this would be a very small step toward protecting casino workers from having to inhale carcinogens while on the job.b

St. Louis County Proposition Z:

From Vote411.org: “The measure, a proposed one-eighth cent sales tax increase, would provide money to the St. Louis Zoo to operate an animal breeding and conservation facility and to develop a new public attraction such as a safari park. Both would be on a 425-acre site in the Spanish Lake area bought by the zoo with private donations. If the measure passes, St. Louis County residents would get free admission to the new facility but other visitors would be charged an entrance fee. Some revenue from the proposed tax hike also could be used at the Zoo’s main location in Forest Park. If passed, the overall sales tax in unincorporated areas of St. Louis County would increase to 7.738 cents from 7.613 cents.”

Missouri Supreme Court – Judicial Retention – Mary Rhodes Russell: YES

Justice Russell is paramount to holding a 4:3 Democrat-appointed Supreme Court majority. Were she to be recalled, Republican Governor Mike Parson would be able to tie the court with Republican appointees. Considering the lawsuit trying to undo House Bill 1413, an attack on public sector unions, will likely reach the Missouri Supreme Court, it is critical to have pro-worker Justices in place.

For guidance on the many other yes/no judicial retention items, check out the MO Bar Association’s reviews of judges by district at yourmissourijudges.org