On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum reflect on the rise and fall of former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.
The Democratic official was sentenced to 46 months in prison last week for his role in a pay-to-play scheme. He’s been the subject of public scorn after a sentencing memo detailed vulgar and boorish comments about his political enemies.
But there’s more to Stenger’s story than just his rapid departure from office. Organized labor, business leaders and top elected officials played a key role in his rise. After entering office with the power to radically change St. Louis County government, much of Stenger’s tenure devolved into heated confrontations with the St. Louis County Council.
Even before he resigned in late April, Stenger was deeply unpopular across the political spectrum. The decision to make him the first “metro mayor” under a city-county merger proposal was widely criticized — and cited as one of the reasons the entire plan collapsed after his guilty plea.
Here’s what St. Louis Public Radio’s political team talked about on the program:
- How Stenger’s relationship with the black political community never recovered after his divisive 2014 primary with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.
- Why his relationship with the County Council got so bad, even as he came into office with the vast majority of council members allied with him.
- The response Stenger provided when his opponents accused him of corruption.
- The expectations for Stenger’s replacement, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.
The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol.
Follow Julie O’Donoghue on Twitter: @jsodonghue
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Music: “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones