By TIM ROWDEN
Mike Walter, retired IBEW Local 1439 business manager, has announced his candidacy for Missouri State Representative in the 95th District in Oakville, the seat currently held by Republican Marsha Haefner.
Haefner is term-limited and said to be considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Claire McCaskill after receiving encouragement from Republican U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner.
Walter, 62, of Oakville, announced his candidacy at last month's packed meeting of the South St. Louis County Labor Legislative Club.
Walter was initiated into Local 1439 in 1979 as a mechanic with Union Electric (now Ameren UE). He quickly moved up the job ladder and became active in his local’s leadership, taking the role of a shop steward for 14 years.
Walter also served as a business representative starting in 1995 and served on the local’s executive board. He was appointed business manager in 2007 and elected to the position in 2008. He was appointed to IBEW’s Fifth District International Executive Council in 2011. He served as Local 1439’s business manager until last year.
“You will never, ever have to worry about my vote on Organized Labor issues,” Walter said.
Noting the large crowd at the Labor Club meeting and union members’ increased and growing activism in response to last year’s passage of the phony “right-to-work” and ongoing attempts to pass anti-worker bills in the Missouri Legislature, Walter said, “I think we really have a chance out here. The representative we have in the 95th District now is not representing Organized Labor at all.”
Walter is having a campaign kickoff and fundraising rally Thursday, March 15, from 4-7 p.m. at Teamsters Local 682 hall at 5730 Elizabeth Ave. in St. Louis.