Seven candidates offer their qualifications for Aug. 2 primary




Seven candidates running for the Missouri legislature appealed for support from the delegates of the St. Louis Labor Council at its June meeting as part of the council’s on-going effort to give worker-oriented candidates the opportunity to explain how they will support working families if elected.

Explaining their positions (in the order they spoke) were:


MARY PAT CARL, candidate for St. Louis city circuit attorney.

With my candidacy you get a person “who doesn’t need training wheels to be able to do the job of fighting crime,” she said, noting that as lead homicide prosecutor in the office, she has prosecuted more cases that all of her opponents in the race and has never lost a case.

Carl believes that a successful circuit attorney has to do more than simply prosecute; they must also provide resources, support and empowerment to victims, their families and our neighborhoods as a whole.

She has been a prosecutor for 13 years and has the endorsement of highly respected retiring circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce.

This race has been left “open” by the St. Louis Labor Council COPE.


    VICKI ENGLUND (D), candidate House District 94.

A former representative of the 94th District, Englund made the point that today the people who work hard for a living are “demonized” by too many of the current Republicans in the legislator. “It’s crazy up there.”

Pointing out that she comes from a union family (her father was a machinist) she said, “I’m inspired by what you every day. I’m going to fight for you,” to a rousing applause. She served as the state representative for the district in 2008 and 2012.

She is endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO COPE.

  • DeLEAR

    BYRON DeLEAR (D), candidate House District 70.

A key to a successful Missouri is “strengthening Labor voice in Jefferson City,” DeLear stressed. Noting that the entire Republican ticket is in disarray, he said that this is “our opportunity to build a stronger economy in Missouri” by electing Democrats who understand, and will fight for, the issues important to workers everywhere.

DeLear is running for the seat being vacated by Bill Otto who is seeking to unseat U.S. 2nd District Representative Ann Wagner (R).

He is a clean-energy executive who has been vocal about the need for prioritized funding for our schools, Medicaid expansion, and finding creative ways to stimulate economic development through innovative legislation and infrastructure investment.

He is endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO COPE.


    Tommie Pierson Sr., (D) candidate for Lt. Governor.

A 52-year UAW member and currently senior pastor of the Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson who served in the Missouri House of Representatives in 2010, Pierson is a fierce advocate of working families and union members.

“We can’t depend on the Republicans to save us. We need to take back seats in the Missouri House and Senate” to be able to help working families, he energetically stressed.

During his term as a legislator, he sponsored or co-sponsored bills relating to term limits, campaign finance, and election laws; education and accreditation; early childhood education; sentencing reform, crime, sex offenders, juvenile justice, and domestic violence; health related issues; property taxes for seniors and other tax reforms. If elected, he would be the first African-American to hold statewide office.

This race has been left “open” by the Missouri AFL-CIO COPE.


    Tommie Pierson Jr. (D) candidate House District 66.

The son of Tommie Pierson, he is seeking to represent his father’s district. He teaches 7th grade finance and math and is a member of the NEA. With the energy of his father, he stressed his support of unions and of issues that are critical to working families. “We need to keep a labor-oriented representative in this district to protect working family issues and needs.”

He is endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO COPE.

  • KAREN SETTLEMOIR-BERG (D), candidate House District 113.

An active and involved union representative with UFCW Local 655 for the past five years and a member of the union for 31 years, Karen is an unabashed supporter of union and working family values.

Pointing out that the incumbent Republican promised to support working families and then flip-flopped and voted for right-to-work, breaking his pledge not to do so, she said she is knocking on every door in the district to let people understand her values and commitment to them. She urged delegates to get involved in their districts in support of COPE-endorsed candidates.

“I’ll be in Jefferson City working for you,” she stressed to strong applause. Karen is a graduate of Sanford Brown Business School where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in management.

She is endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO COPE.


    LEE SMITH (D), candidate House District 73

Former president and business manger of IBEW Local 2352 at Westinghouse Electric Corp., Smith said he was blessed to be a union member, raising nine children on his union wages and now enjoying a union pension.

“It was the unions who lifted people out of poverty and into the middle class but now people are trying to destroy that,” he said, vowing to fight to prevent that from happening in Missouri.

Having worked in a right-to-work state, he said he knows first-hand the negative impact that law would having on Missouri’s working families. “We can’t let that happen; we have to elect Democrats to stop it because if it passes, the quality of life and workers’ wages will decrease dramatically.”

He and two others are running to unseat incumbent Democrat Courtney Curtis who voted with Republicans for right-to-work against working families.

This race has been left “open” by the Missouri AFL-CIO COPE.


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