Jefferson City – State Sen. Scott Sifton (D-Affton) is preparing to run for Missouri governor in 2020 — setting the stage for a potential contest between a strong labor Democrat and Republican Gov. Mike Parson.
Sifton will be term-limited out of the Senate at the end of this session.
Democratic State Representative Doug Beck, a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, is running for Sifton’s First District Senate seat. See related story.
The First District stretches from the Oakville area north to Brentwood. The seat had been held by a Republican until Sifton flipped it in 2012. Sifton has not officially entered the governor’s race.
“I’m focused on the legislative session that just began,” he said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “but it’s my present intention to run.”
A ‘POTENTIAL’ CANDIDATE
Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors), a retired member of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1 and president of the Missouri State Building and Construction Trades Council, described Sifton as “a potential gubernatorial candidate.”
“Scott’s a thoughtful person, and he doesn’t rush into anything when he makes decisions,” Walsh said. “He analyzes, and that’s what I like about him.”
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, the only Democrat elected to statewide office in Missouri, has been discussed in some circles as another potential candidate for governor, but indicated in an interview with the Post-Dispatch, she’s not currently considering running for the post next year.
“I’m here focused (on) being auditor,” she said.
A FRIEND OF LABOR
A frequent visitor to the South St. Louis County Labor Club, Sifton, 44, was elected to his first four-year term in the Senate November 2012. He previously served in the Missouri House from 2011-2012 and the Affton Board of Education from 2001-2010.
A practicing attorney, formerly of the Husch Blackwell law firm and now in private practice, he lives in the Affton area with his son Stephen, 10, and daughter Madelyn, 6, who frequently accompany him when he is invited to provide legislative updates to the Labor Club.
Sifton received awards from both the Missouri Bar Association and Interfaith Legal Services for Immigrants for his service in the House. He served on the board of the American Lung Association Missouri chapter from 2000-2006 and as vice chairman of the Missouri Bar Association’s legislative committee in 2004.
He has also been involved with the Affton Chamber of Commerce, Affton Community Betterment Association, Lemay Chamber of Commerce, Concord Democratic Club and Lemay Democratic Club and was a member of FOCUS Leadership St. Louis Class of 2005-2006.
ON THE ISSUES
Sifton said his campaign would focus on “wages for working families and access to affordable health care and quality education.” Although socially progressive, Sifton says he favors a fiscally conservative approach to government spending.
“We’ve got to be careful with how we spend our public dollars in Missouri,” he said. “The more efficient we are, the more we can do to help folks, whether that’s Medicaid, education or anything else.”
Sifton also supports taking the “Clean Missouri” amendment, that voters’ overwhelming supported on Nov. 6, one step further with his Transparency in Government Contracting Act (Senate Bill 148), which would let voters know the extent to which big donations influence the awarding of major state contracts, particularly those that go to “dark money” political organizations.
Former Gov. Eric Greitens’ 16-month term in office ended in scandal last year when he resigned rather than reveal the sources of millions of dollars in donations that poured into dark money organizations that he controlled. Investigations into potential influence-peddling and the impact of those donations on his advocacy fizzled when Greitens’ resigned in June 2018.