Pledges to work for ‘economic opportunity’
By TIM ROWDEN
Clayton – Fostering a message of hard work, fairness and shared prosperity, Steve Stenger was sworn-in as St. Louis County executive.
Joined by his wife by his wife Allison and holding his daughter Madeline, the labor-endorsed Affton Democrat became the eighth county executive in St. Louis County’s history.
District 4 Councilman Mike O’Mara, international representative of the United Association and member Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, expressed confidence that Stenger's election would help the working people of St. Louis County as a region.
I think one of his main goals is about jobs, creating more jobs and brining businesses here to the St. Louis region, creating jobs for the labor market and the workforce,” O’Mara said. “He’s putting a really good team together.
“It’s going to be good not only for St. Louis County but the region,” O’Mara said. “He’s going to bring a positive approach to the county and good government.”
Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, also expressed confidence in Stenger.
“He’s going to do right by labor and the working families of St. Louis County,” Louis said. “He’s the right guy for the job.”
In an acceptance speech noting the tremendous work before him and all of county government, Stenger started by focusing on St. Louis County’s strengths.
“Since it’s humble beginnings our beloved county has grown into a social and economic force, with the highest per-capita income in the state and one of the strongest technology markets in the nation,” Stenger said.
“With world class schools, parks, arts and culture, St. Louis County is a place that so many are proud, rightfully to call home. Yet, today, as I assume the responsibility of St. Louis County executive, there is so much work to be done.”
TIME FOR CHANGE
Acknowledging the tumultuous aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown, Stenger promised social and economic change to move the county forward.
“Our citizens have become concerned with the direction we’re headed and the way that we deal with the issues we face,” Stenger said. “They expect better and they deserve better, and their call for change was heard.
“We can no longer rest on the economic successes of the 20th Century and we can no longer rest on our past notions of equality and fairness. In short, the time has come for change.
“We must move our county forward and upward with common purpose, leaving no one, and I mean no one, behind.
“With the understanding that we are all St. Louis Countians, let us begin this work today.”
HEALTH AND PROSPERITY
Stenger touched on the myriad of issues facing the county, and the need for everyone to be involved in finding solutions.
“We must build a county where our residents have the equal economic opportunity they need to have a good paying job, to start a business to build a home and raise a family in a safe and fair community,” he said. “And to educate their children in an environment where learning is fostered with none forgotten.
“We must build a county where our residents’ health and prosperity are top priorities, where the county unites behind issues of public concern from Ferguson to the burning Bridgeton landfill, from Cold Water Creek to issues of poverty and the basic health of our citizens, particularly our children.
“From issues of quality life and safety to social justice, we must restore confidence in county government. And restoring confidence means accepting responsibility for our successes and our failures and keeping the promises we’ve made.”
A PLEDGE TO DO BETTER
“We will operate the county in an open and transparent manner,” Stenger said. “We’ll build efficiencies within St. Louis County, and we’ll work with our regional partners to build efficiencies across our county’s boundaries.
“All county residents, every creed and color from every walk of life, want an effective well-run government and a prosperous region.”
“I’ve just been sworn in as your next county executive,” Stenger said. “And I will tell you that I will work tirelessly to bring out communities together – from Ferguson to Wildwood from Oakville to University City – together as one community.
“I will work with limitless determination to bring our citizens together from the disenfranchised to the affluent, from those with power to those who have absolutely none.
“The world is watching,” Stenger said. “And with your help, we will show the world a fabric of community with equal opportunity with fairness and justice for all, leaving no one behind. We are all St. Louis County.”