The St. Louis County Police Association and Firefighters Local 2665 announced Thursday that they’re endorsing St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger for his bid for reelection.
Stenger was joined by Officer David Machens and Matt Crecelius of the St. Louis County Police Association and Corey Hogan of Firefighters Local 2665 at the Cheshire Inn with both public safety associations endorsing the county executive.
Matt Crecelius, business manager for the St. Louis County Police Association, praised Stenger’s continued support for first responders and their employment rights in Missouri.
“Shortly after his election in 2014, Mr. Stenger offered his unwavering support of the collective bargaining process which brought what is widely considered one of the best agreements for the employment rights of police officers in the State of Missouri,” Crecelius said. “This collective bargaining agreement ensured the fair treatment of those who were sworn to protect the lives of others.”
Crecelius also stated that the county executive helped give raises to first responders with the passage of Proposition P, and added that without Stenger’s support — the changes would not have been possible.
“As the leader of the State’s most populous county, Mr. Stenger recognized the need for substantial increases to police manpower, safety, equipment and training as well as significant infrastructure improvements,” he said. “Not only were these critical needs recognized, Mr. Stenger was on the forefront of the issue by crafting and supporting Proposition P – A piece of legislation which stood to change law enforcement in the region forever.”
Proposition P is a half-cent sales tax that’s expected to generate $80 million a year for public safety. It was supported in April 2017 with sixty-three percent of St. Louis County voters voting in favor of the tax. It was finally passed in October.
The initiative, originally introduced by Stenger along with the County police union, would raise the income of the County police staff by 30 percent.
Corey Hogan, executive vice president for Firefighters Local 2665, echoed Crecelius’s statements regarding Stenger and believed getting both the firefighters and police department to endorse a single candidate was monumental.
“Steve from day one has listened to us and in the past we had issues getting access to people and getting our concerns out there,” Hogan said. “Steve, like I said today, not only heard us but he’s given us a seat at the table. With all the uncertainty with the city/county merger and everything else that would go with that — Steve would defer to the fire service, and listen to the chiefs in the area that we work with as well and just give us an ear and always has.
“It was good to do it today with the police and be able to go in as a full first responder endorsement (and) that doesn’t happen that often.”
Crowd reacts as St. Louis County Council perfects passage of a pay raise for St. Louis County Police Department personnel pic.twitter.com/FbXcKAvI7O
— Clayton Times (@ClaytonTimes) October 18, 2017
When asked about Stenger’s primary opponent Mark Mantovani, Hogan said he’s met with Mantovani but Stenger’s willingness to work with first responders has given him their support.
“We’ve met with Mark and (he) seems like a good guy but Steve has shown unprecedented willingness to work with first responders and our issues and every issue that we’ve taken to him as a local — he’s addressed or at least heard us out fully,” he said. “I’m not saying Mark wouldn’t do that, I’m saying that you got to stand by those who stand behind you.”
Stenger said he was thankful for the the endorsements and the partnership between him and the groups are an important step into making the county safer.
“I’m honored to have the support the fire responders representing St. Louis County,” Stenger said. “We are all working together to make St. Louis County safer.”
Also on Thursday, Mantovani’s campaign announced that he was endorsed by former St. Louis Mayor Vincent Schoemehl.
In addition to both Stenger’s and Mantovani’s Thursday endorsements, it was also announced Wednesday that Democratic challenger Bill Ray dropped out of the race.
According to a press release, Ray stated that he wasn’t able to raise enough revenue to continue to be in the race. With Ray leaving the Democratic primary, it’s now just Mantovani and Stenger who will be in the primary against one another.
On the Republican side, Paul Berry III, and Daniel Sampson are running. Also seeking the position is Libertarian Nick Kasoff, and Constitution Party candidate Andrew Ostrowski.
The Democratic Primary for St. Louis County Executive will be held on August 7, 2018.