Palamand: The Aug. 7 primary will be the most important in decade

Letters+to+the+editor

To the editor:

“Choose wisely.”  That was the advice given to Harrison Ford’s character by an 800-year-old knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”  Turns out that is also great advice for St. Louis County voters.

The Aug. 7 primary election —  now less than three weeks away —  may turn out to be the most meaningful August election in more than a decade.  There are multiple issues impacting St. Louis County, the state of Missouri and representation at the federal level.

Voters across the state will have an opportunity to express their views on “right to work.”  A “no” vote overturns a state law signed by former Gov. Eric Greitens that seeks to minimize the effectiveness of collective bargaining.

There are five proposed amendments to the St. Louis County Charter. The most important, in my opinion, will be to limit campaign contributions to those seeking elected office in St. Louis County —  County Council members, assessor and county executive.  The current law —  no limits  —  feeds the perception that elected officials are more interested in collecting $20,000 checks than listening to regular voters.

The proposed change to a $2,600 limit would be consistent with other state elected offices in Missouri.

With St. Louis County trending toward Democrats over the last 20 years and without a well-known Republican candidate, the winner of the Democratic primary between incumbent Steve Stenger and challenger Mark Mantovani will be the next county executive.

In essence, the August Democratic primary is the general election.

The opposite is somewhat true in the race for U.S. representative, 2nd Congressional District, which also covers parts of St Charles and Jefferson counties.  Five Democrats are working for the opportunity to challenge incumbent Ann Wagner in November.  In a gerrymandered district drawn to favor Republicans, the winner of the Democratic primary will have an uphill task in November.  However, in what is expected to be a “blue wave” this year, the Dems have their best chance in many years to win the district.

Recent August elections have only seen about one in four voters show up.  Of course, that means that some 75 percent of the residents are letting the other 25 percent make decisions for them.  That’s unfortunate.

I would therefore encourage all St. Louis County residents to take the time to research the candidates and issues, make informed decisions and vote on Aug. 7.  The future of St. Louis County and the state will be determined by those who show up.  Choose wisely.

Venki Palamand

Oakville

Editor’s note: Mr. Palamand is a former president of the Mehlville Board of Education.