By Gloria Lloyd
The Republican councilwoman representing Sunset Hills on the County Council is weighing whether to run for county executive, after previously announcing she would not seek re-election to her council seat.
Since 3rd District Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Huntleigh, is not running for re-election for her council seat this year, a run for county executive could be on the table, she confirmed to the Call.
So far, no Republicans have officially announced they will take on County Executive Steve Stenger or the winner of the Democratic primary, which is shaping up as a three-way race with Stenger, Ladue businessman Mark Mantovani and University City real-estate agent Bill Ray.
Wasinger, an attorney, is one of the only long-serving council members, second in experience only to 1st District Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City.
Of her future plans, Wasinger said, “We’ll see. I’m considering returning to private practice or some other run in public office.”
As to whether that would include a run for county executive, Wasinger added, “That’s been suggested and bandied about. Time will tell.”
Filing for the November election does not open until late February.
Wasinger’s husband, David, is running in the Republican primary for state auditor this year. He is also a lawyer.
The decision not to run again was made long ago and wasn’t based on the dissent on the council in the last year, she said.
“This is my 12th year, third term, and I did not plan on running again after the last election,” Wasinger said. “It’s time for me to look at other ways to serve the community, and that’s always been my plan.”
But the fights of the last year might have made the decision easier.
Wasinger and 7th District Councilman Mark Harder, R-Ballwin, were frequently on the losing side of disputes with a council majority created by 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas’ decision to side with the majority of council Democrats instead of his fellow Republicans.
In one notable fight, council members including Trakas fought against Wasinger’s bid to award $100,000 in tourism funding for The Magic House children’s museum in Kirkwood.
“It certainly made it easier to make the announcement that I would not be running again,” Wasinger said of the battles. “The last year has been a challenge on the council. However, I will say that the adversity is bringing about a more participatory council, and I think that is good, I really do.”
Her decision not to run again came as a surprise to Trakas, who said he learned about Wasinger’s decision from a newspaper.
“I’m sorry to see her go and I think obviously we’ll miss that experience,” Trakas said. “I always think that when you have that kind of experience, it’s a loss.
“It’s no secret Colleen and I did not agree on everything, but I always valued her opinion, and a good part of that is born with 12 years on the council.”