Maybe it’s all attributable to youth, but when I was growing up in St. Louis in the 60’s, the community had a different feel. The city was the 10th largest city in America then, and the region was nationally prominent in a multitude of ways. Some of my friends’ parents were employed in the space program. The community was a preeminent producer of cars and shoes. The Arch was coming out of the ground and pointing toward the stars, and at night, Jack Buck and Harry Carey broadcast Cardinal’s games across most of the continent. The St. Louis Post Dispatch was commonly regarded as one of America’s great daily papers and St. Louis musicians, performers and artists were internationally acclaimed.
While the St. Louis community did not foster the same optimism for every kid growing up in St. Louis in those days, this one believed that there was nothing a kid from St. Louis couldn’t achieve. Although St. Louis continues to deliver great achievements and offer great opportunities for many, collectively, it’s undeniable that the region has been challenged and surpassed by other communities that, in the 60’s, we thought of as “minor league cities.”
For too long, St. Louis has failed to achieve its potential. We all recognize the symptoms of this reality: slow population growth, a lack of broad economic development, the decline of the middle class, the departure of so many of our young people, persistent social inequity, and a dysfunctional local governance structure and mediocre local executive leadership (read my recent Letter To The Editor) Yet, we all know that the community must do better. And it can!
Mine is a message built on accepting the realities of where the community finds itself and on the hope and confidence that the future can be brighter. There are great strengths and equity in our community that can operate as the foundation for new progress. I am confident, given better leadership, that our community can harness the great hearts and energy of the people in this community and flourish again.
I’ve come a long distance since I was that little kid growing up in the middle of the country. But my passion for our region remains in place, stronger than ever. I love St. Louis, and that’s why I’ve chosen to run for St. Louis County Executive.
As I begin this journey, my priority is to engage with the community (with YOU!), and listen to your concerns and ideas. I’ve already learned a lot as I’ve attended township meetings and community events and met with neighbors and citizens. What I’ve discovered is that I am not alone in the desire to change the trajectory of our community and reignite the Spirit of St. Louis, a spirit that is committed to helping everyone progress. As a noted Senator once said “…we’ll all do better, when we all do better.”
While I’m confident that I have much to offer the community, I also recognize that I have much to learn from you. Please help me and let’s work together to make better things happen.
I’ll continue to keep you posted on my thoughts and new developments via this weekly newsletter. Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you, too. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interns: We’re in the process of welcoming a great group of interns to our policy team. As they come on board, we’ll share their stories and tell you more about how they’re helping. Know of someone who might be interested in interning with our communications team? Details and applications are available here.
New Team Members: Mr. Chris Khoury, Fundraising Director, and Ms. Kris Brill, Communications Director, have joined the Mantovani For STL team.
Meet Mark Mantovani:
“How Ag/Tech Grows STL Development, Construction Forum” on Tuesday, September 12, 7:30 – 9 a.m., Grand Hall on Chouteau, 2319 Chouteau Avenue. No charge to attend but registration is required. To register, click here: www.constructforstl.org
Kirkwood Greentree Parade Saturday, September 16. The parade will step off at 10:00 a.m., from Kirkwood High School, 801 West Essex, and will conclude no later than noon. Look for Mark and his family as they walk in the parade.
IN THE NEWS
Here is a look at some key stories shaping our county this week….
The mood at the Labor Day parade was affected by Right to Work concerns as highlighted in this KSDK story. Mark’s view: While Labor Day offered the chance to fire up BBQ pits and enjoy the last days of summer, it was also a day to pause and pay tribute to the American workforce, the backbone of our country, and to the American value of hard work. Certainly we celebrate the triumphs, but we must, in turn, focus on fighting for more progress. We must keep fighting for an increase in the minimum wage for St. Louis families who work hard, yet struggle to make ends meet. We must keep fighting against Right to Work legislation aimed at harming the ability of unions to advocate for workers. As we do the important work of revitalizing our region, we must remember that prosperity comes when we have justice and fairness for all.
According to Paul Edgerley, chairman of the MLS2STL ownership group, money is still on the table for MLS team in St. Louis as reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Mark’s view: As I visit with STL Countians, I continually encounter frustration about our leadership’s failure to deliver a soccer venue & MLS to the region. It’s so disappointing to anyone who wants STL to be a world class community in the 21st Century. Options to gain funding have always existed, but not without the participation of St. Louis County. Know this; had I been County Executive, I’d have made sure our community didn’t miss this opportunity.
As students head back-to-school, our local universities are in the spotlight. From Maryville being named one of the fastest-growing colleges in the U.S. to Fontbonne waiving tuition for low-income freshman and Washington University accepting Bosnian refugees, we applaud their achievements and leadership. Mark’s Vision: St. Louis clearly has access to some of the best thinkers in the world through our universities. I believe we can engage universities and the regional community to form a more robust civic/government/university collaborative that helps create policies that will ultimately improve the future of our region.
WE NEED YOU
Thank you to all those who are already donating and volunteering.