Exclusive: Peters discusses experiences, campaign after swearing-in Wednesday
By Collin Reischman
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Rep. Josh Peters, the newest Democrat elected in a special election for the vacant District 76 in North City, is not a new face in the Capitol after being sworn-in Wednesday morning.
Peters, 25, served as an intern in the Capitol under former state Rep. Rodney Hubbard, as well as a legislative assistant and office manager to Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr.
“I’ve been dedicated to public service since high school,” Peters told The Missouri Times during his first day on the job. “I’ve always wanted to serve the public, and I’ve always been passionate about making service into a career.”
Just prior to his victory in a special election — in which he was unopposed but still received 1,700 votes — Peters was an assistant to the undersecretary of higher education for U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Between working for Clay and in the Obama administration, Peters has divided much of his time lately between Washington, D.C. and St. Louis. When District 76 opened up, Peters threw his name in the hat and met with the nominating committee. Though there were several candidates, Peters was selected by the committee to run for the seat.
“It was a rigorous interview,” Peters said. “They asked a lot of tough questions, they really wanted to know what I would do for the people around here.”
The district is familiar territory for Peters, who attended Beaumont High School near the edge of the 76th.
While he was unopposed, he still brought-in poll workers and handed-out literature. And despite having no opponent, he still campaigned.
“I didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t taking it seriously or that I took it for granted,” Peters said.
He said that economic development and higher education are two of his highest priorities. Peters, who is currently seeking a doctorate in public administration, said he hoped to, one day, be a university president.
His connections with local politicians throughout St. Louis and his desire to remain in public service could make Peters a formidable politician, and yet another fresh, young face to join the small Democratic caucus.
To contact Collin Reischman, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter at @Collin_MOTimes.