ST. LOUIS – Peter Merideth says people in the Shaw neighborhood know him best as a choir singer at his church because he has been doing it for his entire life.
While he still sings in the choir at St. Margaret’s, Merideth now has a small law practice in the community called GroundUp STL, which focuses on community law.
But with Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, approaching his term limit, Merideth, the performer turned small neighborhood lawyer, wants to take his seat and continue the Democratic representation of that district.
“If I’m honest, it’s to change the world,” he says of his desire to get into politics at a coffee shop on Shaw Street. “That’s why we all get into it.”
Merideth has had these machinations since he attended the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., during the George W. Bush presidency. Being in the nation’s capital got him interested in the political process and he decided to get into law school for the purpose of becoming a representative of his community. After he completed his music degree – Merideth is a classically trained tenor – he moved onto law school at Washington University – on a full-ride, no less – with his sights set on politics afterwards.
“Ten years ago, I told all of my friends in college, you can plan on Peter Merideth State Rep. 2016 in St. Louis City in the neighborhood I grew up in,” he says.
While attending Wash. U., Merideth would spend his summers working for the prestigious Husch-Blackwell law firm, and he continued working there for a year after he graduated. Eventually, he decided to switch his focus to smaller litigation.
“I wanted to get more involved in the community level,” he says. “So I hung a shingle in my neighborhood and started practicing what I call community law, regular-people law.”
Beyond that service, he is the president of the Shaw Neighborhood Association and he serves on the board of the 8th Ward Democrats. He believes those experiences, as well as the connections he has made already, will serve him well in his campaign, but mainly he wants to focus on the fact that he knows the community.
Merideth does not plan on running as an idealist. While he considers himself quite liberal, he wants to approach the office with a pragmatism on criminal justice reform, expanding Medicaid, and bridging the gap between the police and the protesters that live in his district.
“I see some room for real compromise with Republicans,” he says. “I wouldn’t even call it compromise because I don’t see people giving much up.”
Merideth is running against Ben Murray and Rob Stelzer.