ST. LOUIS – Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-St. Louis, will oppose his party on another substantial measure – electing his party’s nominee for governor.
Curtis announced on a taping of This Week in Missouri Politics that he will oppose Attorney General Chris Koster in his bid for governor, and that he has been speaking with Republican nominee Eric Greitens’ campaign about nominating the former Navy SEAL.
“Koster leaves a lot to be desired simply because he still has a lot of his Republican values,” Curtis said. “He has an opportunity to do for my community in supporting the Early Childhood Education Amendment 3. He has chosen not to do that, and I can only wonder what he plans to put forward for my community to bring us up if he’s not willing to support that.”
The Greitens campaign did not return calls for comment.
In the past, Curtis has split with his party on labor issues, including votes on right-to-work and paycheck protection, after feeling slighted by labor union and minority House leadership.
Koster, on the other hand, has strongly supported labor even when he worked as a Republican state senator.
Curtis also said he planned to work with Raise Your Hands for Kids (RYH4K), the group that proposed the Early Childhood Amendment, to see that proposal pass on the November ballot. Curtis will work in an official paid position to do outreach within the African-American community in St. Louis to “try to bring on additional supporters and spread the word about the specifics of the proposal.”
“I will be doing everything to make sure my community gets access to much needed childhood education access,” he said.
Curtis added the group would be holding a rally in early October in downtown St. Louis to answer questions about the proposal and garner support before the election.
He is listed as one of three state representatives supporting the amendment on RYH4K’s website. The other two are Reps. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City, and Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau.
However, Curtis’ position might lead to legal trouble given HB 1983 having gone into effect earlier late last month. The bill sponsored by Rep. Shamed Dogan forbids elected officials from taking income for work as political consultants on campaign committees.
Attorney Brad Ketcher, who wanted to disclose his role as an active opponent of the amendment, said only that “working as a paid consultant to a campaign committee is outlawed under HB 1983.” He did not specifically comment on Curtis’ role though.
According to their July quarterly report, RYH4K has just over $160,000 in cash on hand, and they have raised $2.9 million so far.