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Dogan for St. Louis County executive? GOP rep forms exploratory committee

  

As he enters his final term in the House, Rep. Shamed Dogan is looking at a possible future back home as the St. Louis County executive.

Dogan announced plans to form an exploratory committee to run for the office this week, potentially looking at a bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Sam Page in the next election. Dogan said he was concerned by the way the county was handling issues including the COVID-19 pandemic

“When I look at St. Louis County I see a community with declining population, loss of businesses, and a county executive unwilling or unable to address the roots of these issues,” Dogan said. “The failures of our local leaders led to policies that are destroying our local economy without stopping an out-of-control pandemic. I will stand firm with business owners and ensure they have a leader who will work with them in the wake of the COVID-19 economic recovery. Small businesses and working-class people are the backbone of our county and we can’t afford to put the economic strain of the pandemic on their backs.”

Dogan, a Republican, has experience working with the county: He served as an alderman prior to his first election to the statehouse. He said his priorities in office would be economic growth, education, and ethics reform for the county government.

“As county executive, I will lead the fight to clean up county government, and I will do it by bringing people together,” he said. “As an alderman in Ballwin, I led the way to pass an ethics reform law that reduced the amount of gifts Aldermen and city officials can take from lobbyists and special interests. As state representative, I helped pass ethics reforms that banned lobbyist gifts and ended the ‘revolving door’ that used to let former lawmakers become lobbyists right after they left office.”

Page faced pushback over the county’s pandemic response, including restrictions on bars and restaurants that led to a lawsuit late last year. County schools switching to virtual learning has also been a source of contention, one that Dogan said he was concerned about.   

“My wife and I have two children who attend public school, so we are especially concerned about keeping our schools open for parents who want an in-person learning option,” he said. 

Dogan said he would talk to voters before officially deciding to run. He has retained Victory Enterprises.

Dogan was first elected to the Missouri House in 2014 and has served as chairman of the House Special Committee on Criminal Justice during his tenure in the lower chamber. 

Page, himself a former state representative, served as a county councilman from 2014 to 2019 before replacing Steve Stenger in the county executive seat.