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Paul Berry to run for 72nd district

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Paul Berry, who is awaiting a trial date for his lawsuit against Democratic incumbent Rep. Mary Nichols, D-St. Louis City, is formally announcing his candidacy for Nichols’ seat on Nov. 15.

Berry ran during 2012 against Nichols and — because of re-districting — another incumbent, Eileen McGeoghegan. During the campaign, Berry accused Nichols of sending out a mailer lying about Berry’s business and his living residence. Berry filed suit and after several rounds of motions to dismiss the case, which were not successful, the case could have a trial date before the end of the year.

House candidate Paul Berry
House candidate Paul Berry

But while the case progresses, Berry is banking on his 2014 primary challenge as a way of winning the debate.

“I feel I have a strong case, but I also feel no matter what happens with that case, the people in this district need proper representation,” Berry told The Missouri Times. “There are some fresh ideas that need to be brought to the table, and we have a state rep right now that doesn’t seem to be doing anything from her position.”

A bail bondsman, Berry is hoping to lean on his familiarity with the criminal justice system for his run against Nichols. He told The Missouri Times he’ll even be announcing the first bill he intends to file, should he win, at his candidacy announcement.

The Missouri Safe Streets Act, as Berry called it, would “update,” the Missouri criminal process in order to streamline the cost of law enforcement.

“We’ve got great officers and agencies right now who are bogged down by some very ridiculous regulations and inefficiencies,” Berry said. “Basically, we have a procedure for these things that was designed in the 1800’s and never really updated.”

Berry said he has strong roots in the community and hopes to stir up more grassroots support in this run.