Jake Zimmerman – The Leader St. Louis County Needs
It’s been a long time since “leadership” has been a word associated with the St. Louis County Executive’s office. For most of the last six years scandal after scandal defined St. Louis County government. While we were plagued with budget shortfalls, an increasing crime rate, riots, county contracts for sale to the highest bidder, and constant infighting, St. Louis County suffered from a rudderless government.
Disgraced County Executive Steve Stenger is gone, but the chaos he created isn’t. The transparency, accountability, and vision St. Louis Countians expect from their government is gone, too. Getting it back will take real leadership.
Jake Zimmerman is the experienced leader St. Louis County needs.
Jake is honest.
In 2011, Jake promised clean government; he has served nine years as our Assessor without a hint of scandal. He promised an office that would put the needs of St. Louis Countians above the demands of the monied special interests and he delivered, transforming an Assessor’s office mired in bureaucracy into a productive, customer-focused operation with a professional and diverse staff.
As St. Louis County Executive Jake will clean up the mess Steve Stenger left behind – getting rid of “pay for play” and insider contracts once and for all, ending the constant budget shortfalls, replacing unqualified appointees, and bringing a divided county back together. Jake believes that good government is a transparent, accountable government, qualities still missing in the current administration. With Jake as County Executive, we’ll know where the buck stops.
Jake has the courage to do the right thing.
As Assessor, Jake took on the powerful entrenched special interests and won.
- He cracked down on special tax breaks for corporations and big-money landowners, tax breaks that shift the tax burden on to the backs of small businesses and homeowners.
- He successfully challenged casinos who sought assessment reductions that could cost our schools and fire districts millions of dollars a year.
- He tracked down the owners of corporate jets based in St. Louis County and made them pay the taxes they had been ducking for years.
- He went after developers who tried to dodge taxes by pretending that parking lots and development land were working farms (which are taxed at a lower rate).
- He fought the cheaters. When luxury senior living centers that charged six-figure entrance fees tried to claim that they were tax-exempt “charities,” Jake fought back until the owners agreed to pay their fair share.
When the Post-Dispatch endorsed Jake for re-election, they noted that he “has shown himself to be free of the unsavory influence of developers that can plague county officeholders.” Jake has never lacked the courage to fight for you, and he’ll keep fighting for you as County Executive.
Jake has a vision for St. Louis County.
Real leaders have a real vision for the future. Real vision doesn’t come from small groups of dark-money donors and business chiefs huddling in back rooms to decide what they think is best for the rest of us. Real vision comes from listening to voices from throughout the community and building consensus on where we need to go together. Real vision isn’t just about managing the government day-to-day; it’s about leading St. Louis County into a brighter future.
Jake Zimmerman’s vision includes everyone in St. Louis County – all races, all religions, all genders, all sexual orientations. It includes opportunity for everyone, good health care, pay equity, and livable wages and an end to gun violence. It includes a reformed county government that our people respect because it works the way it should.
Achieving that vision demands:
- A County Executive who is accountable and responsible for getting the job done.
- A competent, open, transparent government with the experience and talented staff that St. Louis County needs.
- Effective, strategic relationships with the State, the City of St. Louis, and regional governments to save the taxpayers money and deliver more efficient service.
- Fiscal responsibility – setting a transparent budget and living within it.
- Demanding that our Police Department meets the highest standards, provides the best training, and reflects our communities.
- Making appointments to St. Louis County’s many public Boards and Commissions that reflect the makeup of the County.
- Aggressively marketing the St. Louis region to attract business and jobs.
- Partnering with all of the County’s many municipalities to plan and work together.
- Reorganizing the County purchasing system to take the politics out of purchasing and assure a transparent, accessible bidding process for all who want to do business with St. Louis County (not just the connected few).
- Addressing the region’s infant mortality problem. It’s not o.k. that 7 of every 1,000 babies born in St. Louis County will die before their first birthday, usually from preventable causes (or that among African-American babies, almost 13 of every 1000 will not live to see their first birthday, a number that has more than doubled since 2014).
- Working with the region’s leaders, colleges and school districts to improve educational opportunities and initiatives to develop our youth. It is not o.k. that the main factor determining the quality of education, housing, health care, police protection, and other public services is often determined by one’s zip code.
- Developing a rational housing plan for St. Louis County that will enhance code enforcement, deal with problem properties, encourage affordable housing development, and spur retail development.
- Recognizing that six years after Ferguson, thousands of our fellow citizens continue to suffer from a racial divide that exacerbates unemployment, poverty, and unsafe neighborhoods.
- Taking an active role in working with the County Prosecutor, the St. Louis County Police Department, local municipalities and community social service agencies to deter crime, not simply to catch criminals after a crime occurs.
Jake is an experienced leader.
St. Louis County does not have time for on-the-job training of the next County Executive. Jake has been elected-county wide three times, never by less than 59% of the vote. No other candidate in the Democratic primary has won even one county-wide race.
Jake has led a key county government agency, transforming it from a moribund office mired in bureaucracy to an efficient, customer focused service agency. No other candidate has done that.
Jake has set an example for honest, transparent, and accountable government. No other candidate has done that.
Jake believes that the government should work for you, and he’s proven in past offices that he knows how to make that happen. He will do it again as County Executive.
Jake knows the people and communities of St. Louis County and is committed to working with each and everyone to build a better St. Louis County.