CLAYTON — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Friday he has hired state Rep. Cora Faith Walker as director of policy, a top position in his cabinet.
Walker, D-Ferguson, 34, resigned from her seat in the state House of Representatives on Friday at 8 a.m. with a letter to Gov. Mike Parson. She is the second St. Louis-area legislator to resign in recent weeks. Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, announced on July 19 he was leaving at the end of the month and moving out of Missouri.
Walker is filling the role that had been held by Jeff Wagener in the administration of former County Executive Steve Stenger. Wagener resigned after Stenger’s indictment in a federal pay-to-play sting and resignation on April 29.
Walker’s salary information was not yet available. Wagener made $130,000 per year.
Walker could not be reached for comment. In a prepared statement, she said working as a state representative had been rewarding but that “local government has so much more potential to improve the lives of our residents.”
In a statement, Page praised Walker’s record of “collaboration and building a consensus with diverse colleagues.”
“She will play a big role as we address the many challenges our region faces like crime and public safety, restoring trust in County government, and improving the business climate,” his statement said.
Walker won Missouri’s 74th District seat for the first time in November 2016, running unopposed. She also ran unopposed in 2018. Parson must now call for special elections to fill the remainders of the terms for Walker and Franks.
According to her website, she has a bachelor of arts and a master’s of public health from Washington University, and a law degree from St. Louis University with a certificate in health law.
Prior to her term in the Legislature, she worked as a lawyer in the area of public health and policy.
In the House this past legislative session, Walker served on a budget committee dealing with health care issues. She secured a $1 million increase in funding for community health worker patient outreach. And she advocated for a $10 million line item to improve how Medicaid providers communicate with each other in order to secure better outcomes for patients, she said.
The majority of her work centered on health care policy. This year, she sponsored legislation requiring health care providers to undergo two hours of cultural competency training, another bill establishing a prescription drug monitoring program, and a third bill requiring hospitals to create violence prevention plans.
But, as a Democrat in the Republican-controlled Legislature, her initiatives did not gain much traction.
She made headlines in the fall of 2016 when she accused Steven Roberts Jr., who was also running unopposed for the House, of having sexually assaulted her. Roberts said they had consensual sex and denied any rape. No criminal charges were filed.
The two lawmakers sued each other but after 2½ years of courtroom maneuvers and delays, dismissed their suits in May.
Jack Suntrup of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Jeremy Kohler • 314-340-8337 @jeremykohler on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org