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Editorial: We recommend Michelle Sherod in the Democratic primary, state Senate Dist. 5.

Editorial: We recommend Michelle Sherod in the Democratic primary, state Senate Dist. 5.

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For St. Louisans to have their interests properly represented in Jefferson City, they must start by electing state senators and representatives who understand the importance of communication and persuasion. The simple political fact is that the Legislature is dominated by conservative rural and suburban politicians. Advancing the urban-centric agenda of St. Louis requires electing someone who can speak the other side’s language.

Michelle Sherod, 58, has the maturity and broad-based experience to advance that agenda without brow-beating or lecturing conservatives about causes and concerns they don’t necessarily prioritize. We recommend her in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary for state Senate District 5.

Before explaining why she’s the better choice, it’s important for voters to know that they have a strong alternative candidate in state Rep. Steven Roberts, 32, of St. Louis, a former prosecutor and graduate of the Pepperdine University School of Law. Although Roberts has more legislative experience, Sherod clearly has more life experience, especially in areas that would advance her ability to persuade an audience of skeptics in the Capitol.

“I grew up as one of very few African Americans in St. Joseph, Missouri, a mostly white, Republican community,” she stated in an editorial board questionnaire. “This experience developed my ability to talk with and work with everyone, no matter their race or party affiliation. My approach has always been to recognize that we have more issues in common than we do that separate us.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she became a certified public accountant, then worked full-time while attending St. Louis University School of Law. Then-State Auditor Claire McCaskill appointed her deputy state auditor. Sherod remained on her staff when McCaskill became a U.S. senator. She also serves as board president of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation.

Racial tensions, gun crime and poverty — the issues that typically dominate the urban agenda — absolutely deserve state lawmakers’ undivided attention. St. Louis and Kansas City are the economic engines of this state, and if conservatives continue to treat these issues as someone else’s problem, the entire state will suffer the consequences with a continuing downward economic and employment trajectory. The progressive answer too often is to lecture, browbeat and guilt-trip the other side into giving well-meaning legislation a hearing. But that approach has yielded minimal actual results.

Sherod is no pushover, but she recognizes that there must be a give-and-take in successful politics. “Compromise is a necessary element of resolving issues of importance to all of us. In general, my strategy is to accept a partial victory that will advance legislation with the intention of revisiting the issue in the future,” she says.

This is how work gets done in the real world.

Also running are Megan Green, Jeremiah Church and William Haas.

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