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Stumping in Cole County

Stumping in Cole County

AG candidate makes a pitch to local Democrats

June 17th, 2016 by Brittany Ruess in Local News

Jake Zimmerman, the St. Louis County assessor, speaks to Cole County Democrats at Bones Restaurant and Lounge on Thursday. Zimmerman is running for attorney general.

Photo by Annie Rice

Jake Zimmerman, a Democratic candidate for Missouri attorney general, stopped in Jefferson City as a part of a six-county tour on Thursday.

He spoke to the Cole County Democratic Club as a part of his campaign to replace current Attorney General Chris Koster, who is running for governor. For nearly five years, Zimmerman has served as the St. Louis County assessor, earning the position after residents voted to make the seat an elected one.

To take on the role, he left the Missouri House of Representatives where he represented the 83rd District for more than four years.

He told Cole County Democrats his experience running the assessor's office helps make him the better candidate over his Democratic opponent Teresa Hensley, former Cass County prosecutor. She spoke to the club at a March luncheon.

Though he called Hensley a "fine candidate," Zimmerman said he has a greater breadth of experience, including a tenure as an assistant attorney general.

One of them will go up against the winner of the Republican primary race between state Sen. Kurt Schaefer and Josh Hawley, a University of Missouri law professor. The race between them has been heated, and Zimmerman called it an "ideological" battle with focuses on abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control.

"I think both of them have demonstrated over the past year that they seem to be more interested in a narrow piece of partisan warfare rather than doing the work of the people of Missouri," he said.

Zimmerman said he wants to continue the "common sense, centrist Democratic tradition" that's taken place in the attorney general's office for the past 24 years. Either Republican candidate, he added, will turn the office in a "dangerous, divisive and ideological direction."

Wanting to clean up the "picture of corruption" at the Capitol, Zimmerman said he would end "pay to play," the influence of special interests on legislators.

"I am running to be attorney general of the state of Missouri because I believe this is an election year about fairness," he said. "I believe this is an election year when we're going to be called to choose between those who care about the citizens we are all supposed to represent and those who want to do bidding for special interests."

If elected to attorney general, Zimmerman said he would focus on consumer protection (particularly scammers who take advantage of senior citizens) and creating tougher protections for victims of domestic abuse, identity theft and public corruption.