Talk about strange bedfellows.
Gearing up for a likely gubernatorial run next year, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, made an appearance this morning in front of the aldermanic general meeting. Considering that the room was more or less filled with Democrats, the reception was surprisingly...warm.
After treating the lawmakers and staff to a coffee-and-donut breakfast, Kinder rose to the podium and pledged support for the city's historic-preservation tax credits, which are in jeopardy. He also supported an end to the century-and-a-half state edict that gives Jefferson City control over the St. Louis Police Department -- even though local taxpayers foot the bill.
Kinder isn't expected to win the St. Louis vote, but it's possible he could pick up a little bit of Arch City love come election time. Several Democrats here are tepid toward incumbent Governor Jay Nixon, who'll try to defend his seat against his second-in-command. During the Democrats' 2010 debacle, Nixon largely stayed out of statewide races, leaving the city in a situation where it's likely to lose a congressman.
Other St. Louisans are upset with Nixon because he's shown no interest in handing the police reins back to the city. Last year, he stuck his nose into fire department law by signing a bill allowing St. Louis firefighters to bolt from city-bound residencies after seven years on the force, even though that goes against the city charter.
Responding to the police situation, Kinder told Daily RFT: "The difference between me and the governor is that I support local control, and he's working to thwart it."
Kinder's appearance at City Hall was part of a weekend swing through town to make nice with Democrats. Later today he'll work on public service announcements for Heat Up St. Louis, an organization that helps pay utility bills for needy St. Louisans.