Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Alderman Matt Villa Stepping Down

Posted By on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:20 AM


UPDATE: This version reflects comments from Villa

The latest in a family line of St. Louis politicos is calling it quits.

Alderman Matt Villa, grandson and nephew to a pair of longtime St. Louis political heavyweights, has decided to step down from his perch as representative of the 11th Ward, which houses the southern tip of the city.

"The fact that I have two jobs has never been a family favorite of my wife," concedes Villa, who also serves as the executive vice president of his family's company, Villa Lighting. "She's never been exactly thrilled that it consumes a lot of time."

But Villa, who has two kids, explains that it was a tough decision to make. "It's been something I've enjoyed tremendously," he tells Daily RFT. "Helping people is what drives me in my life. But I'm trying to keep my family happy, too." In a letter to the Board of Aldermen, he called his opportunity to serve a "rare gift."

Villa's grandfather, Red Villa, was an alderman for nearly four decades, and his uncle, Tom Villa, served as president of the board of alderman, as well as state representative.

Villa's decision to retire will leave open the position of chairman of the Committee of Public Employees, which is overseeing the current squabble over what to do with firefighter pensions.

He says his most difficult piece of legislation -- but also the one that he's proudest of -- was a bill that created the Loughborough Commons shopping center in the face of eminent domain, which angered critics.

Villa said that the Democratic Committee of the 11th Ward will be able to nominate a candidate in time for the April elections. "I had some things brewing, and I could have gone a little way's longer, but I didn't want to bail on the city and cause them a special election," he says.

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