ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Fourteen months ago, Dr. Sam Page was appointed St. Louis County Executive, now he wants the job for the next two years.
Page says he's the right man for the job. He says despite criticism from political opponents, the county has delivered testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the areas that need it.
“I think our record stands in delivering services where they are needed quickly, and delivering them as fast as humanly possible, and putting St. Louis County in a much better position than other areas in the country right now,” Page says.
Some residents believe Page has had an overreaction to the virus, including spending $2 million on a temporary morgue that has mostly sat empty.
“It's kind of like being criticized for sending too many fire trucks to a fire. When we have an emergency we prepare for the worst,” he said. “I hear the frustrations of those who are negatively impacted by tough decisions that are necessary to protect the health and welfare of everyone in our community, and we see what happens in other parts of the country when you don't make those tough decisions," he said.
Page says if he wins the election, his next year will be focused on getting back to a new normal and growing the economy once a vaccine is available.
He also says a big part of his plan is tackling systemic racism in our region and creating more opportunity for neighborhoods that have been left behind.
“Asking in every complex policy question, ‘Is race a part of this problem?’ and if it is, let's get it out on the table and talk about it. Every complex policy question we've tried to take on head on, public housing, criminal justice reform, problems in the jail, we haven't solved them completely but they are all a lot better off than they were when this started, and they're all on the right path,” he said.
Throughout the pandemic, Page has worked hand-in-hand with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to make decisions about closings and re-openings.
News 4 asked Page about his thoughts on city-county merger.
“I look at problems that need to be solved, rather than, how can I merge governments together. If solving those problems means we have governments working together in a more cooperative way. If the voters of the City of St Louis decide they want to be a part of St. Louis County and if the voters in St. Louis County say, ‘Hey it would be great if St. Louis was a municipality,' then we can put that before the folks and they can vote on it,” Page said.