St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he plans to seek another four-year term as county executive in 2018.
Ehlmann announced his candidacy in a statement released on Monday, Aug. 14 and discussed it with Mid Rivers Newsmagazine in an interview on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
“I’m proud to have served St. Charles County during a time of incredible growth and opportunity for those who live and work here,” said Ehlmann, age 66 and a Republican.
As accomplishments, Ehlmann lists the progress the county has made keeping crime low, improving its transportation infrastructure and roads, and continuing development of new parks.
He lauds the work of the St. Charles County Police Department, which was created from the old county Sheriff’s Department three years ago and has an appointed chief of police. County police and other municipal departments have maintained low crime rates while violent crime has been a problem “elsewhere in the region,” he said.
While old roads and bridges have stymied economic growth elsewhere in the region, he acknowledged improvements such as the new Daniel Boone Bridge across the Missouri River and the completion of the Interstate 364-Page Avenue extension between St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Those have happened because of the willingness of St. Charles County to develop funding schemes that included using county money in partnership with state and federal dollars, he said. Continued planning for major road projects involves future improvements along Interstate 70 and in the Wentzville area that, once accomplished, may spur more overall growth in the county, particularly in its western portion, he said.
Ehlmann lauds the work of his staff in getting things done.
“I can look out of my office and see St. Louis County across the river, and it is a constant reminder that we must be careful to avoid their failures,” he said in a press statement announcing his intention to run.
Ehlmann said he can’t understand why St. Louis County and other areas don’t often try to emulate some of the successes in road, law enforcement, economic development and others that St. Charles County has had. “I don’t know why they can’t learn from some of the things we do,” he said.
So far, no opposition has surfaced for Ehlmann in the 2018 election, though he said he expects some.
Ehlmann also served as a state representative, state senator and as a circuit judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit, which includes St. Charles County. He was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1989 to 1993 and a state senator from 1993 to 2001. He was an associate circuit judge from 2001 to 2003 and circuit judge in 2003. He was first elected as county executive in 2006.
As recently as February, Ehlmann was among 31 applicants seeking to replace Missouri Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Teitelman, who passed away last year. He wasn’t chosen but said at the time that he was perfectly happy with his job and may run again for county executive “when his term comes up next year.”