St. Louis County Executive candidates debate at UMSL

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – A new candidate for St. Louis County Executive entered the race Tuesday as the mainstream hopefuls were debating at UMSL.  Longtime activist and a member of the Michael Brown Leadership Coalition, Zaki Baruti announced he will be a write-in candidate for the office.  He said Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream had not shown "moral leadership" following the police shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teen.

Both Stream and Stenger discussed the issues opened up by the Ferguson shooting during the debate carried on KWMU Radio.

"The Ferguson situation is a result of a lack of leadership in St. Louis County for many years. It didn't just happen," said Stream a Missouri State Representative from Kirkwood. Stream pointed to his work across party lines while serving as budget chairman in the Missouri House as proof he is capable of bringing parties together across political and racial lines.

"We've got joblessness throughout our county especially in North County. We've got schools that are not performing well especially in North County.  This has led to hopelessness for many people," he said.

St. Louis County Council member Steve Stenger promised to create a County Office of Community Empowerment.  "As I see it, it would address issues of transportation, our Children's Services Fund and our economic development department.  It would marshal all of those resources and focus its efforts all over the county, but primarily in our areas of poverty," he explained.

Also running are Libertarian candidate Theo "Ted" Brown Sr. and Constitution party candidate Joe Passanise.

The election is three weeks away on Tuesday, November 4.