This past week we were reminded that civic leaders in St. Louis are elevating the importance of having a regional conversation about fragmentation. Thursday night our board member Joe Reagan, President and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber, spoke to a group of 800 St. Louisans at the Chamber’s annual event, Game Changers. In his remarks, Joe communicated the importance of Better Together’s organic educational effort:

The real Game Changer for St. Louis will be our decisions about local government unity. This is the defining issue of our time. I firmly believe our economic and community potential has been limited by the boundaries we’ve imposed on ourselves. The fact-driven research and open dialogue catalyzed by Better Together has demonstrated how our current fragmented civic structures just don’t work. And worse, they perpetuate a “scarcity mentality” that pits neighbor against neighbor and which has led to an unacceptable maze of regulations and unsustainable economics.

 

This does not have to be our future. With the support of Mayor Krewson and County Executive Stenger, Better Together has formed a task force to identify best practices and possible reforms to our current structure. The task force is made up of business leaders – Suzanne Sitherwood of Spire, Arindam Kar at Bryan Cave, and Dr. Will Ross at Washington University School of Medicine. After a yearlong outreach effort the task force will make recommendations for further discussion and hopefully, action.

 

We cannot shy away from this issue just because it’s hard or we will be criticized, or we might not win the first time. Now more than ever, we need strong civic leadership. We cannot wait or economic growth will pass us by. So you are going to see the Chamber speak forcefully and clearly on this matter.

Communicating this message throughout St. Louis is critical to our success and these remarks served as a reminder to us, and we hope to you too, that we all have opportunities to communicate with citizens in large arenas, small groups, and one-on-one chats about how important it is for our region to have this conversation.

Each day we’re asked how others can get involved and contribute to this next phase. If you’re among the many who are eager to help, sign up to volunteer, or request a speaker for an upcoming neighborhood group or organization meeting.