A Florissant couple will take their place in Missouri history when they are sworn in for the legislative session that begins Jan. 8, 2021. Rep. Jay Mosley will begin his third term in the House presenting the 68th District, which covers parts of Florissant and Black Jack. His wife, Angela Walton Mosley, will join him in the Capitol Jefferson City, serving in the Senate.
Both Mosleys are Democrats in a super-majority Republican legislature. Walton Mosley’s 13th District in the Senate covers the northernmost communities in north St. Louis County. Historic in its own right, it will be the first time the 13th Senate district in Missouri is represented by a Black person.
Serving in politics is part of Walton-Mosley’s family tradition. Her father, sister, husband, brother-in-law and late stepmother have served in the Missouri legislature.
However, timing and family obligations were important factors in the couple’s decisions to represent the community.
“Angela was supposed to run first, actually. She was originally going to run for the House seat and she didn’t want to lose her seniority at work,” Mosely said. That was in 2016.
“So, he decided that he would run, which turned out to work out okay,” Walton Mosely said of her husband.
“Also, the main reason I didn’t want to run was because the kids were still in school, so, I wanted to wait until they graduated. ... my last child graduated this past May.”
In 2020, it was Jay Mosley who was asked to run for an open Senate seat made available by term limits, but the timing did not work for him.
“He didn’t want to run, and I was like, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll run. I’m ready now,’” Walton Mosley said. “My kids will be all graduated and going off to college.”
While it is somewhat unusual for first-time politicians to run for the Senate, it happens.
Barack Obama did it in 2004, and we know how well that worked out. And it has happened in Missouri.
“Brian Williams did it two years prior, so I wasn’t afraid of doing it,” Walton Mosley said. “He also ran against two state reps — one was a former state rep, and one was a current. So, I felt like if he did it, I can do it too,” Walton Mosley said.
History in the making
She said it did not occur to her, initially, that her win in the state Senate could be historic, Jay Mosley said he thought about it, but did not say anything to his wife.
“I won’t lie. As we were canvassing, getting close to the election, it did cross my mind, but I didn’t know any of the history as far as married couples or even family members that served together.”
“I didn’t think about it until after the primary election,” Walton Mosley said. “[Former Sen. Shalonn] “Kiki” Curls, she brought it up to me, ‘Y’all will be the first couple.’ Oh, really?”
Now aligned in life and legislation, don’t expect to see these lawmakers to spar on different issues.
“We pretty much agree on the same things. I don’t see us having a conflict on any bill,” Walton Mosely said.
Mosley concurred. “We won’t be butting each other’s heads,” he said.
“And some of the bills he filed in the past, I’ll be filing them on the Senate side,” she said.
One of those is a lottery bill, that would allow winners to keep their newfound fortune on the low-low.
“The lottery bill was going to grant anonymity to lottery winners in the state. It would prevent the Lottery Commission from posting information about the winners, which I felt could be a dangerous thing,” he said.
“Unless the winner chooses to publicize,” she added. The bill has made it out of committee twice, but it has yet to reach the floor.
“So maybe with my better half being in the Senate, we might be able to push it through a little faster,” Mosley said.
Changing school board elections
Walton Mosley has a few bills she plans to submit. One in particular concerns how board members are elected in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.
“To change how we elect members of the school board. Because currently, we are on what they call the cumulative system,” she said. “Trying to change it where they run by districts.”
She is also researching a police reform bill that a senator asked her to support.
Additionally, Walton Mosley wants to find productive solutions for voters who want to reduce crime.
“When walking the district, when we were canvassing and also on my posts, asking people what they wanted to see, they all said something about crimes,” Walton Mosley said. “I’m trying to figure out what we can do to help prevent crime.
“Certainly, we have to do more funding in education and more affordable housing, mental health care. So those things do help with the crime, so we have to come up with some more preventive ways of stopping crime.”
For Democratic lawmakers and Black lawmakers in Jefferson City, Mosley said it’s important for everyone to do their part and work with super-majority colleagues to pass laws that benefit everyone.
“A lot of us have good rapport with the Republican side, so I believe in utilizing those relationships and just making the right move at the right time,” he said.
For the Mosleys, their focus is aligned and straightforward.
“I just hope that we remain humble and remember why we are in these positions and that we are there to help the community, particularly, our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. So that’s our main focus, I believe. Mine,” she said.
He agreed. “I’m the same.”