We're not sure how long partisanship has divided the St. Louis region. At least since the Civil War, maybe forever.
We do know that there's a long list of examples of when the metro-east got shortchanged or dismissed by the folks on the other side of the river -- the new Mississippi Bridge, the interstate ramps in downtown St. Louis, the competitive China hub airport efforts to name three.
And partisanship is a problem not just between the states but even among adjacent cities. Tax increment financing has pitted communities against each other as they compete to attract business, with little overall growth for the region.
Joe Reagan, the new head of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, comes to the job without all that partisanship baggage. His previous work experience was in Louisville, Ky., another two-state metropolitan area where he said leaders learned to trust each other and work well together.
"When you have trust, you can do great things," Reagan said.
Reagan will have his work cut out for him in building that trust. But if it's ever going to happen, this is a window of opportunity. He believes the St. Louis region has potential that can be tapped if leaders truly pull together as one. Let's hope he helps us find the way.