Wesley Bell,  Prosecuting Attorney for St. Louis County, has announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate, reports St. Louis Public Radio. He becomes the latest Democratic candidate seeking to unseat Republican Josh Hawley.

Bell, whose mother was a civil servant and his father was a police officer, said he’s continuing his family’s legacy of public service with his candidacy. He also said that the death of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and the protests that followed was a “turning point” for him.

In an announcement on Twitter, Bell accused Hawley of “ignoring the needs of Missourians.”

“And when the city and region and the country for that matter was seen ready to explode, I stepped in to help calm tensions between police and protesters,” Bell said. “And then when I ran for St. Louis County prosecutor, no one thought we could win. But we not only won but won big. And we've worked together to improve people's lives across the county.”

“I've been in situations where the voices were loud and the problems were big,” Bell continued. “But I found ways to work with people to bring real change to bring real progress. I think Washington needs more of that. And that's exactly what I intend to do.”

As he prepares for his bid for the Senate, Bell has a long track record of public service in the "Show Me State."According to his campaign’s website, he’s a graduate of Lindenwood University and the University of Missouri School of Law. After graduating from law school, he worked as a public defender in St.Louis County and taught criminology at Florissant Valley Community College Additionally, he was appointed to be a municipal court judge in Velda City and municipal prosecutor in Riverview.

Bell was elected to the city council with strong support from some activists during the height of the Fergurson protests in 2015. As a council member, he helped to implement the consent decree "to reform the city's criminal justice system through both police and court reform."

In 2018, he defeated long-time county prosecutor Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary election in a major upset. He became the first Black county prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County history when he assumed office in January 2019.

In response to Bell’s announcement, Hawley’s campaign issued a statement that said that  the Democratic primary “will be a competition to see which candidate can get farther to the left by ending girls sports and being soft on crime.”

“We expect whoever emerges from the messy primary to be the darling of the woke left and raise tens of millions of dollars to try and buy this seat from Missourians,” the statement continued.

Bell said that Hawley’s statement is evidence that the Senator is more “focused on being famous than on serving Missouri.”

“When I was in the middle of chaos, I worked to calm those tensions. When Josh Hawley was faced with chaos, he inflamed them and that's the difference between us,” Bell explained. “And I think Missourians deserve a real voice at the table in Congress, someone who will work with anyone to improve their lives. We have enough politicians throwing bombs, we need more people building bridges.”

“I think they're looking for someone who will commit to working across the aisle and delivering results, as I've done,” Bell continued. “And that's why I'm running. And that's how I win.”

The Senate primary in Missouri is scheduled for August 2024.