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Politically Speaking: Alderwoman Ingrassia On City Politics, The Rams And Police

Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking crew welcomes St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, a Democrat who represents the city’s 6th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. 

Before she ran for the seat, Ingrassia was active in securing grants for the ward, which takes in nine neighborhoods, such as Fox Park and Lafayette Square, in the city’s central and southern corridors. She easily defeated Damon Jones and Michelle Witthaus in a 2013 Democratic primary for the seat – which was tantamount to election.

Since she was elected to the board, Ingrassia has been a key player in debates over Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration project and community development block grants. She worked together with Witthaus to implement “participatory budgeting” to decide how certain capital funds are spent in her ward.

No Democratic opponent filed to run against Ingrassia in March's municipal primary, which means she is almost certain to return to the Board of Aldermen for another four years.

On the show, Ingrassia said:

  • Her 2013 election was aided by her previous work securing grants and implementing programs that helped her ward. “I had people in each of the neighborhoods I represented able to go door knock for me,” she said. “And they said to their neighbor ‘Hey, I live here; this is what Christine has done for us.”
  • She’s leery of using public money to keep the Rams in St. Louis -- or to lure another team here. She added that she’s interested to see the report from Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz about how to proceed.
  • She’s close with St. Louis police officers and activists who want closer scrutiny of how they interact with citizens. That, she says, allows her to see “both sides of the argument” in the wake of protests over Michael Brown’s death. “Does the police department have room for improvement? Absolutely,” she said. “Should there be the deep distrust of the police in general and not just going after officers that are doing the wrong thing? I don’t really see that.”
  • She said she was surprised that she didn’t have a Democratic opponent this year. While she “likes knocking on doors,” she added that she “just did so a week and a half ago and I’m OK with not trying to hustle quite as much.” “I’m definitely not going to take it for granted that I can beat a Green Party and Republican candidate – but it’s definitely not the fight as it would be.”
  • She will back Chelsea Merta in the race for 7th Ward alderman. Jack Coatar and Samuel Cummings III are also running in the Democratic primary for the central corridor-based seat.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Christine Ingrassia on Twitter: @chryssi 

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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