This is how some mayoral candidates plan to improve racial equity in St. Louis
Portions of this article first appeared in the St. Louis American. This story has been updated and now includes audio.
This April, St. Louis will elect a new mayor for the first time in 16 years. St. Louis Public Radio, along with 13 other community and media organizations, hosted a mayoral forum Wednesday that focused on how to create a more racially equitable city.
The Forward Through Ferguson report served as a guide for crafting the questions, which gave candidates a chance to hold forth on a wide range of topics, from policing to affordable housing and inclusivity.
The forum did not include all candidates in the 2017 race. This is based on an inclusionary policy that requires candidates to meet all legally required filing requirements with the Missouri Ethics Commission, demonstrate evidence of an active campaign, and share money raised as a measure of interest.
Some of the Democratic, Republican and independent candidates responded to a questionnaire ahead of the forum.
Here are their responses:
What is your reaction to the Forward Through Ferguson report? How will you use the report to inform your administration's strategies?
Jeffrey Boyd I think the report provides guidelines that we as a city can modify and implement to support improvement in our processes and our culture when dealing with disparities and challenges in our community. I support using the report as a guide moving forward.
Antonio French The Ferguson report quantifies what many of us have known and experienced our entire lives in St. Louis. Our region is a divided place where opportunities for success are often determined by zip code, race, and class. For many people who could not hear or understand the calls for change from thousands of people during the protests and unrest of 2014, the Ferguson report presents those issues in a format that people of a different class and life experience can comprehend. But the report is not the first to present the gross disparities caused by racism and class division in our city. It is up to people in positions of power, who understand the calls from the community and the quantified evidence of reports like this, to implement real change. I will do that.
Bill Haas I support the report in its entirety. I’ve been saying that fines that people can’t pay have been debtors’ prisons for years; you should have counsel provided if you can’t afford it, but the law has not caught up with that yet. I thought the Justice Department and Grand Jury decisions were whitewashes. I’m banned from the McGraw show on KTRS for protesting McGraw’s racism at the time for caring more about the few bad protestors than what the rest of them were protesting about. I would deal with each item on the report individually.
Andrew Jones I am concerned with some of the biases and inherent subjectivity within the report. However, many of the highlights are elements I’ve embraced within my platform: an emphasis on job-training in education; the importance of metrics to measure progress and hold responsible parties accountable; using best practices in development to benefit the whole city and reduce the reliance on incentives; etc.
My primary focus will be in: restoring neighborhood safety to all our communities, reasserting law and order, ensuring all city services—transportation, safety, sanitation, etc.—operate at their optimal level to ensure all citizens and stakeholders rights are considered and granted. I will also use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s office to champion these strategies for city entities outside the mayor’s direct control (e.g. the schools), for entities like Bi-State that span the region, and in conversation and cooperative effort with St. Louis County and other municipalities.
Tishaura O. Jones I am the only candidate who has implemented recommendations of the Forward Through Ferguson Report: The College Kids College Savings Account Program, The Office of Financial Empowerment, and funding the updated study that will put us in the pipeline for federal funding for the North/South MetroLink. Implementing the calls to action listed in the report is central to my platform, which can be found at www.tishaura4mayor.com/policies. I believe we must confront the hard truths raised by the Ferguson Commission, and also develop metrics, measure, and monitor our progress towards meeting those calls to action.
Lyda Krewson The Forward through Ferguson report should be a road map for the next mayor. It's a very valuable report with viable solutions to bring greater racial equity to St. Louis. We will be a city where outcomes are no longer predictable by race, and that starts with identifying and reforming systems and policies that reinforce disparities. That means expanding access to public transportation to connect people to jobs. It means spurring commercial and residential development in our distressed neighborhoods, and it means providing all St. Louis kids access to the quality education and services they deserve.
Johnathan McFarland When I read the Forward Through Ferguson report, I was pleased to see an acknowledgement of issues I had been working to address since I began with M.O.R.E., in 2009. The ideas expressed outline the most pressing issues facing our city, and provide an outline of what my administration would prioritize. The issues of Education, Economy, and citizen inclusion are the foundation of my platforms, which are in keeping with the suggestions made in the report, with a few exceptions. I would use the report as a reference to what the people of our city need.
Lewis Reed The report was an outstanding, in depth articulation of the problems we face, along with specific calls to action. My administration will work with the County to create a uniform policing strategy. I will continue to take every opportunity to invest in kids. We will also address officers’ relationships within the community. We will add training, such as implicit bias training and cultural responsiveness training, increase pay for officers and allow more time for community relationship development. As Mayor, I will set the tone for the police department that makes building community relationships measurable, valuable and appreciated.
How will you holistically address public safety and how will you pay for that?
Jeffrey Boyd Public safety is a concern from all departments in our city. I will work with the non-profit and faith community to address the root causes of crime and address under employment, mental health, and educational disparities. We have many great resources available in our community and we need to create partnerships where the government and the non-profit and faith community can unite to solve these issues. We pay for this by drilling down into each department and eliminating waste and effectively use the City’s Proposition “S” Funding to support the non-profit community.
Antonio French Only three candidates have released a crime plan. I was the first, and according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, mine remains the most detailed. Mine is also the only one written from real life experience working in violent neighborhoods in our city. I go to crime scenes myself. I’ve worked with police and community members to successfully transform blocks from drug spots to places of peace.
My plan (available at www.comprehensiveplan.org) targets the 15 neighborhoods that account for more than 50% of our city’s total violent crime. I will use economic development, after-school programs for kids, satellite job placement offices, the parks and recreation department, and police to change the negative characteristics of those neighborhoods that lead to the violence (vacancy, joblessness, lack of hope). I will also be a mayor who accepts responsibility for the condition of every St. Louis neighborhood. The buck will stop with me.
Bill Haas Monitored cameras all downtown corners, lock-boxes for guns in cars, more police, targeting repeat offenders, for gun crimes with stricter enforcement and offers of jobs, conflict resolution training for youth, and de-escalation training for police.
But if we don’t address the causes of crime, our grandchildren will still be asking for more police on their streets, and the answer is better education: Short-term: education, job-training and jobs to youth on the street. Medium-term 8th grade initiative to graduate 100%. Long-term 100% of third-grade reading scores at grade-level.
Paid for with better sales tax instead of for sports stadiums.
Andrew Jones With many competing priorities for the city’s thin revenues, we need to be sure we are optimizing the public safety resources we have now, not make pie in the sky promises to win elections. I will begin by ensuring we are deploying current public safety resources optimally and in line with national best practices. Because public safety is of such urgent concern to our citizens, I will call for a department-by-department review of city services to see the role they can play in promoting public safety.
Tishaura O. Jones The city must reject the false choice between being “tough” on crime and addressing the root causes of violence. The city spends $254 million repeatedly arresting, trying, and incarcerating the same people, and $16 million to keep the Workhouse open. The city needs to funnel that money towards treatment programs for mental health and substance abuse, job training, and adding social workers to the police department. In my platform, I outline the need to use focused deterrence, to develop strong police/community relationships, and to hire a public safety director with experience addressing urban crime.
Lyda Krewson Job one for the next mayor is neighborhood safety. The first part of that is preventing crime. That means summer jobs for kids, after school jobs, youth and recreation activities, alternative sentencing and alternative dispute resolutions. We also need law enforcement. St. Louis is budgeted to have 1,300 officers, and we have less than 1,200. My plan calls for more officers, better pay, upgraded equipment and more modernized training, including implicit bias training. I will use public funds and public private partnerships to find the resources we need. What will our city look like if we don't do it?
Johnathan McFarland To address public safety, we must address the causes of the threats to our community. I support body cameras on police officers, but not additional security cameras or surveillance measures, which only provide footage after a crime is committed. Working to ensure that police officers live in the communities they are serving, and improving our public schools are two changes that are directly correlated to public safety. Public safety measures I would implement would, in most cases, cost less than programs being proposed and implemented by the current administration. Additional police and surveillance is not as impactful as community building.
Lewis Reed It is an outcome of multiple factors tied together. We need jobs and opportunities for training; a world class education system; a reduction in vacancy; neighborhood environments that promote safety with proper lighting and safe routes; better paid and better trained police officers; and mental health & rehab services. My goal is to reduce crime by 50% in my first two years. We must strategize & coordinate all of our departments toward meeting that goal. I will find support from our corporate partners and create economic efficiencies where needed. We need a bold vision to dramatically reduce crime.
How would you work across city departments to prioritize the children, youth, and families of St. Louis?
Jeffrey Boyd My priorities are focused on rebuilding our distressed neighborhoods. This focus includes families and children because neighborhoods that have long been neglected will experience a rejuvenation in population growth and hopefully allow communities to re-open its closed schools, re-open and start new businesses, and reduce crime. I would allocate resources to expand economic enrichment programs that offer students access to the internet, more exposure to STEM education, direct tutoring and mentoring expansion with partners in our non-profit sector. Through partnerships with leading businesses, I would expand youth jobs in the summer. I would also support programs that help parents who need extra support or training so they can assist their child at home. I believe that these disparities are generational and our parents need support too.
Antonio French It all starts with reducing violence. This is a big part of my Comprehensive Plan (www.comprehensiveplan.org). Every kid in our city needs to have a safe place to be after school. We need to expand services offered by Parks & Recreation. We need to fully fund the Affordable Housing Fund to help ensure kids have safe, permanent homes. And we need to make sure every neighborhood in our city is a safe place for kids to be, free of gunfire and violence.
Bill Haas Work with organizations like Better Family Life. If we deal with schools to increase the quality of education, the other pieces will fall in line. Jobs for youth who don’t have them, initiative with business community on 8th graders so they graduate with good skills, and third-grade reading the game changer. No matter the question, the answer is better education which will lead to low crime and an educated work-force, and have sports and businesses falling all over each other to come here without having to give them public monies to come here. That’s my vision for us.
Andrew Jones As mayor, it is my responsibility to ensure the baseline welfare of all of our citizens. I will ensure all departments execute their respective charges according to national best practices. As a father and grandfather who wants his children and grandchildren to choose to live in a vibrant St. Louis, I believe the key to prioritizing families is creating a positive economic environment to ensure the ability to find good jobs at all levels of the economy and a climate that is conducive to entrepreneurship and job creation.
Tishaura O. Jones The first of category in my platform is titled “Children, Youth, and Families” because St. Louis needs a mayor who will re-imagine local government to support kids from birth. As Treasurer, I created the College Kids Savings Account Program to do my part to smooth the path towards college. To start, I’d work with Parks to expand access to recreation, the Health Department to provide every expectant mother with a package of resources to help reduce infant mortality and ensure health development, and with the school district to make sure the city is being the best partner it can be.
Lyda Krewson Every child in St. Louis deserves a good education. I will use the mayor’s bully pulpit to hold our education institutions accountable and make sure our kids receive the quality education they deserve, regardless of where they go to school. I will also collaborate with city and state agencies, nonprofits, schools and law enforcement to provide social services and other assistance for families who need it. Finally, I’ll focus on neighborhood safety and economic development to create good opportunities for all St. Louisans.
Johnathan McFarland It is necessary to include measures to expand transportation resources, implement a community policing model, and ensure access to adequate employment and affordable housing. I believe that creating a community school model in our public schools would have the biggest impact on our youth and their families. I would also like to work with our housing department to start a Renter’s Union that would work to protect the significant renting population of St. Louis from irresponsible landlords. I would outline my vision to each of the departments, and provide a detailed explanation of how their department fits into that vision.
Lewis Reed Addressing the issues of our youth is at the center of my plans. I want to build safe and citizen-led neighborhoods. I will work with the city departments and the school system to end childhood hunger and address mental health issues. I will measure the output of departments and organizations we support to make sure our youth and families are getting the best possible resources and service for healthcare, education and food. I will utilize data from each department to identify needs of youth and families and direct a strategic approach to provide for those needs.
How do you intend to use existing or future transportation infrastructure to build stronger, more equitable, and better connected neighborhoods in St. Louis?
Jeffrey Boyd In order to establish and sustain growth St. Louis must plan and develop a housing strategy with mass-transit in mind. I commit to helping coordinate the transportation discussion by collaborating with local, regional, state, and federal agencies to streamline the process for improving and building new sidewalks, roads, and mass-transit options. We cannot allow our growth plans to be delayed because we have not prepared in this area. Transportation is another opportunity to create jobs in St. Louis. The more funding we can secure in this area, the more training and opportunities we can provide for our residents.
Antonio French I support North-South Metrolink expansion—I have since it was first promised more than two decades ago. I also support the half-cent sales tax increase that may appear on the April ballot. But I have also said that I am fully aware that it alone will not get us there. The next mayor will have a very difficult challenge of trying to make good on a promise that is being made. As voters approve this sales tax increase, they will expect to see Metrolink expansion, but without added funds from the County, the State, and the Federal Government, that will be impossible. As mayor, I will fight for the additional funds needed to finally make this a reality. I know how, when done properly, light rail can be a huge economic stimulus to blighted areas. I also know that a good public transportation system which includes not just light rail, but also better bus transportation, is vital to a city like St. Louis.
Bill Haas North-South Metro-link lower on my list than crime and education though we can try to do all three with our limited money. If you lower crime and increase quality of jobs and residents will help us pay for new metro-link; it’s a lot of money. My jobs key has always been housing. We have 100s of unemployed, including youth, and they should be tearing down old houses and building new ones, and we’ll have to find the money. Economic develop is about low crime, good schools, and an educated workforce.
Andrew Jones I believe our current options for public transportation are largely sufficient. I know there are calls for a north/south MetroLink expansion . However, Bi-State’s bus service is the key backbone of transit for the majority of St. Louisans, especially those most dependent on public transit as their only reliable option. It appears capable of servicing and meeting the needs of St. Louisans. Even a north/south MetroLink expansion would heavily depend on existing Bi-State bus service to make it useful for most St. Louisans, again, especially those most dependent on public transit. I’m not aware of significant inequities in public transportation; my information suggests that challenged areas are served. However, across the campaign I look forward to learning about any inequities and working, as mayor, to address them.
Tishaura O. Jones First, I support building a North/South Metrolink line which will connect more people to more opportunities and will raise property values in areas that have been neglected. Along the route, I will commit to transit oriented development and incentivizing development along the proposed route. Second, this incentivized development needs to include affordable housing, grocery stores, and other services that are desired by the neighborhoods along the route. That said, any incentivized development needs to include the full buy-in and support of the community it’s in.
Lyda Krewson Access to public transportation, safe housing and economic development are all closely linked. I will expand public transportation through the metrolink and the bus system to connect more people to jobs. I will also work with developers to spur development across the city, especially in more distressed neighborhoods, as I have in my ward. We know the job growth in this country is in small business. I will create an environment for the great start ups in St. Louis to scale up, in addition to paying attention to the businesses already here.
Johnathan McFarland I support a North/South Metrolink expansion, and a significant increase to bus routes and bussing hours of operation. I would support removing neighborhood street barricades, that are, literally, concrete representations of racism. I have also created a housing program that allows families to earn a home through “sweat equity,” by rehabbing city owned houses for their personal use. Finally, I would begin work on my proposal to renovate the North Riverfront area into a large scale entertainment venue, called Gateway Park, which would include a bus-trolley route that would connect St. Louis’s many historical landmarks and attractions.
Lewis Reed I will build stronger neighborhoods, vibrant and diverse communities and align projects with neighborhood priorities. Transportation is a key part of that plan as residents must have reliable access to jobs and medical services. As a member of East West Gateway I supported the North South Metrolink extension plan. I founded Bike St. Louis and I think we must continue to invest in alternative modes of transportation. We can also build more vibrant neighborhoods by creating walkable environments that allow people to shop, dine and enjoy greenspace without the use of a car.
What strategies will you implement to improve racial [equity] in our region?
Jeffrey Boyd The improvement of racial [equity] in employment, income, and other key indicators is anchored in education and training. We have a great offering of educational institutions and we must stop the school to prison pipeline and increase graduation rates. We must stop legislation that conditions our students to be out of the classroom and in a judicial system. I will also continue in partnership with business leaders, colleges, and universities to provide training to support unemployed and under-employed individuals who are already out of the traditional educational system. Additionally, I would add funding to SLATE to expand training opportunities.
- Reducing Violence
- Economic Development
It all starts with reducing violence. It’s hard to do anything else to improve education, create jobs, and create private investment with the rate of violence in many parts of our city. That is Prioriy #1.
We must create jobs in neighborhoods across our city. This is why my focus is on small businesses and stimulating entrepreneurship. Small businesses collectively are the largest employers in our country and they are more likely to hire people from the neighborhood.
As mayor, I will direct the city’s development agencies to draft economic development plans for low income areas in our city, especially along main streets that are ideal for new economic growth. We will then use incentives such as TIF, CIDs, and tax abatement to stimulate development in these areas. This is also part of my Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Violence (www.comprehensiveplan.org).
Bill Haas The best strategy to improve racial equity is good education leading to good jobs and that will be my goal as while mayor: jobs/training/education for youth on street which will drastically reduce crime, 100% graduation rate instead of 70%, and 100% of third-graders reading at grade-level not less than 40%, and the rest of the country looking at St. Louis and saying “That’s how you do it in urban America!”. God wouldn’t have given me these gifts for public service unless God wanted me to use them, and I will not disrespect God or myself by giving up my ambitions.
Andrew Jones Following the law is paramount. I am concerned that special provisions only increase the divide. Our economic development initiatives, especially increasing the availability of jobs for a wide range of abilities and income, radically eases tensions; real, perceived, and created.
Tishaura O. Jones The Forward Through Ferguson and For the Sake of All reports provide a road map for looking at policies through a racial equity lens. I would use these reports to guide for my decision making. The city must be intentional about closing the racial wealth gap by providing ladders for women and minority entrepreneurs and do a better job of tracking MBE/WBE participation. Most tax abatements have gone to the wealthiest zip codes, leaving other areas to decay. The city will never be all it can be if half of it is left to fend for itself.
Lyda Krewson The next mayor has to represent every person in this city, and policies that promote racial equity are central to that. I will use the Ferguson report and other work by nonprofits as a road map for my administration to pursue racial equity for our city. The policies outlined in that report and others will inform the priorities of my administration, from budget issues to appointments.
Johnathan McFarland I would advocate for required African American history courses. Deep seated racism sits at the heart of racial inequity in St. Louis and throughout the Midwest. I believe that we must address this issue at the source; education. Our current public school curriculum provides a rosy portrayal of African American history, and forgoes the events that have lead to the intentionally inflicted decline of African American communities. I will work to improve the quality of life for all citizens of St. Louis, especially those who have been historically disenfranchised, but real cultural change is required to improve racial equity.
Lewis Reed I have always worked toward racial equity, inclusion and the removal of barriers and disparities between races. The Mayor’s office makes hundreds of appointments to boards all across this city that have an impact on racial equity. The current mayor’s appointments don’t reflect the city racially or geographically, but my appointments will. I will make sure we meet the numbers set in our disparity study when signing city contracts and go above that if it is necessary for us to reach a place of true equity. All of my policies will have fairness and equity as a component.
How will you work across county and state lines to ensure a regional approach to growth and opportunity?
Jeffrey Boyd I think that St. Louis must partner with regional leadership on big ticket items that the City cannot afford alone. Transit, sports, and various industries such as manufacturing should be a regional discussion and not limited to just St. Louis, City. My approach would be to identify key geographical opportunities where St. Louis borders other municipalities and begin the conversation about cross-border development in housing and retail. This would offer short term big wins for St. Louis and begin the process of regional collaboration.
Antonio French This is critical to the success of our city, especially given the city’s declining population and tax base. I will work to build relationships with County and State leadership, urging them to recognize the intertwined destinies of our constituencies.
Bill Haas So, a couple things: regional consolidation not high on my list except for statistical purposes, or perhaps a regional taxing authority to minimize the effect of city payroll taxes, like Cuyahoga County/Cleveland has, or Regional Sports Authority. I also think that cities, counties and states should stop bidding against each other for businesses and sports. That should be prohibited at the federal level.
Andrew Jones I will use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s office to call attention to regional cooperation. Everyone from the St. Louis region self-identifies as being “from St. Louis” but only a small minority of the region actually lives in the City of St. Louis. The challenges faced by the whole region are often disproportionately borne by the city: homelessness, crime, etc. Since we are evaluated by outsiders—tourists, business leaders—by these metrics to the harm of the whole region, we should work together to develop solutions for them. I also wish to draw attention to the resources we waste on intra-regional competition. As a region we need to be competing with other Midwestern cities, indeed with cities around the globe, not throwing tax incentives to lure retail stores across municipal lines. My fundamental economic growth initiative is to build coalitions and focus on a regional philosophy. I will work to establish a comprehensive strategic plan for the metropolitan statistical area (inclusive of connected southern Illinois). Finally, as a Republican, I feel I am uniquely well-positioned for the next four years to best represent St. Louis in seeking cooperation from Republican-controlled state and federal governments.
Tishaura O. Jones I support a vote on a city/county merger. If you’re asking me if I would vote “yes” on that initiative, I would. First, though, the city needs to find synergies and other opportunities to work with the county and its respective municipalities. There are places this is already happening, such as the Zoo-Museum-District and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, but there are so many more steps to take, like merging the Health Departments, perhaps. Regardless, trust and relationships must be built first in order to bring this to fruition.
Lyda Krewson Many of the issues facing our city are regional issues, and will require a regional approach. The current fragmentation of our government makes the way we deliver services very expensive. In addition to exploring ways to combine the city and county, I will work closely with regional and state leaders to promote policies beneficial for our city. That includes coordinating on large scale developments like a new stadium, fighting for a higher minimum wage, and expanding Medicaid at the state level.
Johnathan McFarland I would like to create and implement a “best practice,” coalition of interstate metro areas, with the goal of moving the Midwest forward in a meaningful and progressive way. We should review our policies in comparison to other cities and states to determine if we are being as effective in addressing our issues as possible. I would like to also create an agreement to encourage tourism between our city, and surrounding counties and states. My Gateway Park proposal includes this concept, in a restoration of time period themed Riverboat cruises and tours along the Mississippi River, made affordable to everyone.
Lewis Reed I have already been doing this as President of the Board of Aldermen. I have existing relationships with numerous elected officials in St. Louis County and Jefferson City. When I’m mayor, we can begin working on day one to ensure that projects and policies are taken with a regional approach. We won’t always agree, but we can begin to form cooperative agreements to acquire some of the benefits we would see with a merger. It would make both the City and County stronger. We have great opportunities as the economic engine for the state of Missouri.
What style of leadership would you bring to this position?
Jeffrey Boyd I believe in a collaborative leadership style “Win-Win” that includes the Board of Alderman as partners in the growth of our city. I believe that the business community, the nonprofit and faith community are partners in determining what the next chapter of St. Louis entails. We need to consider what is happening across the country and use best practices to move our City forward. I am committed to ensuring that although we might not all agree, that all will have a chance to be heard. With this approach we can be confident that a Boyd Administration is focused on helping everyone RISE.
Antonio French Hands on. The buck will stop with me. We need a mayor who accepts responsibility for the conditions in every neighborhood in this city. We need a mayor who is regularly seen in all parts of our city. We need a mayor who meets and collaborates with aldermen and other elected and non-elected leaders. We need a mayor who meets with the mothers and fathers of young people killed by violence and who works tirelessly with his new police chief to find the people responsible. We need a mayor who brings people together and acts as a bridge between communities divided by race and class. I want to be that mayor and I’m asking for your support to make it happen on March 7th.
Bill Haas Well, that’s a great question. I’d say collaborative, finding the middle-ground, not screaming like I sometimes do now, working with Alderpeople and others, consulting Darlene Green regularly, asking the business community to help me with schools if they want my sports toys. Great leaders ask the community to stand and deliver, convince them of what is the right thing to do and inspire them to do it. That’s the style and substance of leadership I intend to bring. I can’t do it alone. Together, with me as mayor, we’ve got this! That should be fun to watch.
Andrew Jones My leadership style can best be described as “people oriented, situational adaptive and focused on results.” I will ensure we do the right things, and will roll up my sleeves to make sure we do things right. I’m a consensus builder, but I’m not afraid to make the difficult decision if the comprehensive plan falls short.
Tishaura O. Jones I am the type of leader who is unafraid of change, innovative, and collaborative. I am the only candidate that has been consistently against public funding for the NFL and MLS stadiums. In my platform, I outline six policy points, which include several examples of programs and best practices that are having impacts across the country and across the world. I am former state legislator and served as the second highest ranking Democrat in the Missouri House. I have worked with leaders on both sides of the aisle to make St. Louis a better place.
Lyda Krewson There’s no reason to have this job if you’re not going to take on the tough issues. St. Louis deserves a mayor who has a history of doing that and getting results. I have been fighting for this city for 3 decades, and I will bring that steady, tenacious leadership to the mayor’s office.
Johnathan McFarland As Mayor, I would adhere to a policy of direct democracy. I do not want to make decisions without significant input from city residents. I would like to implement an online registry for residents that would provide surveys regarding issues such as the building of new infrastructure and entertainment venues, major policy changes, and budgeting priorities. This would allow city administration to make decisions with an accurate view of what people want and need. It can be used as incentive for voting and community engagement, by working with local business owners to provide rewards for things like, attending neighborhood meetings.
Lewis Reed I will bring an inclusive, results oriented, energetic and bold style of leadership to the office. St. Louis can’t take four more years of mediocrity or flash without substance. As a city and a region, we need to think big and deliver even bigger. I will set big goals and then rally the community around them. In order to catch up and surpass other cities, we will have to take some big steps. People want change, and they want that change soon. I will be that change. Together, we will make St. Louis a more unified, safer and stronger City.