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Politically Speaking: Nasheed On Her Decision To Run For Citywide Office

State Senator and Board of Aldermen president candidate Jamilah Nasheed poses for a portrait on Jan. 18, 2019.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, who is also a candidate for Board of Alderman president.

State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, is the newest member of the exclusive Five-Timers Club on the Politically Speaking podcast. She joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about her bid for president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Nasheed’s main competitors are incumbent Lewis Reed and Alderwoman Megan Green, D-15th Ward. (You can find Reed’s podcast here. Green has recorded an episode that will air later this month.)

Nasheed is a St. Louis native who has spent the last dozen years in Jefferson City, first as a state Representative and then as a state Senator. She’s barred by term limits from running again for her 5th District Senate seat, which covers the eastern half of the city.

Nasheed has won some tough races before, including her first race for state Senate, in which she beat the incumbent, Robin Wright Jones, even after getting kicked off the ballot for two months in a dispute over residency.

“In order to win races, you have to have what I call the three M’s — the money, the message and the machine,” she said. “I’ve been serving for 12 years on the state level. So half of the city right now, I have a constituency base. My name ID is much stronger.” She also has the most money in the bank — more than $270,000 — although she was outraised by her two competitors, according to the latest campaign-finance reports.

Here’s what else Nasheed had to say on the show:

  • She decided to run for a citywide office because the city isn’t working for everyone. She said her connections at the state level put her in the best position to fix that problem. “If I have the relationships now, I will continue to have those relationships when I’m back home. And so I can go up there and lobby for the city of St. Louis and say, 'These are the things that we need.'”
  • Nasheed said she would use the board president position to help aldermen who aren’t getting responses from executive-branch departments like streets or refuse.
  • Nasheed opposes a statewide vote on a plan to consolidate the governments of St. Louis and St. Louis County. “We are a home-rule city and should be ruling our own home,” she said. (The show was recorded before Better Together’s plan was revealed on January 28.)
  • Nasheed objected to the process the city is using to explore a potential lease of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, but wouldn’t rule out supporting an agreement if it contained strong protections for workers and a substantial sum of money up front, among other things.
  • Even though she has taken money from political activist Rex Sinquefield in the past, Nasheed said she wouldn’t be afraid to stand up to him if she felt his ideas would harm the city. She pointed to the money she spent opposing his efforts to force a vote on the city’s 1-percent earnings tax every five years.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jamilah Nasheed on Twitter: @SenatorNasheed

Music: “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.