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Tishaura Jones Launches Second St. Louis Mayoral Bid

Treasurer Tishaura Jones smiles as she announces a run for mayor at Ivory Perry Park in the West End neighborhood on Nov. 4, 2020.
Rachel Lippmann
St. Louis Public Radio
Treasurer Tishaura Jones smiles at supporters as she announces a second run for mayor Wednesday at Ivory Perry Park in the West End neighborhood

Updated at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 4 with comments from announcement

Tishaura Jones is officially running for mayor of St. Louis.

“I'm running because I believe in our potential as a city and as a region,” Jones told the crowd that gathered Wednesday at Ivory Perry Park in the West End neighborhood for her announcement. “I'm running to usher in St. Louis' next era. I'm running to create our St. Louis. United. Strong. Confident. Equitable. A St. Louis that brings us together.”

Jones presented a progressive platform similar to the one she ran on in 2017, promising more protection for renters, an equitable development plan that directs tax incentives to areas that need it the most and a change in the way the city is policed.

“Instead of saying no to opportunity and change, let’s try saying yes,” she urged her supporters. "Instead of saying no to imagination and possibility, let's try saying yes. Instead of saying no to innovation and equitable growth, let's try saying yes. Instead of hiding from our problems, let's face up to them.”

Jones was one of seven people who ran in the Democratic primary in 2017 to replace Mayor Francis Slay, who elected not to run for a fifth term. She came in a close second to current Mayor Lyda Krewson, losing by fewer than 900 votes.

St. Louis residents on Tuesday approved a new way of holding elections that could benefit Jones. The mayor’s race is now a nonpartisan contest, and voters can pick as many candidates as they want in the March primary, a system known as approval voting. The top two candidates advance to an April runoff. In fact, detractors of the initiative, known as Proposition D, accused it of being tailor-made to advance her candidacy.

Jones said that while she supported Proposition D because it’s good for representative government, it had no impact on her decision to run for a second time.

“It is a way to reduce spoiler candidates, or stalking horse candidates, and it’s a way for everybody to participate in their democracy,” she said. “Previously, when we have had elections that have had several people in them, people felt like their vote didn’t count.”

Jones did not directly criticize Krewson but said she would have done a number of things differently. Krewson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Jones’ announcement.

Dana Kelly, a businesswoman who announced her candidacy earlier this year, said she welcomed Jones into the race. Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward,who announced she was running for mayor earlier this year, said she was currently focused on the still-too-close-to-call presidential race.

“Once we get through this, I look forward to a robust discussion about our visions of the city,” she said. “The more people involved, the better off we will all be.”

Filing for the March primary officially opens Nov. 23.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.