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Cara Spencer On ‘The Endless Potential’ Of St. Louis

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St. Louis Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, says a circulating petition to recall her from office is "intimidation" from airport privatization proponents.
File photo / Carolina Hidalgo
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, is one of four candidates for mayor.

St. Louis mayoral candidate Cara Spencer, currently 20th Ward alderwoman, is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. She joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann to discuss her plans to fight violent crime, improve regional cooperation and stabilize the city’s budget.

Here’s what Spencer talked about on the show:

  • Among her first orders of business will be getting a handle on the city’s financial picture. Past administrations failed to take advantage of a decade of economic growth, she said, which left the city vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. “We are going to have to ensure that at the end of the day, we are being smart about how we are allocating the funds that we do have,” she said. “And that’s going to take a real understanding of how we deliver city services. We are very archaic with many of the systems we use.”
  • The city, Spencer said, will be unable to grow unless violent crime goes down, and that can’t happen until people begin to trust the police again. “And we are going to make sure that we have the tools in place to better serve those marginalized communities.”
  • Spencer rose to prominence in 2019 as a fierce opponent of efforts to privatize the operations of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, but did not entirely rule it out as a part of a strategy for the airport going forward. Any plan, she said, has to recognize Lambert as part of regional transportation infrastructure like the port and the Mississippi River.

Spencer became involved in politics after the city closed the public pool at Marquette Park in 2014. She defeated a longtime alderman in 2015. Before that, she did mathematical modeling for a local health care consulting company.

The three other candidates — utility executive Andrew Jones, Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed — have all received invitations to record episodes of Politically Speaking.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Cara Spencer on Twitter: @CaraSpencerSTL

Music: “Instrumental #1,” by Seth Ashley

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

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