© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Annie Rice reflects on 5 years at St. Louis City Hall

Annie Rice smiles after responding to her first official roll call as an alderwoman on March 2, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo
St. Louis Public Radio
Annie Rice smiles after responding to her first official roll call as an alderwoman on March 2, 2018. She is not seeking reelection after five years in office.

Annie Rice’s election to the Board of Aldermen in 2018 was a marker of how quickly the politics in St. Louis were shifting.

Stephen Conway had represented the 8th Ward, which was north and east of Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis, for 27 years. Conway narrowly won reelection in 2015, then resigned after being named city assessor.

“Folks told me it was great to have a voice that was more like theirs in the room,” Rice said.

After the special election victory, she handily won a full term in 2019.

But nearly three years of legislating in a pandemic, combined with personal loss, left Rice exhausted.

“I like to serve from a place of love and community and enthusiasm and found myself very tired and disillusioned,” she said. “I think that maybe more politicians could stand to admit to themselves when that happens.”

Rice is spending her last weeks in office campaigning for Proposition C, which would implement a regular review of the city’s charter by an appointed board of city residents.

“Our charter was written in 1914,” she said. “There was a whole lot of the city that wasn’t eligible to vote in 1914. And the city is just a very different city.”

Here’s what else Rice discussed on the podcast:

  • She often found herself struggling with the balance of working toward her legislative priorities, such as setting policies for the city’s surveillance technology, and putting out the metaphorical fires that cropped up in her ward.
  • She hopes the bribery convictions of three former aldermanic colleagues push residents to pay closer attention to their elected officials and “not just support what they do because they like their position, or they hate their opponent, or they think someone is good-looking.”
  • She'll miss debating with her colleagues on the floor and having robust conversations in public about the issues but not the bad-faith questioning and the “long, mean, unnecessary arguments," she said. "I won’t miss the pit in my stomach of, what is this going to devolve into today."
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.