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Aldridge says St. Louis aldermen should send a message to Jefferson City on guns

Newly sworn in Alderman Rasheen Aldridge (14th Ward) claps after a speech on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, during the 2023-24 St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s inauguration celebrations at City Hall.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Alderman Rasheen Aldridge of the 14th Ward, shown at his inauguration on April 18, said that while he enjoyed going to the state Capitol, he can get more done as a city alderman.

As a Democrat in the Missouri General Assembly, Rasheen Aldridge usually found himself playing defense against the Republican supermajority.

But that changed in 2023, when he decided to leave the Capitol for City Hall. He was elected to represent the 14th Ward in St. Louis.

“It's not that I didn't enjoy going to the state Capitol,” Aldridge said during an appearance on the Politically Speaking podcast. “But I feel like I can actually effectively get stuff done.”

Though he’s now legislating from about 130 miles east, Jefferson City is not far from Aldridge’s mind as he crafts policies, especially around guns. He is one of several aldermen who will push bills addressing firearms, including a ban on military-style rifles and limits on untraceable firearms known as ghost guns.

“It's about honestly sending a message to Jefferson City that we deserve to have local control around these issues,” he said.

Here’s what else Aldridge hopes to tackle as the board returns from its summer break Friday:

  • He says there is wide support among members of the board for giving the Detention Facilities Oversight Board, which provides civilian oversight for the City Justice Center, its own attorney. The jail is again under increasing scrutiny, as two inmates died and a guard was taken hostage all within an 11-day period in August.
  • Aldridge is also joining calls for Corrections Commissioner Jennifer Clemons-Abdullah to step down. “I think she is trying her best, but I do think that maybe she’s a little over her head,” he said.
  • Infrastructure is top of mind for Aldridge as the city weighs how to spend its share of the settlement over the departure of the Rams for Los Angeles. “I think really putting a lot of that money into speeding up that 911 system will be important,” he said. “Our 911 system is a hot mess.”
  • St. Charles County approved a property tax freeze for senior citizens this week, and Aldridge says he and his colleagues are looking at similar legislation in the city. But they want to make sure it’s given to those who need it the most.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.