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Politically Speaking: Alderman Brandon Bosley on challenge of turning around St. Louis' 3rd Ward

Alderman Brandon Bosley, April 2017
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Alderman Brandon Bosley, 3rd Ward

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Brandon Bosley to the program.


Bosley was recently sworn in as the alderman for the 3rd Ward, which takes in seven St. Louis neighborhoods in the north part of the city. He’s one of six new aldermen to join the Board after the 2017 election cycle.


The 29-year-old is hardly a newcomer to politics. His father, Freeman Bosley Sr., represented the ward for more than three decades before retiring last week. His mother, Lucinda Frazier, is the ward’s committeewoman. And his half-brother, Freeman BosleyJr., was the first African-American mayor in St. Louis’ history.

Before he ran for the seat, Brandon Bosley worked in the city’s parking division. He’s also a computer programmer and has created smartphone games.


Bosley squared off against five other Democratic candidates in March’s open primary race for the 3rd Ward seat. He ended up beating Gloria Muhammad by 58 votes, which was tantamount to election. Even before he was sworn in, Bosley said he’s been working closely with other new members of the Board to find common ground in key issues.


Here’s what Bosley had to say during the show:


  • Bosley said that his ward lacks “community,” noting that energetic citizens who looked out for crime or pointed out problems with buildings have moved elsewhere. "So we all have to hold ourselves accountable and, at the same time, create the network to get thing done — because everybody has a position to play," he said.

  • The ward has hundreds of vacant buildings, a problem that’s generational. “You pass the house down to your grandchildren, and a lot of time what has happened is the grandchildren didn't take care of the house,” he said, adding that the property often becomes abandoned and decrepit in the process.

  • He attributes the rise in crime throughout north St. Louis and parts of south St. Louis to a lack of opportunity, especially among the city’s young African-Americans. “And crime only starts, that majority of the time, especially where I'm from, it starts from poverty,” he said.

  • In terms of replacing former Police Chief Sam Dotson, Bosley said he wants someone who “tries to understand the community is the only way police can effectively fight crime, rather than just respond to it.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum


Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann


Follow Brandon Bosley on Twitter: @BrandonFBosley


Music: “Atmosphere” by Joy Division


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