Tishaura Jones became the first black woman elected mayor of St. Louis on Tuesday and later this month she will begin leading a city torn apart by high homicide rate, unrest at the city’s prison and related challenges. to the pandemic.
Ms Jones, the city’s treasurer, received around 52% of the vote against nearly 48% of her opponent alderman Cara Spencer, according to unofficial results published on the city’s website. Ms Jones will be sworn in on April 20.
Ms Jones, a Democrat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Ms Spencer, also a Democrat, conceded Tuesday night and then praised Ms Jones on Twitter, saying: “You have my support in making Saint-Louis the great city that we know it can be.”
It was the first mayoral election under the city’s new overhaul of the electoral law, known as Proposition D. It requires candidates to run without partisan labels, and both candidates with the most votes in a primary in March would face each other in a second round. election next month.
In her victory speech, Ms Jones reminded supporters of her campaign promises. “St. Louis, this is an opportunity for us to stand up, ”she said. “We have finished ignoring the racism that has held back our city and our region.”
Ms Jones vowed not to remain silent when she saw racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia or religious intolerance, adding: “I will not remain silent when I see an injustice.”
Transformational change would not be immediate, she said. “It will take a little patience, a little hard work, determination and the understanding that decades of problems will not be solved in days of solutions.”
Ms Jones, a graduate of Hampton University, Saint Louis University School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, has spent the past 20 years as a public servant. In 2002, she was named a member of the Democratic Committee of the Eighth District in the city of St. Louis, served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and has served as the city’s treasurer since 2013, according to her campaign website. . She unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Saint-Louis in 2017.
Ms Jones will replace Lyda Krewson, the city’s first woman mayor, who said last fall she would not run for a second term.
Ms Krewson congratulated Ms Jones on Twitter. “I support your success,” she said. “My administration and I are ready to make this transition as smooth as possible.”
When Ms Jones takes office, she will face a list of challenges, including a rise in violence. Last year, the city experienced its highest homicide rate in 50 years with 262 murders, five less than the record set in 1993. There have been 46 homicides so far this year, according to the service. Saint-Louis police station.
The city’s prison has also seen an increasing number of unrest in recent months and on Sunday inmates smashed windows, set fire to and threw objects in the street below. A similar episode took place in February.
Ms Jones campaigned to improve the city’s response to the pandemic and implement policies to improve its public health infrastructure. Mobile and fixed vaccination clinics would also be established under his leadership. St. Louis County has about 149 positive cases per day on average and about 18% are fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database. As the city is promised more than $ 500 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, Ms. Jones also pledged relief for small businesses and those in need of rental and mortgage assistance.
“It’s time for St. Louis to prosper,” Ms. Jones said Tuesday evening. “It’s time to bring a breath of fresh air to our neighborhoods.”