2021 St. Louis mayoral candidates

(St. Louis mayoral candidates, clockwise, top left: Tishaura O. Jones, Andrew Jones Jr., Cara Spencer and Lewis Reed.)

The most pressing issue for the people of St. Louis

Ahead of the St. Louis Primary Election on Tuesday, March 2, The St. Louis American asked a series of questions to St. Louis mayoral candidates. Following are their responses to the last question:

What do you consider the most pressing issue for the people of St. Louis, and what would you, as mayor, do to address that issue: COVID-19 relief; education challenges, including possible school closures; job creation; public safety; or other?

Tishaura Jones

The issue of gun violence, public safety, and crime will be the top priority of my administration. On day one, I will begin work to make the necessary improvements to the City Justice Center so that we can then close the workhouse. Addressing public safety in our city will require a holistic and regional perspective on the issue. 

I’m running because we need a Mayor who understands that crime doesn’t start or end at Skinker Boulevard or the Mississippi River, and the solutions to the challenges that lay ahead of us are going to need to be much more broad in scope than a ten point plan, body cameras on our officers, or a campaign talking point.

Lewis Reed

Public Safety is number one. I will work to immediately get gun violence under control. I will meet daily with the police department and all agencies involved until we get positive results. We cannot accept this level of violence. I will provide the resources necessary to solve murders and send a clear message that violence won’t be tolerated.

Immediately, I will reinstate the gang task force units; pay outside investigators to work to solve some of our cold cases; expand the Cure Violence Program; maintain necessary funding for the Justice for St. Louis Families Reward Fund; focus direct attention on the individuals who are known violent perpetrators; and review the structure of the police department to make sure we have the right mix of management and street officers. 

I will be tough on violent crime, but we must also raise the amount of options for positive growth available to our youth.  This will help raise their self-expectations. To truly reduce crime long term, we must provide jobs, more mental health services and drug rehab.

Cara Spencer

My life changed forever when a gun was put to my head, but I’m still here. The young man behind the gun, on the other hand, lost his life that night -- to incarceration. 

As mayor, my highest priority will be to take immediate and decisive action to decrease violent crime in our communities.

Trust is paramount.

When witnesses and victims don’t trust the police, they don’t share vital information necessary to solve cases of violent crime. We must recognize the breakdown in trust that is causing serious damage to our communities and our police.

I am committed to healing this divide, not furthering it. 

And finally, I will lead the city in investing in public safety beyond traditional policing. We have to understand the root causes of crime. We must invest in programs and strategies that will reduce crime long term. 

St. Louis can join the many cities nationally that have effectively reduced violent crime. Change must be rooted in transparency, accountability and decisive leadership. That’s exactly what I will provide as mayor. 

Andrew Jones

I consider public safety to be the most pressing issue facing St. Louis. Crime, alone, is enough to warrant needing the most attention, but it affects so many other aspects of the city.

Commerce is affected by the perception of St. Louis being a violent city. Outside businesses as well as citizens take their money and business elsewhere because they fear it may not be safe to do business in the city.

Education is also affected because the criminals that make our city less safe are not born, they are made. If we have earlier and better educational intervention, then these citizens will never have to turn to a life of crime.

Working with our police force to focus on the elimination of violent crime and creating better communication between city hall and our hard-working police officers will drastically reduce crime and greatly improve public safety in St. Louis.

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