We have been focusing our political coverage on the March 7 mayoral primary, where we strongly and unequivocally endorsed Tishaura O. Jones last week. The odd-numbered wards also have primary elections for aldermen on November 7. These legislators will be in a position to help – or hinder – the next mayor’s agenda, and we have some preferred candidates.
In Ward 3, with Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. stepping down, the 3rd Ward will have a new leader for the first time since 1989. Gloria Muhammad believes in participatory budgeting and community building. Her track record as a neighborhood-organization founder and community-meeting leader shows she is ready to put in the hard work to achieve the “open-door policy and transparency” she’s striving for. We endorse Gloria Muhammad for 3rd Ward alderwoman.
In Ward 5, community organizer Megan Betts is not the first person to say her alderwoman, incumbent Tammika Hubbard, is unresponsive to community concerns. But she is the candidate who led petitions to save residents’ homes and bring businesses that the community wanted to the neighborhood, which Hubbard opposed. “I believe that we have divides within our ward, and I am the person who can start unifying us to be one of the strongest wards in the city,” Betts said. We agree. We endorse Megan Betts for 5th Ward alderwoman.
In Ward 9, incumbent Alderman Ken Ortmann has held his seat since 1999, and Dan Guenther said he has watched Ortmann vote against legislation to establish the civilian oversight board, increase minimum wage and the non-discrimination bill for women’s reproductive rights. For 15 years, Guenther has been a community organizer for Benton Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Just like his long list of endorsements from progressive leaders, we believe he will speak for diversity, equity and inclusion. We endorse Dan Guenther for 9th Ward alderman.
In Ward 15, the change candidate is the incumbent, Megan Ellyia Green. She is opposed by Jennifer Florida, longtime ward alderwoman who resigned to accept Mayor Slay’s appointment to recorder of deeds, only to lose the subsequent election to the person forced to resign after admitting to nepotism. Green has been a progressive force on the board, the kind of young, vibrant leader the city needs; Florida would be a blast from a past that needs to be kept in the past. We endorse Megan Ellyia Green for 15th Ward alderwoman.
In Ward 17, there’s a video of the 29-year incumbent Alderman Joe Roddy with his head down, taking a nap during an anti-bias training held for the Board of Aldermen. Roddy also recently made an inappropriate presentation that put “criminals and residents with children in public schools” in the same category for where city money is spent. That is exactly the kind of alderman we don’t need in 2017. The Central West End and city desperately needs Joseph Diekemper, an emergency-room nurse who said he will “try to see the full spectrum of needs of the residents of all backgrounds as well as the business to create solutions that work for everyone.” His issues are public education, integrating children’s public health within schools and creating economically diverse neighborhoods to “decrease negative feedback loops created by poverty.” We endorse Joseph Diekemper for 17th Ward alderman.
In Ward 19, incumbent alderwoman Marlene Davis is a steady presence in her ward with deep ties in the city’s black civic leadership. She has a progressive challenger similar to candidates we have championed in other races, but we believe there is a place for established and seasoned black political operators on an evolving board. We endorse Marlene Davis for 19th Ward alderwoman.
In Ward 21, John Collins-Muhammad Jr. is passionate about rebuilding neighborhoods and reinvigorating the Natural Bridge Corridor. He wants to see the city invest in community policing and police training in conflict resolution, as well as strengthen civilian oversight of police. We endorse John Collins-Muhammad Jr. for 21st Ward alderman.
In Ward 27, Keena Carter brings more than 30 years of experience working in St. Louis politics, given that she is a daughter of the Carter political family that has dominated ward politics for decades. She has also led grassroots clean-up efforts, health fairs and fundraisers for neighborhood restoration. Her political grounding and community commitment are a good mix for this position. We endorse Keena Carter for 27th Ward alderwoman.
In the comptroller’s race, the incumbent Darlene Green has been a steady and honorable steward of the city’s finances and properly raised alarm at various points when the city’s leadership supported imprudent investments. We know how much more an activist can lead as one of the city’s three most powerful elected officials with one of three seats on the city’s chief fiscal body. We urge Green to use more of her credibility and political capital in the future to align with sound policies for positive change, as well as defend against rash, shortsighted fiscal suggestions, which she has done well. We endorse Darlene Green for comptroller.
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