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Jones: ‘We have to get to work’ after St. Louis mayoral race win

After winning her historic bid to become the first Black female mayor of St. Louis last week, Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones said she’s ready to get to work for her city.

“I’m pleasantly surprised that things went the way we thought it would and very thankful to the people who voted for me and our supporters, but we have to get to work,” Jones said. “We have over $55 million in federal aid on its way to our city, and we have to disperse it with an eye toward equity, and this is a real opportunity to help people.”

Jones said the funds would go toward rent, mortgage, and utility assistance as well as small businesses in her community. 

Jones appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss last week’s election, COVID restrictions, and the new administration’s major priorities. Jones said violent crime was one major focus of hers going into the office. 

“Crime and violence don’t stop at our borders, so our solutions shouldn’t either. No. 1: declare gun violence as a public health crisis and let’s do what we can to put the public back in public safety — that means deploying different professionals to the right call,” Jones said. “We have to pivot from this arrest and incarceration model to one that leads with prevention.”

St. Louis elections

This week’s panel included state Reps. Rasheen Aldridge and Ron Hicks, NARAL’s Mallory Schwarz, and Derrick Good, a partner at Thurman Law Firm. The group discussed last week’s election, including the new system implemented this cycle: A nonpartisan primary was held in March, with the top two candidates progressing to last week’s general election. The new system was approved by St. Louis voters last year. 

“I think it worked. Tishaura won both times — in the primary and the general — but when you look at the Board of Aldermen, we were able to flip three seats,” Aldridge said. “They were able to engage voters, educate voters, talk about their policy, get them excited. Turn out was up, and they were able to win.”

On the other side of the aisle, Hicks said an open line of communication was essential for Jones to work with him and other Republicans.

“Communication is going to be her biggest key, and it looks like she knows how the body works and runs,” Hicks said. “She knows how it works, she knows how to build relationships. She’s not a bridge burner, we’ve seen that in the race. … She’s open, she’s friendly, she’s outgoing, she’s going to come to us. I think one of her biggest assets is her communication skills.”

The panel also discussed the U.S. Senate race, this session’s legislation, and implementing Medicaid expansion.

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics below, or listen to the podcast version here.