Tishaura Jones Becomes The First Black Woman To Be Elected As Mayor Of St. Louis
In a recent debate against her former opponent, Jones questioned whether another white mayor could effectively lead the city.
April 07, 2021 at 3:46 pm
Tishaura Jones has made history in St. Louis, Missouri, becoming the first Black woman to be elected as mayor in the city.
Jones, who currently serves as city treasurer, secured the victory on Tuesday when she defeated her opponent Alderman Cara Spencer, pulling in 52% of the votes.
The trailblazer's historic achievement comes after an unsuccessful 2017 mayoral bid. In her latest effort, Jones received endorsements from a wide group of prominent Black elected officials around the country. Her supporters included Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell.
“With Tishaura, you are going to see a lot more collaboration,” Bell told the Post-Dispatch. “She doesn’t have to build relationships. She’s already got them.”
“It’s time for St. Louis to thrive. It’s time to bring a breath of fresh air to our neighborhoods,” the 49-year-old said, adding that she will not stay silent about racism, homophobia, xenophobia or religious intolerance.
Spencer, who also ran as a progressive candidate, expressed support for her opponent after taking the defeat.
“I’m proud to be a citizen of St. Louis tonight,” Spencer said. “The treasurer was my opponent but she is not my enemy. The people of St. Louis have spoken, and I pledge my support to Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones to move our city forward.”
In a recent debate against Spencer during her campaign, Jones questioned whether another white mayor could effectively lead the city.
"While I appreciate the role of white allies in this movement of progress, I don't believe that they have the lived experiences to lead a majority-minority city," the new mayor said during the debate, adding that a "white person doesn't have to worry about their children getting hit by a stray bullet when he's outside."
About 48% of the residents in St. Louis are white, while 45% are Black.
The current city treasurer entered the general election race after finishing first in a four-way primary on March 2. Spencer finished second in the primary.
As part of her progressive efforts, the city’s 47th elected mayor is focused on transforming policing in St. Louis. She said the goal is to apply a prevention model, shifting away from arrests and incarcerations. Heeding the calls of many advocates around the country who have been speaking out against police brutality, the new mayor plans to expand the use of mental health and other professionals to handle some 911 calls.
Jones will be sworn in on April 20 to make the historic win official.
"St. Louis: This is an opportunity for us to rise," the progressive candidate said, according to CBS News. "I told you when I was running that we aren't done avoiding tough conversations. We are done ignoring the racism that has held our city and our region back."
The former state representative, who has been treasurer since 2013, will replace incumbent Mayor Lyda Krewson, the city's first woman mayor. Krewson, 67, announced in November that she wouldn't seek a second term.
Jones takes over during a time where violence remains on the rise in St. Louis. According to CBS News, 262 people were killed in the city last year, five fewer than the record of 267 set in 1993. In the first four months of 2021, the city has already recorded 46 killings.