Candidates by Ward

WARD 12: Bill Stephens

Age: 27 

Neighborhood: Princeton Heights 

Occupation: Early Childhood Outreach Team/Youth Services Provider, St. Louis Public Library 

Political Experience: Volunteering as a petition-gatherer for various causes; volunteering for state and federal level campaigns such as Nicole Galloway and Elizabeth Warren as a canvasser, phone-banker and text-banker. 

Your take on crime: Crime is an issue all cities face, but one that persists because we allow it to persist; more often than not, the City uses silver-bullet projects to react to crimes, instead of seeking to ameliorate their causes. From a living minimum wage, to a tenant bill of rights, to reinvigorating a sense of community and ownership in our city, we have the means to lessen crime in St. Louis. We can hold citizens responsible for their crimes while also ensuring that we provide the necessary resources to survive without relying on crime. The two are not mutually exclusive. 

Your take on city finances: The economic development of St. Louis is informed by many things: our public education system, our crime rate, our job opportunities, and our sense of community. All of these areas intersect and influence the others. Tax breaks have long been used to encourage new business, but those taxes are a source of funding for our education system and ultimately hurt our schools. New families see a dying public education system and move to the county. We further incentivize businesses by disincentivizing our schools, and our cycle of decline continues. We must break this cycle with a holistic view of the nuances these areas have on the others. 

Your take on the city’s COVID-19 response: The St. Louis Department of Health has had to do a whole lot with almost zero support. From not being provided with sufficient vaccines to having to navigate unexpected technological issues which resulted in poor communication, the city has had to fly the plane while building it, too. While I believe the city has made an earnest effort to do its best and has improved its response, I also believe it will all be for naught if we fail to learn from this experience and plan for the future. A vital resource, we cannot afford to misstep when it comes to protecting our neighbors’ health. 

Where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? – Progressive, moderate, conservative, liberal? What I enjoy most about the passing of Proposition D is that we no longer have political affiliations. I’ve been called a Progressive by some and a Moderate by others. When I filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, I self-identified as a Democrat. However, I am truly the sum of my days, a unique blend of southeastern Missourian and urban St. Louisian. I’m a neighbor doing the work to help make not just Ward 12 but our city a better place for all. Political labels fail to capture that. 

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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