Neighborhood: Holly Hills
Political experience: I’ve been involved in campaigns since I was 15 years old. For the last eight years, I’ve worked in campaigns and Democratic political operations professionally.
Your take on crime: I have knocked on thousands of doors in the 13th Ward over the past year and talked to hundreds of my neighbors. Public safety has come up again and again. Along with keeping us healthy and educating our children, keeping us safe by discouraging crime is a core duty of government. Unfortunately, city government has failed at this for years. Here’s why: doing the same things over and over again, and expecting a different result, isn’t going to work. So, we need to do things differently. I do believe police and neighborhood watch organizations have an important role to play, but I don’t believe we can simply police our way to safety. And I haven’t met a police officer in my ward who believes we can. Poverty, mental health, drug abuse, how we treat victims of crime, guns, childcare, how we treat the incarcerated, who we incarcerate, what resources we provide police, what we train our police and dispatchers to do, what we pay people, and what we criminalize are all issues that we ought to be talking about. And changing.
Your take on city finances: I agree with Treasurer Tishaura Jones: St. Louis isn’t a poor city. We are a city that consistently shortchanges essential neighborhood services. The city taxes our real property, personal property, purchases, licenses, permits, and income. It charges us for services like trash collection and recycling. It even charges us for paying our taxes. Most of us are fine with paying our fair shares for city services, but we are not fine with the burden and the services falling inequitably. It is not acceptable that we seem to have no trouble finding money for big projects, but have a hard time finding it for neighborhood services. We need to take a hard look at the tax incentives that we give out, and make sure kids and the future of St. Louis are at the center of every decision. Looking ahead: Spending American Rescue Plan money equitably and efficiently is a top priority, as is retaining the Earnings Tax.
Your take on the city’s COVID-19 response: While densely populated St. Louis has been hit harder than the rest of the state by COVID, I am grateful that the region quickly put in place public health measures like mask mandates and occupancy restrictions. These things have kept us safer. I would have liked to have seen greater cooperation with St. Louis County to take advantage of our Health Departments’ respective strengths, but I think our health professionals have dealt with an unprecedented challenge professionally. The pandemic has shone a light on the inequities within our city. We have seen Black people contract and die from the virus at much higher rates than White people, highlighting the absolute need for access to health care and paid sick leave for all. I agree with the regional push for more vaccines for our area – it is ridiculous that people are having to drive hours to get the vaccine while people in other areas turn it down. We are nowhere near done with this pandemic, and we must use the COVID relief funds to address housing and food insecurity and to provide the highest level of city services possible. We must stay vigilant in protecting ourselves and others, get the vaccine when it is offered to us, and continue to enforce mask mandates.
Where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? – Progressive, moderate, conservative, liberal? I consider myself to be progressive.