Candidates by Ward

WARD 9: Ken Ortmann

Age: 69

Neighborhood: Benton Park

Occupation: Semi-retired

Political Experience: 9th Ward Alderman for 18 years

Your take on crime: I helped found the Neighborhood Crime and Safety Committee – organizing neighborhood watches, building relationships between citizens and police, and working with city services to repair street lights, and neglected properties.  As Alderman, I’ll assist in establishing a Crime and Safety Committee in every neighborhood in the 9th Ward.  It’s my dream to make every block walkable, day or night.

As Alderman, I will work to see that our justice system is fair for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, and support policies to address the root causes of crime in St. Louis.

The Workhouse should be closed, updated, and repurposed to continue to serve the people of St. Louis as a facility that safely and thoughtfully helps treat those with mental and drug issues.  It is also our responsibility to ensure the prisoners now housed there are safely moved to their next location.

Your take on city finances: The City budget process must be transparent and equitable. St. Louis was experiencing a budget shortfall well before the impact of Covid.  As we hopefully begin a track to recover, I’ll work diligently to see that the City continues to efficiently administer basic services like snow removal, park caretaking, street and sidewalk repair along with police and fire services.  We must also ensure programs are in place to stop crime at its root, and give our law enforcement and social workers the training and support they need to be effective. 

Your take on the city’s COVID-19 response: I’ll work directly with the state and federal office holders, health departments and clinics to open vaccine administering locations in the 9th Ward, and to have vaccines directly administered at senior and disabled living facilities. We must ensure the COVID vaccine is equitably available to those high-risk individuals and those disproportionately affected by the virus.

Where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? – Progressive, moderate, conservative, liberal? I’ve always been a progressive.  Putting people before politics, every year, I’ve worked with citizens and organizations to move the 9th Ward forward. 

Under my leadership, we’ve made real, tangible progress: rehabbing and improving over 800 buildings for people and businesses, even reimagining vacant schools and making them into affordable housing.  I’ve improved our Parks with lighting, electricity and sidewalks to make them a place people enjoy, instead of places where crimes are instigated, and worked with Cherokee Street to become a destination district.

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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