Tishaura Jones’ journey to being elected mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, came full circle Tuesday night. Defeating opponent Alderwoman Cara Spencer, Jones crossed the threshold to becoming the first Black woman to lead the city. Jones finished with 51.7 percent of the vote to Spencer’s 47.8 percent.
Quoting Maya Angelou, Jones said, “St. Louis, this is an opportunity for us to rise.” She said she wanted to build a city where everyone could feel welcome regardless of their background.
More than a historic first, Jones brings to the role the bold vision, experience, and knowledge to break down historical racial barriers and divides and other inequities that persist in the city. She said that while some barriers are being broken, work remains.
“From rebuilding and redeveloping our neighbors with communities not to them, addressing the inequities of the delivery in our city services and reforming our city government to be transparent, accessible, and open to you the taxpayers and residents of the City of St. Louis,” Jones continued.
Jones said she has a bold agenda to move the city forward and address the realities of a 21st-century community. One of her priorities is ensuring peace, prosperity, and security to every neighborhood in the city.
No stranger to breaking barriers, Jones was the first woman elected as St. Louis Treasurer in 2012. After her narrow loss in the 2017 mayoral election, Jones continued to work with the movement that embraced her.
“Four years ago, movement embraced Tishaura, and I think Tishaura has worked to embrace movement,” said Kayla Reeda in an interview with NewsOne. Reed is executive director of Action St. Louis and a member of the new mayor’s transition team. “She values relationships, and she leans into those uncomfortable conversations.”
Over the past four years, Jones has proven herself to be someone who holds community close and will take the bold steps necessary to bring all people forward.
Local organizers also flipped the Board of Alderman, with progressive candidates gaining a majority with Tuesday’s election. In Ward 17, Tina ‘Sweet-T’ Pihl won by 19 votes, showing every vote counts.
Jones will be sworn in on April 20. The election marks the first time voters used a new nonpartisan format. All candidates ran in a single primary, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the general.
“For many years, we called her the people’s mayor, even after she lost,” Reed said. “and I think she wants to live up to that because she knows what’s at stake.”