Florissant swears in first African-American alderman

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FLORISSANT, MO (KTVI) – One of the oldest cities in St. Louis made history Monday night as the first African-American was sworn in as a city council member.

Robert Parson, Jr. is the first African-American to serve on the city council and the first to run for the position in over 40 years, a fact that he found surprising in a city where one in four residents are black.

“I am surprised people have to be invested in their communities and willing to make a change and that is hard work and not everyone is willing to take that upon themselves but I am ready for the challenge,” said Parson.

Parson will be serving as the councilman for the city’s 8th ward.

His election came less than a year after the city re-districted their wards in 2015.

According to city officials every 10 years the city is required to gather census data from the county and reevaluate how their wards are distributed.

Florissant did this around 2011, and then in 2015 the city got a notice from the NAACP encouraging them to re-district their wards.

After taking another look city officials realized that the information they were provided by the county was incorrect and changed their wards around.

Parsons isn’t sure if this played a role in him winning the election, he is just excited to serve the community.

The Mayor of Florissant said other minorities have served on the council and he encourages everyone to run.

Parson is an attorney and has lived in Florissant since 1992.