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ST. LOUIS – Two candidates running for the position of St. Louis board of aldermen president took questions Thursday from potential voters during a candidate forum in south St. Louis. 

Alderwoman Megan Green currently represents the 15th ward. Alderman Jack Coatar represents the city’s 7th ward. Coatar said public safety would be his top priority if he was selected as president of the St. Louis board of aldermen. Green proclaimed her progressive credentials and recently received the endorsement of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones. 

“We’ve had tension between the president of the board and the mayor,” Green said. “I think if we’re actually going to move forward as a city, we need to build strong collaborative relationships between those two branches of government. 

Coatar said he has shown he can work with those who disagree with him.

“I’m proud to have a strong coalition supporting me. I think it’s a testament to my leadership and the fact I have the ability to build consensus,” he said.

Coatar said if he wins the election, he would support the recent plan from St. Louis comptroller Darlene Green to boost police pay and create more incentives for officers.  

“It’s what voters want to see,” Coatar said. “They want to see the crime go down. They want to see their neighborhood safe.” 

Green said many of the challenges facing the city could be addressed by having a better understanding of the causes of those problems. She said providing more affordable housing, mental health and addiction services are among her priorities.  

Both candidates expressed agreement on a couple of issues. Green and Coatar called for the city to do a better job sharing information with the public about legislative meetings. The two also called for more citywide approaches when it comes to project planning.