ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones stood firm Thursday, saying the state of Missouri needs to stay out of St. Louis city business.

The mayor sat down for an in-depth interview to talk about her message and where she sees the city now and in the future.

Just days after Jones delivered the State of the City address, she emphasized how she hears the frustrations of residents and said she is working daily to make the city stronger and safer.

“We have seen some encouraging numbers so far after we hired our first outside police chief,” Jones said. Chief Robert Tracy, who brings with us a fresh set of eyes on our law enforcement. Property crime is down, violent crime is down, all except the Kia and Hyundai thefts, which are wreaking havoc on our streets, and we are taking them to court for that.”

Jones is also against Missouri Attorney Andrew Bailey’s attempt to remove St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from office.

“I don’t support what’s going on now. We have a process in place in order,” she said. “If we don’t like a particular elected official, it’s called an election, and Mrs. Gardner is up for election in 2024. I don’t support the state coming in and taking over any part of our criminal justice system. We want to make sure that we are offering the support the circuit attorney office needs, and we are ready to help anyway we can.”

The mayor delivered the first across-the-board raise in years for city employees as well as a retention incentive. She also condemned efforts for a state takeover of the police department.

“Jefferson City is trying to take us back to a Civil War era of the state controlling our police department and our police chief having five bosses,” Jones said. “If I had five bosses telling me what to do, that would drive me crazy. No one in Jefferson City can tell us how this is going to make us safer. If they want to make us safer, they would pass common sense gun safety regulations like universal background checks and red flag laws. We want people to meet us upstream with paid internships and apprenticeships,” she said. “With paid workforce opportunities and pay people while they skill up or get a new skill because poverty is a parent of crime, and if we can eradicate or reduce poverty in the St. Louis region, then we can address crime.”