ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Tishaura Jones will make history April 20th when she officially becomes the first black woman to become mayor of St. Louis. She is also making national headlines. Jones did interviews with national news outlets Wednesday.
“We’ve seen in recent years that when a city elects a black woman mayor, that does make national news and in a good way,” said Jones. She believes the message voters sent Tuesday is they want more progressive leadership.
Mayor Lyda Krewson met with Jones at city hall for about 25 minutes Wednesday. Jones described the meeting as an initial discussion with more meetings expected as the transition moves forward.
Violent crime will be a big issue facing Jones. The homicide rate in St. Louis last year climbed to a level not seen in 50 years.
Jones believes addressing racism and pouring resources into underserved communities are ways to prevent crime. She met with reporters Wednesday and said her plan will also require a regional approach.
“We’re going to be convening various stakeholders across the region,” said Jones. She said those stakeholders will examine crime prevention tools and help develop a strategy.
“Crime and safety do not stop at our borders,” said Jones. “We need to invest and bring our neighbors to the table from the west and the east.”
Jones also named her transition team Wednesday and shared a link where citizens can provide feedback for how the city should spend its share of federal relief money.
Jones is the current St. Louis Treasurer. She said she will be naming her replacement soon.
One immediate financial test facing Jones and her administration will be how to best spend approximately $500 million in federal relief dollars. Jones said immediate priorities should include helping with rent, mortgage, and utility assistance for struggling families. She said small business assistance and helping the un-housed should also be a priority.
When asked whether current COVID-19 restrictions should be lifted, she said she would want to meet with the current health director and consult with St. Louis County before deciding.
“Dr Page and I have been friends since 2008,” said Jones. “We crossed paths when he was coming out of the legislature and I was going in, so there’s an existing relationship there.”
Jones views that relationship as an opportunity to work together. She said, “We’re both very excited about that.”