ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, and local activist Cori Bush marked their election victories with a news conference Wednesday afternoon under the Gateway Arch.
“St. Louis spoke. And St. Louis said, ‘We are tired of what was,'” Bush said one day after ousting longtime Congressman William “Lacy” Clay in the Democratic primary.
Clay had held that seat since 2000 when he followed his father’s footsteps. William Lacy Clay Sr. held the seat for 32 years before deciding not to seek a ninth term.
Bush is a well-known activist who has called for police reforms following the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. She became a nurse after living out of her SUV for a period after becoming ill and losing her job.
Bush, who had backing from political action committee Justice Democrats and Fight Corporate Monopolies this election, said her victory sent a message to the political establishment.
“Regular everyday people, working-class people, and people that look like me, we need to be in Congress and the people want change,” she said.
Bush said her priorities include expanding health care coverage and spending more money on education and less money on prisons. She also plans to fight for $2,000 a month in COVID relief money for anyone aged 16 and above.
Bush explained that she, Gardner, and Jones talked often during the campaign and helped each other through the tough times during the race.
Gardner and Jones are the first Black women to hold their positions. Bush is expected to be the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.
“We need black women leading in St. Louis,” Bush said.
Jones said the three Black women bring a perspective to politics that’s been lacking.
“All three of us are single moms and so we lead from a different place,” she said. We lead from wondering how others in our same situation are going to pay their bills, keep a roof over their head, send their kids to school.”
Gardner said the election is also a reflection of voters rejecting vicious attacks.
“They don’t appreciate people saying I should be shot in my head or hung by a tree by the KKK,” she said. “They don’t appreciate individuals protesting outside my house to cause fear.”