ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, who has been outspoken in her criticism of the criminal justice system’s “arrest and incarcerate” model, won election Tuesday and will take over as the first Black female mayor in a city beset by yet another wave of violent crime.
Jones defeated Alderwoman Cara Spencer in the general election with 51.7 percent to Spencer’s 47.8 percent, based on unofficial results posted on the city’s website. She will be sworn in April 20.
“St. Louis: This is an opportunity for us to rise,” Jones said in her victory speech. “I told you when I was running that we aren’t done avoiding tough conversations. We are done ignoring the racism that has held our city and our region back.”
Spencer, in her concession, noted the historic achievement of her opponent.
“This is something we should all celebrate,” Spencer said. “Our city broke a glass ceiling tonight, a ceiling that shouldn’t have been there.”
Jones, 49, is a former state representative who has been treasurer since 2013. She will replace incumbent Mayor Lyda Krewson, who announced in November that she would not seek a second term. Krewson, 67, is the city’s first woman mayor.
In her new job, Jones faces many challenges. The population that peaked at 856,796 in 1950 is now just above 300,000, and people are still leaving for the suburbs. Businesses, including downtown restaurants and shops, are still struggling to recover from Covid-19 shutdowns.
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