By Jessica Machetta
St. Louis City voters have chosen Democrat Lyda Krewson and Republican Andrew Jones to advance in the mayor’s race. They will face off in next month’s general election.
Jones receive more than 1,000 votes in Tuesday’s primary. Krewson pulled in more than 17,000.
If Krewson wins next month, she’ll become St. Louis’s first-ever woman elected as mayor.
“I didn’t run to be the first woman mayor,” says Krewson. “But if you help me across the finish line on April the 4th, every little girl and every young woman will know that they too can serve our city and be leaders for tomorrow.”
Krewson says public safety, economic development, and working with neighboring counties would be her top priorities in strengthening St. Louis.
“To grow, to be competitive with other cities and to provide opportunities, we must act regionally. We will become a city that focuses on economic development, planning, renovation, job opportunities, better city services and hope for every single one of us. Black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight, young and old. All of us,” says Krewson.
Krewson has run a 10-month campaign heavily focused on public safety, since her husband was killed in a car-jacking two decades a go.
“St. Louis has a lot to be proud of and we also have some challenges. Neighborhood safety is job one. Far too many families know the pain of violent crime,” says Krewson. “We’ll invest in prevention programs that work and in more, a better trained, and more diverse police force.”
She declined to comment on whether she would push to replace Police Chief Sam Dotson, who was chosen by the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners in 2012.
Krewson says fighting crime in the city is two-fold, and the first part is intervention and deterrence.
“That means more recreation programs. That means more summer jobs for kids and for young people,” says Krewson. “It means additional training programs. It means alternative dispute resolution. It means alternative sentencing. Don’t take a young person that makes a mistake, send them to jail and make them a better criminal.”
Instead, she says alternative programs are needed to divert them. The second part of making the city safer, Krewson says, is bolstering law enforcement — starting with hiring up to the city’s authorized strength.
“It means paying cops better. It means training cops better so that we can rebuild the frayed relationship that we have currently between many members of our community and law enforcement,” says Krewson.
Krewson thinks running a positive campaign resonated with voters.
“I think the voters in St. Louis cared about the issues that I cared about, which is public safety, modernizing government and economic development. Ultimately that played a role in their decision,” says Krewson.
She has been endorsed by Mayor Francis Slay, who has led the city for 16 years.