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National News

First ever Black Woman elected Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, Tishaura Jones to address differences in city services

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First ever Black Woman elected Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, Tishaura Jones to address differences in city services

2021-04-07 05:44:28

Tishaura Jones has been elected the first-ever Black female mayor of St. Louis, Missouri. In doing so, she replaced the first woman ever to hold the job.

Jones, a Democrat, won a general election on Tuesday against City Alderwoman Cara Spencer, another Democrat. Jones won 51.68 percent of the vote, according to KSDK.

Jones ran for mayor in 2017, but she lost in the Democratic primary to Lyda Krewson. Krewson went on to become the city's first-ever female mayor.

The city has had two other Black mayors. The first was Freeman Bosley Jr., who served as the city's 43rd mayor from 1993 to 1997. The second was Clarence Harmon, who served from 1997 to 2001.

Jones served as the city's treasurer since 2013 and also served five years as a state representative.

In her mayoral victory speech, Jones said she would work to address inequalities in city services. She also pledged to actively speak about any instances of racism, homophobia, xenophobia and religious intolerance in the city, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As mayor, Jones will have to decide how to use federal funds provided to the city in Democratic President Joe Biden's recently passed American Rescue Plan. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic left the city with a budget shortfall of at least $40 million in its 2021 fiscal budget.

The city region has also been the area hit hardest by the pandemic in the state. As of April 6, St. Louis County has had the highest overall number of COVID-19 cases among the state's 114 counties. St. Louis County has had 93,620 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,105 related deaths.

Jones will also have to decide how to deal with issues surrounding a recent prisoner uprising at the St. Louis City Justice Center, the city's downtown jail.

After becoming frustrated with delays in court proceedings as a result of the pandemic, a number of inmates broke windows, started fires and threw chairs into the street below on Sunday night. Approximately 60 inmates also took advantage of their cells' faulty locks to leave their cells and join the uprising.

Jones wrote of the uprising, "There is an immediate need for change in our city's justice system. Uprisings at our jails should not become the norm, and this is unacceptable."

Jones will also have to address the city's rise in violent crime. The city's 2020 homicide rate was its highest in 50 years, according to the Post-Dispatch. Experts blamed the rise on the pandemic's economic and social hardships. However, the city's 2019 homicide rate was already among the nation's highest per capita.

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