As Francis Slay’s fourth term as mayor of St. Louis City comes to an end, many different people have thrown their hat into the ring to take his place.
Alderman Antonio French, aldermanic president Lewis Reed, city treasurer Tishaura Jones, and the owner of Crown Candy Kitchen, Jim Osher are just a handful of the 12 people running for the position alongside Lyda Krewson.
Krewson, the alderman of Ward 28 in St. Louis, is a front-runner for the position.
With over 30 years of experience in local politics and 40 years of residency in the Central West End, Krewson is eager to take that next leap and become the next mayor of St. Louis.
Currently, Krewson is still an alderman in the city and the chief financial officer for an architectural firm as well.
The election will take place on April 4, where, if elected, Krewson will become a full-time civil servant to the city.
Krewson first became involved in St. Louis politics 30 years ago and after spending time volunteering for the campaigns of others, Krewson was elected the alderman of the 28th Ward in 1997.
“I was the primary sponsor of the smoking ban,” Krewson said. “I think that’s a pretty big deal, I think that’s the most important thing that we’ve done for health that we’ve done since we took the lead out of gasoline. Now that you can no longer smoke in bars and restaurants and workplaces, you have all of the folks who work in those places are not exposed to secondhand smoke.”
In addition, Krewson has worked with Joe Edwards extensively in The Loop, to help get locally famous attractions such as The Pageant, Pi Pizza and The Moonrise hotel started.
“Lyda Krewson is one of those rare, rare people who’s idealistic, but also very practical,” said Edwards, a businessman, developer, and civic leader who helped revitalize the Delmar Loop area. “It would be marvelous to let Lyda loose on the rest of St. Louis because she gets it.”
Krewson has dedicated much of her life to making her community a better place to live in and a place that children who grew up here will want to come back to.
Her primary passion is her Neighborhood Safety Plan.
“I think that neighborhood safety is really the biggest thing we have to focus on,” Krewson said. “We are short 120 police officers in St. Louis City, and so we need to hire those police officers and we need to pay them competitively. If you are a county police officer, you make considerably more money than a city police officer, and I think we need to have police officers trained better. You don’t call the police on your best day, you call 911 on your worst day. [You want them to] get there fast, then the next thing you want, is for them to exercise perfect judgment, and so you need well-trained officers for that to occur.”
Since Jan. 1, 2017, it is legal in the state of Missouri for anyone over the age of 18 to carry a gun with no background check, no permit and no training.
One of the bills Krewson has currently introduced is a bill at the Board of Aldermen that would require those who carry guns in public to lock them in a box that is permanently affixed to the car when going into an establishment that prohibits firearms. This prevents criminals from quickly breaking into one’s car and grabbing a gun from under a seat of in a glove compartment.
Krewson has always felt a very personal connection the citizens and families that have been left devastated by gun violence. In 1995, her husband was murdered in front of their house in the Central West End.
“My kids were two and five. We went to the store and we came back at 8:30 in the evening. A man approached the car and shot my husband through the car window. My kids and I happened to be sitting in the back seat; my son was two and was having a meltdown, so I hopped in the back seat with them, and we came home. So he was shot right here on this corner, 21 years ago,” Krewson said.
“There’s no way for something really big like that happen to you and have it not influence you. Of course, it influences me. It makes me think about, every year, the people that are losing families to gun violence, and how their lives are changed forever.”
While many would have moved after a traumatizing situation such as this, Krewson instead devoted her life to not only making her own neighborhood safer, but the city of St. Louis a safer place as well.
“My Neighborhood Safety Plan involves not only hiring, training and equipping and paying cops better, it also includes money for recreation programs for kids, money for alternative dispute resolution,” Krewson said. “Because we can’t arrest our way out of crime, it’s really a very complex issue. It’s not all about hiring police, although that’s a component of it. The other component of it is education, recreation, jobs and all those things. There are very few things that a good job won’t cure.”
Krewson’s optimistic look on the city doesn’t just stop at neighborhood safety. She has aspirations and prospects for the city she has called home for all of these years.
“I’m in favor of metro link expansion for example. I think it would be great if we could find the funds to do that. Expanding metro, and therefore expanding transportation to jobs, would be a major plus for getting people where they need to go—particularly jobs,” Krewson said. “Also education opportunities and jobs opportunities for all citizens of the city of St. Louis, white, black, old, young, gay, straight. That will be a focus in my administration, to look at each subject through a racial equity lens so that we can achieve more racial impartiality.”
Moreover, Krewson hopes to attract more people to the city of St. Louis as its mayor.
“My goal is to make St. Louis into the city you choose to live, where your parents choose to live, because it’s such a good place to be.”