St. Louis mayor announces re-election bid as city experiences worst population decline in nation

Mayor Tishaura Jones said the problem is not new, although she said she has a plan to address it. Critics have questions.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is speaking out on a new report that says the city is experiencing the worst population loss than any other city in the country.

Critics say crime and low-paying jobs are the cause. The report comes as Jones announced his intention to seek a second term. She says the problem isn’t new, although she says she has a plan to fix it. Critics have questions.

Mingling with supporters and exchanging hugs Thursday evening, St. Louis’ first Black female mayor announced she was ready to serve another term, touting the victories she claimed while leading the city.

“St. Louis has seen the lowest homicide rate in a decade and the largest year-over-year reduction in crime in 90 years,” Jones told the crowd.

Try telling that to the town sheriff.

“The mayor can make up all the ‘reduce crime’ stories, but every day someone dies in the city of St. Louis,” Sheriff Vernon Betts told 5 On Your Side. He added that it had an impact on his department. “It’s hard for me to hire sheriff’s deputies because no one wants to work in the city of St. Louis. The pay base is poor. People are leaving, going to places where they can feel safer. »

The city lost some 4,400 residents last year, the largest population decline in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

“What are we doing to bring people back to town and keep them here? » 5 On Your Side asked Jones.

“The population of St. Louis has been declining since the 1950s, so it didn’t start under my administration or any previous administration. What we need to do is create opportunities for people to thrive here,” she replied.

She added that this is possible by investing in historically neglected communities.

“I love everything about the city, I live in the Shaw neighborhood…I’m a total supporter of the city and the mayor,” Lenny Jones said. He is part of a union that represents home and health care workers. He remembers the time when the Northview Village Nursing Home closed abruptly during the holidays.

“She was there to support the workers, seeking funds from the city to help them during this very troubled time just before Christmas,” he said.

Paula Jones lives downtown. “It’s a new growth that’s happening.” She says in addition to the increase in homeless encampments, she’s also impressed with the mayor. “I think she’s doing a great job…to bring her back to power.”

Janis Mensah, who originally voted for Jones, now has second thoughts.

“I can’t trust him. I can’t hold him accountable. The only thing I can hope for is a better option for my vote.” Mensah retired from the city’s Detention Oversight Board after becoming disillusioned with what Mensah calls failed campaign promises.

“By ending the inhumane conditions in prison, she has not kept her promises…If she makes more campaign promises, I can’t be sure she will keep them either,” Mensah said.

Jones is currently working to get 1,200 signatures to get his name on the ballot.