Who is Tishaura Jones? St Louis gets first Black woman mayor, Missouri Rep Cori Bush calls it 'a new day'
'As a city, we’ve been surviving. It’s time for St Louis to thrive,' said Jones
St Louis treasurer Tishaura Jones on Tuesday, April 6, made history when she became the city’s first Black woman mayor by beating Cara Spencer by less than a margin of four percent. Spencer tried to portray Democrat Jones as a “career politician” who has spent most of the last decade in an elected office in the run-up to the battle but could not stop her opponent from having the last laugh.
Both Jones and Spencer ran their campaigns as social justice advocates who would focus on implementing criminal justice reform. However, Jones, who turned 49 last month, edged past Spencer by convincing the voters that her experience in the Missouri state legislature, the city treasury and the private sector would make her an effective mayor. Jones will assume her office on April 20.
Jones’s victory marked a significant point since St Louis and nearby Ferguson came in the news in the recent years following the police shooting of Michael Brown, a Black teenager, in 2014. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests across the US, the victory of Jones would boost her support base further.
Jones ran for mayor's office in 2017 but failed
Jones had run for the mayor’s office in 2017 but failed to win the party’s primary. This time, she emerged as a frontrunner to become the mayor after ending up first in the March 2 primary. Jones will replace her fellow Democrat Lyda Krewson who won the 2017 election but refused to seek a second term. The contest on Tuesday was the second phase of St. Louis’s nonpartisan voting system. On March 2, the voters could cast ballots for as many contenders as they sought while Tuesday's one was designated for those who bagged the biggest support.
Jones has promised to shut the north St Louis jail, which is known as the Workhouse, within her first 100 days in office besides addressing other problems there. She will also face the challenge of spending nearly $500 million in federal coronavirus relief. Under Missouri’s law, Jones will appoint her successor as treasurer, a post she has served since 2013. Her successor will now have to serve the remainder of her current term which ends in 2024. According to St. Louis Public Radio, Jones said on Tuesday night that she is yet to pick her successor as treasurer. “As a city, we’ve been surviving,” Jones told her supporters. “It’s time for St. Louis to thrive. It’s time to bring a breath of fresh air to our neighborhoods.”
Congratulatory messages started pouring in for Jones moments after her victory became certain. Missouri Representative Cori Bush tweeted saying: “It's a new day in St. Louis, and Black women are leading the way.”
Who is Tishuara Jones?
Born as Tishaura Onenda Jones in St Louis in March 1972, Jones is the only child to Virvus and Laura Jones. Her father was a former comptroller for the city and had been convicted on two counts of fraud in the 1990s. Her mother died of cancer In 2000. Jones graduated from the local Affton High School and joined Hampton University, Virginia. She graduated from the school with a Bachelor of Science in finance in 1994. She is a single mother and has a son Aden Jones Jeffries, who was born in 2007.
Jones identifies herself as a progressive and endorsed Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and then Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary. After working as an executive trainee at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital between 2001 and 2003, Jones made her foray into politics in 2012 when he was appointed to the Democratic Party Committee for St. Louis's eigth ward. In 2008, Jones ran for a House seat from the Missouri House of Representatives and won the election by bagging more than 85 percent of the votes. She ran unopposed for re-election to the House in 2010 before running for the treasurer for the first time in 2012.