DOWNTOWN—Lewis Reed is at the point when some would think wielding a gavel at a meeting of the Board of Aldermen is just another day at the office.
Barring something extraordinary, he’ll soon start his fourth term and his thirteenth year as president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in April. But in a phone interview last week, he said he’s as enthusiastic as ever.
“For me, it can never become another day at the office because of all the challenges we have,” said Reed, who was first elected board president in 2007. “Our ability to substantially change the circumstances in somebody’s lives is a big responsibility.”
Reed defeated three candidates to win the Democratic nomination for Board of Aldermen President in the March 5 primary. Reed got 12,416 votes, or 35.63 percent of the vote. State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed received 11,012 votes, or 31.6 percent of the total, Ward 15 Alderwoman Megan Green had 10,868 votes, or 31,19 percent, and persistent candidate Jimmie Matthews received 547 votes, or 1.57 percent.
Reed’s only opposition in the April 2 general election is Green Party candidate Jerome H, Bauer.
“We have such an aggressive agenda,” Reed said.
Reed mentioned a long list of achievements in the past, as well as things he’d like to do.
Those include passage of a law requiring the city to use minority and women-owned businesses and the unanimous passage of a ward redistricting bill that kept two wards on the North Side.
“We were able to draw a map and keep it balanced,” he said. All 28 aldermen cosponsored the bill.
The Board of Aldermen passed a bill creating a civilian oversight commission for the police. That law added subpoena power to the commission. Legislation he promoted helped more than 11,000 families to pay their for their mortgage, rent and utilities.
The big issue the board will take up when it comes back in session is the city-county merger proposed by Better Together. That organization is seeking signatures needed to put its plan on the November 2020 ballot.
“That Better Together plan is an extraordinarily complex plan,” Reed said.
Reed criticized the idea that people throughout the state should have a voice in a merger.
“We’re going to have a majority of the people who is uninformed,” he said. He mentioned the possibility have having some kind of statewide campaign group that can match the huge resources of Better Together.
Reed noted that several incumbent aldermen had big margins of victory, including Ward 12 Alderman Larry Arnowitz, Ward 4 Alderman Samuel Moore and Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Middlebrook. Incumbent Ward 14 Alderwoman Carol Howard was one candidate who had a close race. She defeated labor activist Tony Pecinovsky 52 percent to 48 percent.
Getting off one more shot at Green, Reed said she’s an admitted socialist and should have run as a socialist and not a Democrat. Pecinovsky, who has written for Communist party publications, should have run as a Communist, Reed said.
“They should run under that party’s banner and not the Democratic banner,” Reed said.