Nasheed says state experience readies her for presidency

TOWER GROVE SOUTH—Though she has never served on the St. Louis Board of Alderman, after dealing with a state Senate made up overwhelmingly of Republicans, State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed says she’s ready to lead the Board.

The Democratic candidate outlined her priorities at a Feb. 20 event at the Royale Food & Spirits in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.

Nasheed said she doesn’t think the Board is functioning properly under the present leadership and she things she can do better.

“I have been able to work across party lines,” said Nasheed, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Board of Aldermen President in the March 5 primary.

In her appearance, Nasheed responded to questions posed by Darian Wigfall and Liz Kramer of the Royale Political Wire podcast. The podcast features live interviews with the major candidates for Board President ahead of the primary. 15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green has already appeared. Incumbent Aldermanic President Lewis Reed will speak at 8 p.m. Feb. 27.

“I will do well here because I truly understand what you have to have to be a bold leader,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed said she is in favor of a merger between St. Louis and St. Louis County, but not the current proposal by Better Together. “Let the city and county decide, not outside,” she said.

Nasheed also said that it was important that the area north of Delmar Boulevard be developed, so that people move there. “We’re seeing a lot of incentives going into the Central Corridor,” she said.

She also said that sports and entertainment companies that get tax incentives should be required to make community benefits agreements compelling them to help those in need. Besides that, the city sometimes needs to say no to private developers, she said.

She said she could have an important role on the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (E&A), the body made up of the Aldermanic President, the Mayor and the Comptroller. She said she would work on balancing the budget by trying to attract state and federal dollars as well as money from public and private partnerships.

On the upcoming reduction of the number of wards from 28 to 14, Nasheed said she would like to have an independent demographer come up with a map. There should be public involvement and town hall meetings, she said.

Nasheed said she would like to work on dealing with the root cause of crime, an area in which she has personal experience. She grew up in the Darst-Webbe public housing project. Her father was shot in a drive-by shooting before she was born, and her mother committed suicide soon after she was born.

Nasheed said she was a troubled youth before turning her life around.

“I was a kid who broke laws. Now I’m a kid making laws,” Nasheed said.

To prevent others from going through what she went through, Nasheed wants more early childhood education.

On another subject, minority inclusion of city contracts, Nasheed said that she would like to see more monitoring to ensure that women-owned and minority-owned businesses are getting more city contracts.

Nasheed will face incumbent Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, Alderwoman Megan E. Green, and Jimmie Matthews in the March 5 primary.

Jim Merkel

Author: Jim Merkel

Born and raised in St. Louis, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of four books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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