Later this month, on April 27, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay will become the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history.
With more than 81 percent of the vote, Slay won his fourth term as mayor yesterday, besting a candidate from the Green Party, and prior, defeating two primary challengers including Board of Alderman president Lewis Reed.
“I love this city dearly and I really love the people more than anything,” Slay told host Don Marsh. “I like what I do and I’ve got a good team and I’m looking forward to the next four years.”
Among Slay’s frustrations is the continued downturn in the economy and the fragmentation and manner in which city government is set-up.
Slay advocates having St. Louis City re-enter St. Louis County as a municipality. “Issues that are in St. Louis city are issues shared by the region. These are all important things that we should be working on together,” Slay said. He cites transportation, economic development, diversity, immigration and public safety as the top common issues.
“The city really does bring a lot to the table, a tremendous amount of assets…a very strong downtown, a huge tax base, and a huge job base…and we also bring to the city and to the county a level of unity and cooperation when we come together and tackle economic disparities,” Slay said.
“If we move forward separately as if the city doesn’t matter or as the county doesn’t matter, we will fail together. We need to work together to be stronger and to compete against the world,” Slay said.
Earlier this year Mayor Slay released a 5-year sustainability plan. Among other things, it calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 20 new charter schools, and lower crime rates.
He said, “It has over 300 strategies and goals that deal with everything from art and culture as well as public safety and immigration, economic development and infrastructure. We also have 29 of those as an action plan over the next 5 years.”
St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann joined Marsh to talk about Proposition P, a 3/16th of one-cent sales tax increase which aims to benefit the Gateway Arch grounds, regional trails and greenways through Great Rivers Greenway, and city and county parks.
With assistance from St. Louis Public Radio’s Tim Lloyd