On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Republican mayoral candidate Andrew Jones to the show for the first time.
Jones is a utility executive and one of three GOP candidates vying to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Andrew Karandzieff appeared on the podcast last week, while efforts to reach Jim Osher to appear on the show were not successful.
Jones works for Southwestern Electric, which distributes electricity from Collinsville to Effingham, Illinois. After years of sitting on the political sidelines, Jones said he decided to take the political plunge to make St. Louis “a beacon civic excellence.”
“I took myself by the horn and said ‘Hey, you need to get involved if you have something to contribute,'" Jones said.
Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans in St. Louis, which means Jones faces long odds to become the city’s next mayor. But he appears to be the only Republican who’s actively campaigning to move on to the April 4 general election, including appearing at a candidate forum last week with five other Democratic contenders.
- One of his priorities is tackling crime throughout the city. He attributes much of the violence to the narcotics trade. "Businesses are in business to make money,” Jones said. “So when people are saying that we're willy-nilly just going to bring businesses in — a business won't locate there if their personnel, the most valuable commodity for their business, feels unsafe."
- He is wary of offering tax incentives as a way of spurring development. “You don’t want to lead with incentives,” he said. “I believe that cities that are novices or don’t fare well in economic development, they lead with incentive packages when you’re dealing with commercial and industrial customers.”
- Jones is not a fan of providing public assistance to sports stadiums, contending that the amount of revenue a stadium brings in often doesn’t exceed the taxpayer expenditure.
- Because there is no party registration in Missouri, Republicans who live in St. Louis often vote in Democratic primaries. And with seven Democrats running for mayor, it’s not out of the question that Republican crossover could have an impact. For his part, Jones said he’s getting a good reception from both GOP stalwarts and traditional Democratic voters. “Believe it or not, I really believe that there are a lot of frustrated Democrats out there that really want change because they can see the precipitous slide.”
Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann
Follow Andrew Jones on Twitter: @AJones4MayorSTL
Music: “Live Forever” by Oasis