Reed Announces Entry To 2013 Mayoral Race | St. Louis Public Radio

Reed Announces Entry To 2013 Mayoral Race

Oct 3, 2012

Updated at 1:50 with comments from Mayor Slay.

The long-rumored Democratic rumble for mayor of St. Louis is on. 

Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed officially threw his hat into the ring today in a press conference at Sqwires in Lafayette Square, part of his ward before he ran for board president.

This campaign is a "mission of change," Reed told his supporters, calling Slay an ineffective leader more interested in photo ops and managing the media than with bringing people together to solve the city's problems.

Lafayette Square, he said, was improved through cooperation. Ineffective leadership has stifled similar efforts citywide.

"We can accept those things that divide us, or we can work toward a common purpose to improve our communities," Reed said. "We can continue to develop reactionary policies, or we can bring the brightest minds together to develop long-term strategies to turn St. Louis into a world-class destination."

Here are some highlights from Reed's announcement:

Mayor Slay has a huge fundraising advantage. July quarterly reports show him with $1.41 million on hand, compared to about $129,500 from Reed. Slay also received about two dozen donations of more than $5,000 (which must be disclosed almost immediately) between April and June, and several donors have, in the aggregate, donated well above that.

Speaking earlier today Slay rolled out a list of heavy-hitting political allies.  “I’ve got the support of [St. Louis] County Executive Charlie Dooley, Lacy Clay our Congressman," said Slay, "as well as our two senators that are going to be in the statehouse for the City of St. Louis, as well as a lot of other political leaders throughout the St. Louis area."

Reed may pick up the endorsement of the firefighters - several were in attendance today.

But Reed says he has the ground game to compete with Slay. "We win this race by people showing up and voting," he said. "This isn't a beauty contest. I will never have all the Republican money that my opponent has. I'm not willing to compromise that much."

Reed says he usually speaks off the cuff at events like this, but today used a tablet computer as a teleprompter.

George is no friend of the mayor's. He retired in 2007 after being demoted for refusing to follow through with promotions he said were determined using  a racially biased test, then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The racial tensions that flared as a result of George's demotion nearly boiled over when current chief Dennis Jenkerson was promoted over a higher-ranking African-American candidate.

The 1904 World's Fair was great, Reed said, "but I'm saying that the World's Fair wasn't the great thing that has ever happened to the city of St. Louis, nor will it be the greatest thing when we engage as one community."

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment, on which both Slay and Reed sit, voted two weeks ago to take some money from the corrections department and direct it to a hot-spot policing initiative. Reed says Slay ignored a similar request he made back in April.

"Why would you wait to do the budget transfer five months later when it's politically expedient?" Reed said. 

St. Louis police data show that crime is down 13 percent this year compared to the same period last year.  Crime was just one of the area's where Mayor Slay says his administration has made progress on.

"We have a very very good record that we can talk about," said Slay.  "Even under very difficult economic times there has been a lot of good things going on in St. Louis."

Among the challenges he's faced Slay listed fixing the city's firefighter pension system as one of the most immediate problems.  The mayor said he hopes the next five months will not be as divisive as some are predicting.  Especially considering the long history of cooperation Slay and President Reed share.

"Mr. Reed has supported me in virtually thing we’ve done since he’s been in office, until he decided that he wanted to run for mayor," remarked Slay.  "But having said that, I don’t this office for granted and I definitely don’t take the people of St. Louis for granted."

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