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Damon Jones will seek soon-to-be-vacant 6th Ward seat

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 12, 2012 - A potential replacement for 6th Ward Alderman Kacie Starr Triplett is stepping forward days after she announced her departure from the Board of Alderman.

On Monday, Damon Jones, 6th Ward committeeman, told the Beacon he will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat, which includes Lafayette Square, midtown, Tower Grove East and JeffVanderLou. Triplett announced she would step down from her seat late last week to take a job at a nonprofit agency.

Jones said in an interview that his commitment to St. Louis prompted him to run.

“We have a lot of challenges where if we answer the question correctly, St. Louis can thrive. If we get it wrong, then there’s nothing but a downside," he said.

Jones – who currently works for the city’s collector of revenue – is the son of state Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, D-St. Louis, and former St. Louis alderman Mike Jones. Mike Jones is currently a senior aide to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and serves on the state’s Board of Education.

Earlier this summer, Jones won election as 6th Ward commiteeman. He said it took a little time for Triplett's announcement to sink in, adding he wanted to talk with his family before making any decisions.

“I found out about it on my lunch hour on Friday. It caught me off guard,” said Jones, adding he'd likely have to leave his position if he's elected. “My wife and I have discussed it over the last few days, and she’s been supportive of the effort for me pursuing it. So that was very important to me. To anybody to say that politics is not a strain on the family or can be a strain on family, they’re in denial or lying.”

Jones may be in an advantageous position to nab the Democratic nomination.

The city’s Democratic Central Committee ultimately decides on the nominee for a vacancy on the board. But traditionally, Jones said, the committee acquiesces to whomever the ward representatives favor.

In this instance, Jones as 6th Ward committeeman would obviously support himself. And 6th Ward Committeewoman Ollie Stewart told the Beacon that she would support Jones’ bid, too.

“He would make a good alderman,” said Stewart, adding that nobody else expressed interest to her in running.

Even if he gets the nomination, it is possible that Jones could face an independent challenger during a special election. That occurred recently in the 27th Ward when Chris Carter won the Democratic nomination and Jimmie Matthews ran unsuccessfully as an independent.

In any case, Jones said he is ready to take on the opportunity.

"I was born and raised in the city of St. Louis. So I have seen the decline in my lifetime," Jones said. "It is not the city that I grew up in. I want to make sure that things are better and we trend in the upward direction instead of adownward trajectory."

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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