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Politically Speaking: Jimmie Matthews on why he continues his pursuit of public service

Jimmie Matthews, January 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis Alderman Jimmie Matthews to the program.

Matthews is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become St. Louis’ mayor.  We’re seeking to interview as many candidates as possible before the March 7 primaries.

In addition to serving as an alderman in the 1980s, Matthews’ professional career includes stints as an auto mechanic, a real estate broker and a pastor. He ran for mayor in 2013, and ended up getting 575 votes out of a pool of roughly 44,000.

Since 2013, Matthews has run for recorder of deeds, St. Louis Board of Aldermen president, Democratic committeeman, and city sheriff. He’s recieved anywhere from about 7 percent of the vote (in the sheriff’s contest) to 18.36 percent of the vote (in the sheriff’s race).


Whenever Matthews runs for something, his campaign signs often show up all over the city. This strategy has not been without its detractors.

A few highlights from the show:

  • If Matthews wins, he would like to see a reduction in the amount of tax incentives used in the city. He went onto say that he doesn’t think reducing tax abatement of tax increment finance will prompt big developments to go to St. Louis County.

  • Matthews says that he does not want to retain St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson if he’s elected mayor.

  • He contends that his prolific use of campaign signage is an effective strategy. “Let me tell you: Every time you see Wheaties advertised or whatever product on television?” he said. “They advertise it a hundred times on television, and nobody talks about that they should stop advertising.”

  • Matthews says he loves talking face-to-face with voters. “You can say ‘I talked to this crazy guy running for mayor,’” he said. “That spreads like wildfire. And when you talk to people and spend time with them, they get an impression about you. And if they want to talk negatively about you or malign your character, your name is still talked about.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum: @jrosenbaum

Follow Rachel Lippmann: @rlippmann

Music: “Titanium Falcon” by Tilts and “Hotline Bling” by Drake

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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