St. Louis Alderwoman Anne Schweitzer on constituents, city worker pay and cats
St. Louis Alderwoman Anne Schweitzer of the 13th Ward joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann to talk about running for office versus managing campaigns, whether board members should be legislators or focus more on constituent services and making public participation the norm in city government.
Schweitzer was elected nearly a year ago, part of an effort to boost a progressive presence at City Hall known as “Flip the Board.” She beat Beth Murphy, who was first elected in a special election in 2014.
Here’s what Schweitzer talked about on the show:
- Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Schweitzer has been in the aldermanic chambers just once — for her swearing-in. She said she is excited to get to know her colleagues better now that they are returning for in-person meetings.
- A recent debate on Schweitzer’s resolution to block board members from participating in meetings if they were driving featured accusations that she was trying to take away the votes of members of the Black caucus. She said the tone of the debate shocked her. “I thought we were introducing a common-sense rule change that anyone could get behind,” she said. “It certainly was not a racially motivated rule change in any way.”
- While other members of the progressive caucus think the board should focus on its role as the legislative body for the city, Schweitzer enjoys the constituent service part of the role more. “I cherish the relationships I have with the residents of the 13th Ward,” she said.
- Though the exact amount is still unknown, the city stands to receive several hundred million dollars from a settlement over the departure of the St. Louis Rams. Schweitzer wants at least some of that money put toward boosting city salaries.
Schweitzer, a St. Louis native, comes from a political family. Her grandfather, Gordon, was the city’s sheriff in the 1980s. Her father, also named Gordon, was a city municipal judge, and her mother, Jane, was the last elected circuit clerk in the city. In an example of how tightly knit the St. Louis political world can be, Jane Schweitzer was a law school classmate of former Mayor Francis Slay.
Schweitzer plans to run for reelection in 2023 in what will be the new 1st Ward, and she said she’s excited about the unique circumstances of the race.
“Part of it, I’m an incumbent running for reelection, and part of it, I will be a person running for the first time and introducing myself. So it makes it a really interesting campaign,” she said.
Follow Anne Schweitzer on Twitter: @Schweitzer88
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann