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Coatar says he’d press for more oversight by aldermen if elected board president

Alderman Jack Coatar, D-7th Ward, receives some help with his corsage. Coatar won a three-way race for the ward that includes most of Downtown St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Alderman Jack Coatar, shown at his swearing-in in 2015, is now running for president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen after nearly eight years representing the 7th Ward.

The June 7 resignation of Lewis Reed left the post of president of the Board of Aldermen vacant and opened up a chance for candidates to run citywide without having to give up their seat.

Jack Coatar, currently the 7th Ward alderman, was one of two who jumped at the opportunity and talks about his campaign on this episode of the Politically Speaking podcast. An episode with Coatar’s opponent, 15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green, will air next week. The winner will serve until another election in April.

“I was considering whether or not I was running for re-election for alderman in what is now the 8th Ward,” he said recently on the podcast. “And then, you know, in light of indictments and resignations, there was an opportunity to step up in a big way.”

Here’s how Coatar defined “stepping up”:

  • The board still has more than $200 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money to appropriate. Coatar would want to see that dedicated mostly to physical infrastructure, like pedestrian safety improvements.
  • He wants his colleagues to take their oversight role more seriously, especially about the fact that the city has spent little of the first round of ARPA money. “Every week, the board should be having hearings, asking questions about what's getting done at City Hall, how money's getting spent, how resources are allocated, and how the departments are functioning and where they have shortfalls and need help,” he said.
  • While Coatar supports non-police interventions, such as sending mental health workers to certain police calls, he said the city needs to make sure it is paying and staffing its police department appropriately. 
  • Aldermen have been meeting almost exclusively on Zoom for nearly three years, but Coatar said the Friday full board sessions need to be back in person, even if it’s not in their chambers at City Hall.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Jack Coatar on Twitter: @JackCoatar

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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