St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. He joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann to talk about his re-election bid.
Reed is squaring off against three other Democratic candidates in the March 5 primary, including state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and Alderwoman Megan Green, D-15th Ward. Nasheed and Green have recorded Politically Speaking episodes that will air later this month.
A native of Joliet, Illinois, Reed first appeared on the local political scene in the 1990s when he was elected alderman for the 6th Ward, which includes the Midtown and Lafayette Square neighborhoods.
In 2007, he successfully challenged Board of Aldermen President Jim Shrewsbury. As board president, Reed joined the powerful Board of Estimate and Apportionment that makes most of the city’s financial decisions. He also appoints aldermanic committees and presides over meetings.
Reed won his bids for re-election in 2011 and 2015 against marginal opposition. He lost two campaigns for mayor in 2013 and 2017.
Here’s what Reed had to say during the show:
- Among other things, Reed wants to use his next term to help reduce crime and ensure a smooth transition to a 14-member Board of Aldermen. “I see now that we’re right here on the threshold of making some major change happen,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to begin that work.”
- Reed doesn’t like how a proposed plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County could be voted on statewide, as opposed to just in the city and the county. “Can you imagine where it fails in the city, county and passes outstate?” he said. “People with no vested interest would be making the decisions for us.”
- He said that opponents of such a move should organize a campaign to get people not to sign a petition to get the measure on the ballot in 2020.
- If he is re-elected, Reed will play a decisive role in deciding whether a private company is brought in to operate St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Reed said he is for studying that opportunity — especially if it can bring a lot of money to help impoverished parts of the city.
- Reed believes he has developed relationships inside and outside the Board of Aldermen to get things done, a difficult task in a city known for rough-and-tumble politics. “When at the table, you have just one voice,” he said. “You have to leverage that voice as much as possible to move things.”
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann
Follow Lewis Reed on Twitter: @PresReed
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Music: “Take on Me” by Weezer