Why I am Running for Alderman
Special to RCX
by Damon Jones
Candidate for 6th Ward Alderman
As a native St. Louisan, I have witnessed a tremendous amount of decline in my lifetime. Nearly 30,000 people have left the city in the past 10 years and over 300,000 since 1970. I have lived through some of our city’s most violent years only for my wife and I to face the same fear and concern for our son that my parents had for my brother and I. Our challenges are neither new nor unique but they remain.
An Alderman is one of only 31 people who create laws and allocate resources in the city. No other body exists to do so, the Board of Alderman is as strong or weak as the people we send. The position of Alderman is also a bully pulpit for our successes and setbacks. It is time to have elections about issues and for people seeking office to address them. We cannot become a great city until we elect candidates who are willing to create this dynamic.
My candidacy for Alderman is not about a family legacy or a political dynasty, it is about St. Louis. My parents, State Senator Robin Wright-Jones and Mike Jones have represented and fought for the people as well as influenced policy for over 40 years to the benefit of many. As a result, I recognize and understand the difference individuals can make in their community through the political process.
A great city is not racially divided. While there are signs of change our politics and history speaks for itself. We cannot move forward until we address this issue honestly, once and for all.
Great cities do not have partially accredited schools however; there are positive signs of change. I am an advocate of public education with grave concerns about education reformers. Quite frankly, I would rather "reformers" focus on improving charter schools to deliver what was promised to our community, instead of continually criticizing and demonizing the school district and its teachers. Our image as a city as well as property values are directly tied to the performance of St. Louis Public Schools.
A great city is not annually associated with "most dangerous" or "most violent" cities list. This has been the case since the late 1980's. It will take a collective effort politically, socially, and spiritually to break the cycle. The answer cannot be “stop and frisk” or vigilante justice.
Some will mistake my concerns and observations as negativity and pessimism; on the contrary it is an honest assessment of where we are today. It is time for a candid discussion about the issues and challenges we face. This will not happen unless we admit they exist and work together-black, white, north, and south-towards change and progress.
In August, I ran successfully for Committeeman of the 6th Ward on a simple platform; hold the Missouri Democratic Party accountable to the deficits in the General Assembly, addressing Republican money and influence in Democratic primaries, and improving outreach and performance. I ran because I am committed to Democratic principles and values as well as concerned about local Democratic representation.
I am running for Alderman of the 6th Ward because I have that same commitment. Our ward has prospered but it cannot be better than the city and I believe we have the pieces in place to be a great city. However, it will take honesty, commitment, and leadership to put them together. This race is not about the past it is about our future and what we want it to be. On Tuesday March 5, 2013, I ask for your vote and support so we can begin the journey to greatness together.