Election Day in Missouri saw St. Louis voters elect Lyda Krewson as the first woman mayor in city history and reject public funding for a proposed downtown soccer stadium; Kansas City voters approve the largest general obligation bond in city history; and voters in Springfield and Columbia elect new municipal leadership.
Krewson, who has served for years on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, easily defeated Republican challenger Andrew Jones, becoming St. Louis’ 46th mayor and the first woman to hold the office in its 194-year history. She had been favored to win after her victory in the March Democratic primary.
Voters rejected funding for a downtown soccer stadium meant to lure a Major League Soccer team to the city, but they approved a measure imposing a sales tax increase for expanding the MetroLink.
The stadium plan was opposed by 53 percent of voters. Sixty percent of voters backed the MetroLink tax.
In what’s viewed as a big win for Mayor Sly James and members of the Kansas City Council, voters approved a plan to invest $800 million in infrastructure over 20 years, the largest such bond package in city history.
The package consisted of three questions, each of which easily cleared the 57.1 percent threshold needed for approval: Question 1, seeking $600 million for streets, bridges and sidewalks; Question 2, seeking $150 million for flood control; and Question 3, seeking $50 million for a new animal shelter plus other upgrades.
Also approved in Kansas City was a 1/8-cent sales tax expected to raise $8.6 million over 10 years to fund economic development efforts in the city’s urban core.
Ken McClure, who has held numerous positions in local and state government, will become the city’s new mayor after defeating Kristi Fulnecky, an attorney and member of the Springfield City Council.
Voters rejected what would have been the largest school bond issue in Springfield history. A measure to raise $189 million for Springfield Public Schools garnered support from more than 50 percent of voters, but it fell short of the 57.14 percent required for approval.
Five seats on the Springfield City Council were up for grabs. Phyllis Ferguson, Dr. Tom Prater, Craig Fishel, Jan Fisk and Craig Hosmer were elected to fill them, all winning by at least 34 percent in their respective races.
Voters returned one incumbent and elected a newcomer to the Columbia City Council. The Rev. Clyde Ruffin will serve another three-year term representing the First Ward. Shelter Insurance portfolio manager Matt Pitzer was elected to serve his first term for the Fifth Ward.
Three incumbents won re-election to the Columbia Board of Education. Jonathan Sessions, Helen Wade and Paul Cushing will return for their fourth, third and second terms, respectively.
Voters also elected Randy Morrow, who worked as a top administrator at Boone Hospital Center for 38 years, to a five-year term on the hospital’s board of trustees. Bob Wagner, whose five-year term expires this month, was elected to fill the remaining year of the term vacated by Fred Parry, who was elected Southern Boone County commissioner in November.
St. Louis County
St. Louis County voters overwhelmingly approved a sales tax increase to boost police pay, hire more officers and make other public safety upgrades.
Other plans for revenue from the half-cent tax hike include an increase in the number of two-person police cars and the use of dashboard and body cameras.
Mayor James Knowles won re-election over City Council member Ella Jones.
Knowles, who has been the face of the municipality since Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in 2014 by a police officer thrust Ferguson and its racial divisions into the international spotlight, barely missed having to face a recall election in 2015. He beat Jones, who would have been the city’s first African-American mayor.