As BOA President, Green Vows to Build a St. Louis For All

"It is time to build, together, a city that works for everyone," Megan Green says at inauguration

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click to enlarge Megan Green speaks at her inauguration in St. Louis City Hall on Monday, November 28. - Monica Obradovic
Monica Obradovic
Megan Green speaks at her inauguration in St. Louis City Hall on Monday, November 28.

For the first time in St. Louis city history, the members of the city's most powerful governing body are all women.

This was not lost to speakers at Alderwoman Megan Green’s inauguration as president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen president today.

Green’s election to replace the board’s former president, Lewis Reed, and interim successor Joe Vollmer, cinches a new frame of power for top leadership in St. Louis. Comptroller Darlene Green, Mayor Tishaura Jones and Green will for the first time in city history comprise an all-women Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which controls city spending.

“No dollar will be spent by the city of St. Louis without the approval of three powerful women leaders,” Jones said at Green’s inauguration. Green herself referred to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment as the "shE-and-A."

A progressive Democrat originally from upstate New York, Green won her election earlier this month by a significant margin over her opponent, Alderman Jack Coatar. She ran on a campaign promise to make St. Louis “a place that works for everyone” by reigning in tax breaks for developers, transforming public safety and fighting for reproductive rights.

“I commit myself to you, to your family, to your neighborhood, and to your dream of what this city and your life in it can be,” Green said.

Green’s term will last only until April, when Reed’s term was supposed to end. He resigned this year shortly after a federal indictment revealed his part in a bribery scheme to secure a local developer tax breaks.

In the next five months, Green will have no shortage of work ahead of her.

She’ll have to prepare aldermen for reorganization as the board shrinks from 28 members to 14. Problems with the city’s dwindling workforce and suffering city services must be resolved, Green said, by providing compensation and benefits such as childcare and student loan assistance. The board must also appropriate ARPA funds and determine how to best use the hundreds of millions of dollars from the Rams settlement, she added.

That’s far from all. Green vowed to bolster public health and reproductive healthcare; pursue public safety strategies to address the root causes of crime; further decriminalize marijuana by changing hiring policies and zoning regulations; and possibly confirm new city members to the Board of Freeholders, a cooperative body that hopes to explore joint city-county governance.

Apart from her progressive ideas, which caused some of Green’s fellow Democrats to side with her opponent, Green promised an end to the “toxic culture” that has plagued the board in the past few years, a not-so-subtle jab at Reed. The former board president famously laughed after now-deceased radio host Bob Romanik called Green a “skanky bitch” on air in 2016. Months before, Green had alleged corruption played a part in a committee vote to advance financing for a new NFL stadium.

All of the work ahead will be a lot, Green admitted. City residents will have lots of change to consider.

“I’m confident that by working together we can overcome institutional inertia and historic suspicions and get it done,” Green said. “Let me rephrase that sentence for emphasis: Only by working together can we get things done.”

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About The Author

Monica Obradovic

Monica Obradovic is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times.
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