Video by KMOV 4
Fourteen new alderpersons were sworn into office Tuesday in the City of St. Louis. Residents voted years ago to shrink the St. Louis Board of Aldermen from 28 to 14 wards.
Elected officials touted how this class is one of the most progressive in the city’s history.
The new board includes a re-elected Asian person, a newly-elected Latina person, a newly-elected and returning aldermen of the LGBTQ+ community and eight alderwomen total.
Longtime alderwoman Sharon Tyus has been critical of the progressive takeover, citing progressives supporting defunding police departments. Tuesday, Tyus criticized the progressives, specifically board president Megan Green, for voting to change the board’s rule pertaining to seniority.
The old rules allowed alderpersons with the most seniority to pick which committee they wanted to chair. On Tuesday, the board voted to give the board president and elected leadership the power to pick committee chairpersons and members who apply.
“We’re doing that so that board members are more accountable to each other,” Green told News 4 in a previous interview. “And we stop some of the petty politics and infighting that has plagued this body for years.”
“Autocratic…ignorant and racist. That’s what I think…that’s who you are,” Alderwoman Tyus said to Green during the Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.
Green warned Tyus she could be removed from the board’s chambers if she didn’t follow decorum.
“You try to take my seniority away again–that will be a war you will not see,” Tyus said. “So when you pick my Black leaders with your white faces, those are not Black leaders, that’s a Black face that you have decided to choose.”
Tyus criticized white progressives endorsing and backing Black progressives in St. Louis. Tyus believes all aren’t looking out for the interest of Black citizens in North St. Louis.
“Discourse is expected to happen,” said fromer state lawmaker and newly-ced 14th Ward Alderman Rasheen Aldridge. “I live in North St. Louis my whole life. No one can tell me how Black I am. I care about Black people, but I care about everybody in the 14th Ward. Petty stuff like that is not what I’m interested in. We got a bigger opportunity instead of saying who’s Blacker than who.”
Aldridge pointed out how there are six Black elected officials on the board, half identify as progressive. He was also selected as assistant floor leader, meaning he’s fourth in line to be board president.
Committee assignments will be made in the next few weeks. Assignments are needed in order to get business done.
President Green couldn’t do an interview with KMOV Wednesday. Tyus didn’t get back in touch with KMOV in time for comment.