Lyda Krewson | Srivideo
Born/Date: November 14, 1953
Place of Birth: Davenport, Iowa, United States
Political party: Democratic
Spouse(s): Jeff Krewson (Deceased 1995)
Mike Owens (m. 1998)
Education: Truman State University (BA)
University of Missouri, St. Louis (BS)
Lyda Krewson (born November 14, 1953) is an American Democratic politician who is the 46th and current Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri. Between 1997 and 2017, she served as the alderman of St. Louis's 28th ward. She is the first female mayor of St. Louis.
In 2017, Krewson won the St. Louis mayoral election, winning the March 7 Democratic primary against Tishaura Jones, Lewis Reed, Antonio French, and others. She won the general election on April 4, and took office on April 18.
After graduating from Truman State University with a degree in education, Krewson moved to St. Louis where she earned an accounting degree at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
As the alderman of St. Louis's 28th ward, in 2003, Krewson took out a home equity loan to help fund an unsuccessful campaign against Missouri's concealed carry law, which was passed. In 2011, she led the city's successful effort to pass a smoking ban. Krewson served as the Chairman of the Board of Aldermen's Transportation & Commerce Committee. Previously she served as the chairman of the Ways & Means, Convention & Tourism, and Parks & Environment committees.
With the retirement of four-term mayor Francis Slay, Krewson entered a crowded seven-way Democratic primary–the real contest in this heavily Democratic city. St. Louis has not elected a Republican mayor since 1949. She won with 32 percent of the vote, finishing just 879 votes ahead of the runner-up, City Treasurer Tishaura Jones.
In the general election, she defeated Republican candidate Andrew Jones with 67 percent of the vote, becoming the first female chief executive in the city's history.
Panhandling and homelessness
Krewson worked to reduce panhandling in the Central West End (CWE) neighborhood by introducing the REAL Change Program, which encourages social services for those in need. The program was attached to an ordinance to criminalize panhandling. During the 2017 mayoral campaign, The St. Louis American criticized the program, arguing that Krewson did not understand the factors behind poverty and homelessness.
A legal battle initiated by Francis Slay's administration against Larry Rice's New Life Evangelistic Center homeless shelter came to a close April 2017, early in Krewson's tenure as mayor, allowing the city to close the shelter that provided temporary housing for up to 150 people. The city owned Biddle House shelter expanded to provide beds for 50 more people. At least two people died in the streets without housing the following winter.
In August 2019, Krewson agreed to sponsor a one year contract with Cure Violence in response to community pressure and increased city murder rate. Previous measures from Krewson's administration had focused on increasing policing, while Cure Violence trains civilians in crisis intervention and community based solutions. Aldermanic President Lewis Reed told reporters that he supports additional funding for the program.
In April, Comptroller Darlene Green raised the issue of local medium security prison known as the Workhouse as a cause to city violence, advocating that Krewson move to close the facility. Advocates and activists have campaigned for the Workhouse's closure, citing inhumane conditions and criminalization of poverty. The city was sued in 2017 after people incarcerated in the Workhouse were heard screaming for help during a heatwave and large protests were staged outside the fence. The city responded by installing temporary air conditioning units.
In a public briefing on June 26, 2020, Krewson read the names and addresses of multiple constituents who had signed a petition in favor of law enforcement reform.
Born near Davenport, Iowa, Krewson moved with her family to St. Joseph, Missouri and Fairfield, Illinois before settling in Moberly, Missouri where she graduated high school. In 1974 she graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) with a degree in psychology and a special education minor.
In 1995 Krewson's husband, Jeff Krewson, was murdered in an attempted carjacking in front of their house. In 1998, she married local news anchor Mike Owens.
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