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Jul 2001 / church and state :: email this story to a friend

Reflections of the
Newly Elected

By Jennifer Florida

Jennifer Florida

On April 17th, 2001, 9:00 a.m., I presented my credentials to the Committee on Credentials. To Whom it May Concern, Know Ye, That we, The Board of Election Commissioners, in and for the City of St. Louis, Missouri do certify that Jennifer Florida received the highest number of votes cast at the election held on the 3rd Day of April, 2001, for the office of Alderman Ward 15. Upon the committee's approval, my credentials were accepted and I with 14 other aldermen were enrolled and sworn in. We were crowded in the Ray Leisure Conference Room 208, outside the Board of Aldermen, Room 220, City Hall. At 10:00 a.m., we were again sworn in by Judge Garvey in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Chambers.

The experience was surreal. So much of that day is difficult to put into words. I felt relieved, excited. I still look at my nameplate on my desk in the Chambers... on my office door, in wonderment... I am the 15th Ward Alderwoman. What I mostly remember was the excitement of the day. My grandmother, parents, in-laws, husband, children, campaign team, priest, well wishers were all there... all mushed together in that large Board Room. We packed in tightly, along with the families of the other Aldermen, as well. I knew that I had begun a new phase in my life. I felt so thankful for the opportunity just to be there.

Now, I am driven. I feel comfortably uncomfortable with my new responsibilities. I have two responsibilities as a new alderman: making sound decisions for the 15th Ward and the City of St. Louis. The pace of an Alderman is pretty hectic. So much to do in so little time, so many phone calls. My focus of the last two months has been threefold: getting organized (community-based planning processes), working on major development projects (Gravois Plaza, South Side National Bank) and assessing problem properties. I would like to make a case that an Alderman wears many hats. An Alderman works on generating economic development as well as implementing housing initiatives. An Alderman is responsible for the capital improvements in the ward and public health and safety issues. It is a job that comes with many roles for one person. I suppose there was a time when an Alderman was mostly a legislator. Today an Alderman/woman has the opportunity to make a difference in so many ways.

I love my new job.

Jennifer Florida is the Alderwoman for the 15th Ward of the City of St. Louis.

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