Ferguson elects Ella Jones as its first Black mayor
City Councilwoman wins election with only 138 more votes; opponent vows to support new mayor despite narrow results
In a historic election on Tuesday, voters in Ferguson, Missouri have elected their first female mayor and their first Black mayor in Ella Jones.
A member of the city council in the St. Louis suburb, Jones defeated her fellow council member, Heather Robinett, by only 138 votes. Robinett will remain on the Ferguson City Council. After her defeat, the two candidates hugged and Robinett told Jones, “We need to heal, and I am there for you.”
In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio Jones said, “People from the seniors to the young people understand that my goal is for us to be one — for us to work together.”
Jones was elected after the shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014 in a wave of new energy in the city. On Ferguson’s city council, Jones helped work out a consent decree with the federal government that required the city to change its police department.
“A lot of times we’re considered as ground zero,” Jones said of the city which was the site of massive protests in 2014, “But it’s just heartbreaking,” Jones emphasized that “Racism is just apparent all over the country now. It has reared its head again. So we’ve got to work to try and bring people together, work together and try to make this a better community for all of us.”
There have been protests in the city in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Jones hopes to meet with the Department of Justice to come up with a plan of action to continue to address racial disparities in the municipality.
Ferguson has a population of over 20,000 and is over 60% of the people in the city are Black. As the first Black woman to be elected to the city, Jones stated that the city has undergone major changes since 2014.
Jones was previously a sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics.
“I know that the people of Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community,” Jones said, “and we’re going to work together to get it done.”
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