Lyda Krewson

Lyda Krewson (born November 14, 1953) is an American Democratic politician who is the 46th and current mayor of St. Louis, Missouri.[1] She is St. Louis's first female mayor, elected in 2017.

Lyda Krewson
Lyda Krewson (325034).jpg
46th Mayor of St. Louis
Assumed office
April 18, 2017
Preceded byFrancis Slay
Personal details
Born (1953-11-14) November 14, 1953 (age 66)
Davenport, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jeff Krewson (Deceased 1995)
Mike Owens (m. 1998)
EducationTruman State University (BA)
University of Missouri, St. Louis (BS)

From 1997 to 2017, Krewson served as the alderman of St. Louis's 28th ward.[2]

Early life

Born on November 14, 1953,[3] near Davenport, Iowa, Krewson moved with her family to St. Joseph, Missouri, and Fairfield, Illinois, before settling in Moberly, Missouri, where she graduated from high school. In 1974 she graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) with a degree in psychology and a special education minor.[4]

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.[2][5]

In 1988 she married Jeff Krewson, an architect.[6] He was murdered in an attempted carjacking in front of their Central West End house in 1995; she and their two young children were also in the car.[6][7] The killer was later sentenced to Life Without Parole.[8] In 1998, Krewson married local news anchor Mike Owens.[5]

Krewson is a Certified Public Accountant.[3] She worked for Deloitte for 7 years,[5] and served as the Chief Financial Officer of PGAV, an international design and planning firm.[3]

Political career

While alderman of St. Louis's 28th ward, Krewson took out a home equity loan in 2003 to help fund an unsuccessful campaign against Missouri's concealed carry law, which passed. In 2011, she led the city's successful effort to pass a smoking ban.[9] 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.[10]

With the retirement of four-term mayor Francis Slay, Krewson entered a crowded seven-way 2017 Democratic primary, the real contest in this heavily Democratic city (St. Louis has not elected a Republican mayor since 1949). She won the March 7 primary against Tishaura Jones, Lewis E. Reed, Antonio French, and others with 32% of the vote, just 879 votes ahead of Jones. In the general election on April 4, she defeated Republican candidate Andrew Jones with 67% of the vote,[11] becoming the first female chief executive in the city's history. She took office on April 18.

St. Louis Mayor, General Election 2017[12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lyda Krewson 39,471 67.53
Republican Andrew Jones Jr. 10,112 17.30
Independent Larry Rice 6,126 10.48
Green Johnathan McFarland 1,241 2.14
Libertarian Robert Cunningham 515 0.88
Independent Tyrone Austin 241 0.41
N/A Write-in Votes 737 1.26

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.[13] 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.[14]

A legal battle initiated by Francis Slay's administration against Larry Rice's New Life Evangelistic Center homeless shelter came to a close in April 2017, early in Krewson's mayoralty, allowing the city to close the shelter, which provided temporary housing for up to 150 people. The city-owned Biddle House shelter expanded to provide beds for 50 more people.[15] At least two people died in the streets without housing the following winter.[16]

Crime prevention

In August 2019, Krewson agreed to sponsor a one-year contract with Cure Violence in response to community pressure and an 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 E. Reed told reporters that he supported additional funding for the program.[17]

In April, Comptroller Darlene Green raised the issue of the local medium-security prison known as the St Louis Workhouse causing violence, advocating that Krewson move to close it.[18] 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 heat wave and large protests were staged outside the fence. The city responded by installing temporary air conditioning units.[19]

Facebook Live controversy

In a public briefing broadcast live on Facebook on June 26, 2020, Krewson read aloud the names and addresses of multiple constituents, including a minor, who had signed a petition in favor of budgetary changes that involved redirecting all the money spent on the police department to social services, affordable housing and Cure Violence.[20] She apologized later that day and removed the post after protesters showed up at her house.[21] The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri released a statement condemning her actions, saying "[i]t serves no apparent purpose beyond intimidation."[22]

After the Facebook Live incident, local activist and drag performer Maxi Glamour created a petition calling for Krewson's resignation that collected more than 30,000 signatures in two days.[23] A demonstration demanding Krewson's resignation, the closure of St. Louis Workhouse, and defunding the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department traveled through the Central West End neighborhood to Krewson's residence. During the march, many demonstrators passed through a broken or open gate into a private neighborhood, where they had a gun & rifle pointed at them by residents of Portland Place.[24]


  1. ^ Krewson cruises to a historic victory in St. Louis to win mayor's office
  2. ^ a b About Lyda Krewson
  3. ^ a b c "Krewson, Lyda". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  4. ^ Duggan, Eileen (17 June 2011). "BALANCING ACT Lyda Krewson finds time for family, career and public service as alderman of the 28th Ward". West End Word. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Lyda Krewson, Mayor". St. Louis MO. City of Saint Louis. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b Sorkin, Michael D. (25 March 1995). "Quiet Night out Ends in Death". St Louis Post-Dispatch.
  7. ^ Schafer, Ed (March 24, 1995). "Suspect in Fatal Carjacking Was Wearing Electronic Ankle Shackle". AP NEWS.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Addo, Koran (5 Apr 2017). "Krewson cruises to a historic victory in St. Louis to win mayor's office". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Lyda Krewson, Mayor". St. Louis MO. City of Saint Louis. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Democrat Lyda Krewson declares victory in St. Louis mayoral race". 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  12. ^ "Lyda Krewson - Ballotpedia". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Real Change Campaign". Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative. Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  14. ^ Randall, Clark (Jan 27, 2017). "The real on Lyda Krewson and homelessness". St. Louis American. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  15. ^ Davis, Elliott (2018-02-21). "Taxpayers shelled out nearly $500K to expand services for the homeless in the City of St. Louis". Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  16. ^ Lippmann, Rachel. "St. Louis will boost the number of beds at its emergency homeless shelter this winter". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  17. ^ Rice, Rachel (Aug 23, 2019). "St. Louis mayor calls for emergency launch of violence prevention program". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  18. ^ Messenger, Tony (Aug 26, 2019). "Messenger: Want to help cure violence in St. Louis? Close the Workhouse". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  19. ^ Hidalgo, Carolina (Jul 3, 2018). "Activists launch campaign to close the Workhouse, reduce St. Louis jail population". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  20. ^ "St. Louis Mayor Broadcasts Names, Addresses of Citizens Calling for Police Reform". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2020-06-27.
  21. ^ "Mayor Lyda Krewson". Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  22. ^ Acevedo, Nicole (June 27, 2020). "St. Louis mayor slammed for broadcasting names, addresses of 'defund the police' supporters". NBC News. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  23. ^ Coronel, Justina (June 28, 2020). "After naming protesters wanting to defund police, thousands petition for the resignation of St. Louis mayor". Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  24. ^ Curtis, Ramona; Hurwitz, Sophie (Jun 29, 2020). "Hundreds march through CWE on Sunday to demand resignation of Mayor Lyda Krewson, couple points guns at protestors". St. Louis American. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Slay
Mayor of St. Louis