MEET HEATHER NAVARRO
I am running for alderwoman because I love this community. St. Louis has been a wonderful place for me to live and raise a family. I want everyone here to feel that way. We have a lot of work to do as a city and I will bring my experience as a neighbor, a mom, and a community advocate to work hard for the 28th ward and the city of St. Louis.
I’ve lived in the 28th ward for 14 years, raising my children and serving my community. I moved to St. Louis in 1997 and the Central West End in 2003. It's where I bought my first house and started raising my children, and it's where I fell in love with St. Louis. I moved to the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood last summer. It’s where my children have been attending school for the past 9 years so it immediately felt like home, too.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a law degree from Washington University. Between undergraduate and law school I volunteered in Guatemala and then started a family. As a young woman new to motherhood, I craved community so I sought it out everywhere my stroller could reach. I worked with other parents in the neighborhood to organize playgroups, holiday parties, and discussion panels on educational options. Questions about where to send our kids to school and what to do about crime came up over and over. I made it my mission to greet every young parent I saw in the neighborhood, whether they were getting groceries, standing at the bus stop, or walking sleepy-eyed behind a stroller. A few of us started a nonprofit, Central West End Families and Friends, with the mission of attracting and keeping families in the neighborhood. We helped develop Samuel Kennedy Park, a small parcel of land at the northern edge of the neighborhood for families to gather.
I became an ambassador of sorts for the CWE. When St. Louis Kids Magazine wanted to feature seven family-friendly neighborhoods, they put the CWE on the front cover with a picture of my family at Kennedy Park. When the BBC wanted to do a story about the disparity surrounding Delmar, they interviewed me about my experience as a white woman living near the “Delmar Divide.” I’ve walked with local reporters up and down Euclid sharing my enthusiasm for the neighborhood.
In my professional life, I have practiced law as a civil rights attorney, representing parents of children with special needs, Medicaid recipients, and victims of discrimination. I then received the opportunity to run a statewide environmental advocacy organization. For the past four years I have been the executive director at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE). I am passionate about the environment because I care about people and believe that everyone, no matter their income, race, or age, should enjoy clean air, water, and open space. I believe in planning for the long-term and, despite whatever obstacles arise, persevering to do what is right for my community.
We have a lot of work to do as a city and we have to face head-on issues of racial equity and social justice while maintaining and improving our extraordinary community. I believe in addressing the underlying threats to the public interest and I will bring my experience as a neighbor, a mom, and a community advocate to work hard for the 28th ward and the city of St. Louis.
First and foremost, I’m here to serve my neighbors and community. I will carry forward the culture established in this ward of attentive and responsive leadership. I will work hard to maintain the trajectory of progress that has made this community a wonderful place to live, own a business, and raise a family.
To address the day-to-day safety of our community, we need to address the root causes of crime. I want everyone who lives, works, or visits here to feel safe and welcome. To be a safe and welcoming community, we have to embrace our role in the context of the entire city. This means addressing the difficult issues of education, employment, and poverty.
Development is critical. We have to balance the development that drives growth in the city with ample community benefits. I believe in leveraging city resources in a way that lifts up the entire community.
Why are you running for Alderwoman of the 28th ward?
I love this community. St. Louis has been a wonderful place for me to live, work, and raise a family and I want everyone here to feel the same. In order for that to be true, we have a lot of work to do as a city and I will bring my experience as a neighbor, a mom, and an advocate to work hard for the 28th Ward and the city of St. Louis. We are at a pivotal time where the decisions we make over the next few years will shape the next fifty. I will bring a progressive, forward-thinking perspective rooted in the grassroots community.
What experience do you bring to the position?
The most important experience I bring is 14 years connecting to the people who live and work in the 28th Ward. I co-founded CWE Families and Friends, an organization dedicated to reaching out to new families, holding events to build community and raise awareness of education and safety issues, and redeveloping Samuel Kennedy Park. My neighbors in the Central West End and Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhoods know me as someone who pitches in when someone needs help, an active parent volunteer, and an advocate for those who need support.
I also bring my professional background as an attorney practicing civil rights law and the executive director of a statewide non-profit. I have experience representing parents of children with special needs, victims of race and disability discrimination, and medicaid recipients who couldn’t access basic services and supplies. I represented my clients in mediation, administrative hearings, and in federal court. For the past four years I have been the executive director at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a statewide non-profit focused on protecting the environment and public health through education, advocacy, and legal action.
What do you think are the most important issues facing the ward? What do you think are the most important issues facing St. Louis?
The 28th Ward thrives when St. Louis thrives. Our continued success depends on fostering a safe and welcoming community and expanding and pairing development opportunities with tangible community benefits. As a city and a region, we must confront racial inequity in everything and analyze the impacts of every decision for how it either perpetuates or heals racial injustice.
When you say you support equitable development, what does that mean?
Development is important for growth and expanding economic opportunity. When making decisions about zoning or incentives, we should leverage city resources to ensure that economic benefits reach the communities that need them most. One example of equitable development would be crafting a community benefits agreement that delivers much-needed services to the community that otherwise might not receive them.
What are the safety issues facing our ward and the city? How will you address them?
Gun violence is tearing apart families and communities while car break-ins and petty theft are driving people out of the city. Safe communities start with strong relationships. I will work to connect neighbors and organizations and to build trust between law enforcement and the community. I will go beyond treating symptoms and collaborate with others to create opportunities for youth, confront racial injustice and economic disparity, and address addiction and trauma.
How will you address the tensions around race and racial justice in our city?
I will work towards a more unified St. Louis, starting by further analyzing the role my own privilege has played in division and understanding other perspectives about how racial injustice has been perpetrated throughout the region. I will ask tough questions about how our past and present decisions on everything from zoning to parks and recreation impact racial disparities. I will be intentional about crossing virtual and actual racial divides and partnering with individuals and organizations who are creating opportunities for healing and reconciliation.
Do you support greater city-county collaboration? Where do you see that collaboration happening?
Our region is fractured in many ways. This fracturing has created inefficiencies in government and disparity in basic services and opportunities. In order for collaboration to be successful we have to start by identifying the strengths that the city and county each bring to the table and be intentional about three things: 1) taking care of people in the process, specifically the people who have dedicated their careers to public service, 2) preserving and enhancing citizen engagement and responsive representation, and 3) ensuring that every community benefits from a stronger region.
VOTE - Tuesday, July 11
The following information is provided by the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. Click here to learn more.
The July 11 election for 28th Ward alderman is the first election in the state in which the new voter ID law applies. To vote:
- Provide a Missouri issued Driver or Non-Driver license, U.S. Passport, or Military ID OR
- Provide a secondary form of identification, such as a paycheck or bank statement and sign a statement confirming their identity OR
- If the voter has no form of identification, but is a registered voter, they may cast a provisional ballot
Missouri’s photo voter ID law also requires the state of Missouri to assist voters who might not have a photo ID with the process of obtaining one free Missouri non-driver license for the purpose of voting.
Voter Registration Deadline
June 14, 2017 is the last day to register for this election.
June 12, 2017 is the day absentee voting begins.
July 5, 2017 is the last day to request an absentee ballot.
July 10, 2017 is the last day to vote absentee in person.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
The following have endorsed Heather Navarro for 28th Ward Alderwoman
Mayor Lyda Krewson
Democratic Central Committee
St. Louis Young Democrats
Sierra Club, Missouri Chapter
28th Ward Democratic Committee
Art Perry, 28th Ward Committeeman
Gail Farwell, 28th Ward Committeewoman
Senator Joan Bray
Representative Susan Carlson
Representative Tracy McCreery
Alderman Dan Guenther
Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
Alderwoman Sarah Martin
Alderman Scott Ogilvie
Alderwoman Cara Spencer
Dan McGuire, former 28th Ward Alderman
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