Cara Spencer

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Cara Spencer
Cara Spencer crop.jpg
Member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen
from the 20th Ward
Assumed office
April 2015
Preceded byCraig Schmid
Personal details
Born (1978-09-11) September 11, 1978 (age 43)
Political partyDemocratic
EducationTruman State University (BS)
CommitteesHealth and Human Services Committee, Chair

Cara Spencer (born September 11, 1978) is an American politician from the state of Missouri. Since 2015, Spencer has served on the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis representing Ward 20, which is located in South St. Louis and includes the neighborhoods of Dutchtown, Gravois Park, Marine Villa, and Mount Pleasant.[1] She is a candidate in the 2021 St. Louis mayoral election.

Early life and education[edit]

Spencer grew up in South St. Louis City and St. Louis County. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Truman State University.[1]


Prior to becoming an elected official, Spencer did mathematical modeling for the St. Louis-based company Tessellon.[2]

Spencer was first elected to the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis in April 2015 after defeating incumbent Craig Schmid, who had held the seat for two decades, in the Democratic primary election. She then defeated independent candidate Stephen Jehle and Green Party candidate Vickie Ingram in the general election.[3][4][5]

Upon taking office, Spencer worked to allocate resources to reopen the closed Marquette Swimming Pool, the largest outdoor public pool in the city of St. Louis, for the 2015 summer season.[6]

During her first term in office she was the primary sponsor of legislation which; enacted stricter campaign finance laws,[7][8] imposed stricter air pollution standards than state requirements on asbestos in demolitions,[9][10] required absentee landlords to pay fines for building code violations,[11] imposed fines on payday lending operators,[12] and protects victims of drug overdose by enacting the 1st municipal good Samaritan law in the US, granting immunity to drug possession charges to anyone calling 911 for help during an overdose.[13]

Spencer worked with fellow alderman Chris Carter III to co-develop and implement the "mow-to-own" program allowing residents to obtain an adjacent city-owned lot by mowing it for one year.[14]

In 2016, an ethics complaint was filed against Spencer by attorney Jane Dueker, alleging that Spencer failed to disclose a personal financial interest related to legislation she introduced regulating payday lending. The case was dismissed.[15]

Spencer was re-elected in 2019 receiving 70% of the vote in the primary election and 96% of the vote in the general election.[5]

Spencer helped stop the St. Louis Lambert International Airport from being privatized.[16][17][18] In August 2020, Spencer was the target of a petition to recall her from her position as Alderwoman. The petition was organized by Metropolitan Strategies and Solution, a consulting firm that supported privatization efforts.[19][20]

Spencer serves as the chair of the aldermanic Health and Human Services Committee for the city of St. Louis.[21][22]

2021 St. Louis mayoral campaign[edit]

On January 13, 2020, Spencer announced her intention to run for mayor of St. Louis in 2021.[23][3][1][24] In her announcement, she told KWMU, "St. Louis is uniquely poised to be the next fastest-growing city. We are a great old city, but we’re broken in a lot of ways, and I’m running for mayor to fix that."

The 2021 election will be the city's first to use approval voting.[25][26]

On February 17, 2021, Spencer, along with Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, were endorsed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board in a joint endorsement as voters could now select more than one candidate in the primary election.[27] Spencer was also endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Advocates of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri and former St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl.[25][28][29]

Spencer, alongside Tishaura Jones, advanced to the general election after the primary on March 2.[30][31][32] Spencer was one of two candidates to advance using the novel approval voting system in St. Louis.[33]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kevin S. Held (13 Jan 2020). "Alderwoman Cara Spencer to challenge Mayor Lyda Krewson in 2021 primary". Fox2Now. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  2. "Cara Spencer Ward 20 Alderwoman". St. Louis Government Website. 13 Jan 2020. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Danny Wicentowski (13 Jan 2020). "St. Louis Alderwoman Cara Spencer First to Challenge Krewson for Mayor". River Front Times. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  4. "Election Summary Report March 3, 2015" (PDF). St. Louis Government Website. 9 Mar 2015. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Cara Spencer on Ballotpedia". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  6. "St. Louis' largest outdoor public pool reopens and highlights diversity". St. Louis Public Radio. 2015-06-13. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  7. Kirn, Jacob. "City aldermen eye campaign finance reforms amid Stenger probe". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  8. "Board Bill". Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  9. "Ordinance Details". Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  10. Arrighi, Jeanine (2019-08-27). "Easy West Gateway Council of Governments Air Quality Advisory Committee" (PDF). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Fenske, Sarah. "'McKee Exemption' Scrapped by Board of Aldermen in Unanimous Vote". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  12. "After months of delay, aldermen give initial approval to restrictions on payday lenders". St. Louis Public Radio. 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  13. Murphy, Doyle. "'Good Samaritan' Law Bars St. Louis Cops from Arresting Drug Users Who Call 911 for Overdoses". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  14. Doyle Murphy (14 Dec 2015). "Here's a New Plan for Overgrown St. Louis Lots: Mow to Own". River Front Times. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  15. Koran Addo (11 Oct 2016). "Ethics complaint against St. Louis alderman dismissed". St. Louis Today. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  16. Mark Schlinkmann (21 Dec 2019). "St. Louis airport privatization effort is dead, Krewson says". St. Louis Today. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  17. Schlinkmann, Mark. "St. Louis airport privatization saga continues at Board of Aldermen". Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  18. Schlinkmann, Mark. "Lambert privatization plan yanked from Nov. 3 St. Louis ballot". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  19. Schlinkmann, Mark. "Petition drive launched to put recall of Alderman Cara Spencer on Nov. 3 ballot". Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  20. "Supporters of Lambert Airport Privatization tries to recall their main critic on the Board of Aldermen". FOX 2. 2020-08-10. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  21. American, Rebecca Rivas Of The St Louis. "City aldermen question whether city's contact tracing program can keep up now with stay-at-home orders lifted". St. Louis American. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  22. "Aldermanic Committee". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  23. Nassim Benchaabane (13 Jan 2020). "Alderman Cara Spencer running for mayor of St. Louis". St. Louis Today. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  24. Jason Rosenbaum; Jo Mannies (13 Jan 2020). "Politically Speaking: Alderman Spencer on entering the fray at the Board of Aldermen". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved 21 Feb 2020.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri". Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  26. Nathaniel Rakich (1 Mar 2021). "In St. Louis, Voters Will Get To Vote For As Many Candidates As They Want". Five Thirty Eight. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  27. Board, the Editorial. "Editorial: We recommend Lewis Reed and Cara Spencer in the St. Louis mayoral primary". Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  28. Bogan, Jesse. "'A whole bunch of history': Two progressives in St. Louis mayor's race get support from the past". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  29. Dana Rieck (28 Feb 2021). "With primary around the corner, mayoral candidate endorsements pile up". St. Louis American. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  30. "St. Louis City". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  31. Doyle Murphy (2 Mar 2021). "Tishaura Jones, Cara Spencer Moving Forward in St. Louis Mayor's Race". River Front Times. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  32. "Tishaura Jones, Cara Spencer advance to general election in St. Louis Mayor's race". KMOV4. 3 Mar 2021. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  33. Colin Jeffery (8 Mar 2021). "St. Louis mayoral race poll shows Jones, Spencer in statistical tie". KSDK. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Craig Schmid
Member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen
from the 20th Ward


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