The climate crisis is the greatest existential threat to our civilization and requires bold action from the local to the national level. In St. Louis City, environmental racism has a direct impact on the quality of life, including life expectancy. As a member of the Democratic National Committee, Megan fought to have a Climate Debate so that this crisis could be given the national attention it deserves. As Alderwoman, Megan has co-sponsored legislation to require new construction projects to be solar-ready, and legislation to update our building codes. At the Board of Aldermen, Megan is a member of the “Green Caucus,” which focuses on sustainability issues.
Moving forward, Megan supports requiring the meeting of sustainable building standards for building projects in the City of St. Louis in order to receive tax incentives. Additionally, Megan supports a comprehensive city-wide streets plan, the creation of Bus Rapid Transit, and the creation of the North/South Metrolink so as to cut down on carbon emissions created by our car-centric city.
Megan has spent most of her adult life being a champion for our children and believes in the Ferguson Commission’s Call-to-Action that we must place our youth at the center of our decision making. Megan holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University, and recently completed her PhD in Educational Leadership – Policy Emphasis, also from St. Louis University. Through her work at Lemay Child and Family Center and ChildCare Aware of Missouri, she saw first-hand the difference that having access to high-quality early childhood education can make in our children. In fact, 80% of brain development occurs before age three and every dollar that is invested in early childhood education results in $8 of future savings. As a daughter of two public school teachers and as a product of public schools herself, Megan understands the need to protect our public school system from privatization. As a member of the Board of Aldermen, Megan has been one of the most vocal critics of our broken tax incentives system that diverts needed resources from our public schools.
Moving forward, Megan supports the call-to-action from the St. Louis Public Schools Board of Education to reform our broken tax incentive system that diverts needed resources from St. Louis Public Schools and a moratorium on new schools until a city-wide plan for education can be created in partnership with SLPS. Megan also supports adding representatives from the St. Louis Public Schools District to LCRA, to give the district a say over the allocation of tax incentives, as well as the expanding the Special School District (SSD) into St. Louis City.
With public trust in government at all time lows, it is more important than ever that we implement campaign finance and ethics reforms to restore trust. In 2018, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly supported CLEAN Missouri, which enacted fair redistricting and campaign finance laws. While these reforms were repealed in 2020, residents in the City of St. Louis overwhelmingly voted to keep them in place. These reforms still can, and should be, implemented at the local level. As a member of the Board of Aldermen, Megan co-sponsored legislation to lower campaign finance limits and sponsored legislation to limit the impact of lobbying in our local government.
Without legislative changes, the next Board of Aldermen will oversee the reduction of the Board of Aldermen from 28 wards to 14 wards. Megan supports ward reduction, opposes efforts to repeal ward reduction, and believes that an independent citizen-led commission, not politicians, should draw the new ward boundary lines.
Last, with the move to all virtual meetings during the pandemic, Megan supports changing the rules of the Board of Aldermen to create greater transparency by requiring an opportunity for public comment on all Board bills before they leave committee. Additionally, all handouts and attachments given to members of the Board of Aldermen at hearings must be published online.
Megan believes that all people should have access to high quality, affordable healthcare, including mental healthcare and reproductive healthcare, no matter where they live or how much money they make. In St. Louis City, healthcare disparities fall along racial lines, with the City having Black infant and maternal mortality rates that rival developing nations. Megan has been a long-time advocate of abortion rights, passing legislation at the local level to protect access to abortion and fighting to include abortion rights in the Missouri Democratic Party platform. As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee at the Board of Alderman, Megan has been on the frontlines of our City’s Healthcare response. Megan supports increased funding for the Health Department and looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the new Mayor on vaccine distribution.
Megan believes that all people deserve access to safe, affordable housing regardless of zipcode. The City of St. Louis is rapidly building new housing, yet over 80% of new housing is considered luxury, making affordable housing out of reach for more and more people in the City of St. Louis. The lack of affordable housing has become a great concern in the 15th Ward as well. The lack of new affordable housing has been compounded by the Missouri Low Income Housing Tax Credit program being put on pause. At the same time, the City of St. Louis has over 100,000 renters, and Missouri has some of the most lax renter protections in the United States, making it difficult for renters to hold landlords accountable for not fixing their properties.
Now that the Missouri Low Income Housing Tax Credit program is operational again, Megan looks forward to implementing proposals for affordable and low-income senior housing in the 15th Ward. With the closure of Fanning Middle School by St. Louis Public School District in the fall of 2021, Megan is also committed to working with St. Louis Public Schools and our community to determine the best use for the building.
As someone who rented for nearly 10 years before she was able to afford to buy a home, Megan understands intimately the challenges faced by renters who have negligent landlords. As such, Megan supports Implementing a Tenant’s Bill of Rights that prohibits landlords from refusing a tenant solely on the basis of past evictions, race, gender identity, and other non-discrimination rules, and provides greater protections for renters who are living in unsafe conditions.
Megan also believes that we must reign in tax incentive abuse at the Board of Aldermen. She supports the creation of a city-wide plan for development that specifically details what areas of our city are eligible for what type of tax incentives.
Last, as a lifelong advocate for our unhoused community, Megan supports Homeless Bill of Rights legislation to ensure that homeless individuals are not criminalized for lack of housing and that they have access to quality services, as well as increased funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which funds homeless services.
In recent years, basic human rights have been under attack in Missouri. From the passage of SB 43, which makes it easier for employers in our state to discriminate, to prohibition of DACA recipients from accessing in-state tuition rates at public universities, to the fact that Missouri continually ranks among the lowest states in the nation for protections for our LGBTQIA+ community, it is clear that we have a lot of work to do to create a state that is inclusive for all people who live here. That means we have to act locally to protect our most marginalized communities.
As Alderwoman, Megan co-sponsored legislation to ban conversion therapy and sponsored resoutions to support immigration into St. Louis. Megan believes that we need to decriminalize sex work in our City to improve public health and public safety, which is one of the calls-to-action of the National LGBTQ Taskforce. Additionally, Megan believes that immigrants are vital to the success of the 15th Ward and the City of St. Louis and opposes any efforts of our local government to coordinate with ICE.
Megan has been a long-time criminal justice reform advocate, introducing legislation to bring the City of St. Louis’ use-of-force policies regarding First Amendment rights into compliance with the Ferguson Commission recommendations and two Federal Injunctions against the City. Additionally, Megan, since its inception, has been at the forefront of the campaign to Close the Workhouse.
As a Board Member with Local Progress, Megan co-facilitated a national working group of local elected officials to develop a policy tool-kit for criminal justice reform. Megan has been a long-time advocate of drug reform and the legalization of adult use of marijuana. As an employee at Shalom House, Megan has worked personally with chronically homeless individuals with mental illness and substance abuse, experiencing first-hand how our criminal justice system often does not support the most vulnerable members of our community. Megan believes that we need public safety solutions that prevent crime, build trust between police and our community, and keep people out of the criminal justice system.
As Alderwoman, Megan is committed to ending the costly and ineffective War on Drugs, to legalizing the adult use Marijuana, to expunging the records of those with past marijuana convictions, and to investing revenues from legalization in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. Megan also commits to working with the Circuit Attorney and advocacy groups to eliminate predatory cash bail systems which keep people who are legally innocent, and too poor to afford bail, in jail while they await trial. Megan will continue to work to Close the Workhouse and reallocate cost savings into proven programs that address the root causes of crime.
Megan also believes that to create safer communities we must invest in public safety beyond policing. Safe communities can be created through investments in programs, such as Cure Violence, which seek to address the root causes of crime. Megan also supports the expansion of the Cops and Clinicians program to also address issues associated with poverty, drug addiction, and abuse.
Megan has been a lifelong advocate for working people. She was raised in a union household by a mom who was President of her local Teachers’ Union, New York State United Teachers – NYSUT (NEA, AFL-CIO, AFT Affiliate) and a father who was a member of United University Professors. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Washington University in St. Louis, Megan is a member of Washington University Graduate Workers Union, an affiliate of SEIU Local 1. Megan previously worked with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 on efforts to stop so-called Right to Work laws. As Alderwoman, Megan was instrumental in the passage of legislation to raise the minimum wage in the City of St. Louis, successfully fought to get janitors in St. Louis a raise and a fair contract, and is committed to paying all of her campaign staff at least $15 per hour. Megan was also a co-sponsor of the prevailing wage legislation in the City of St. Louis, and worked hand-in-hand with workers in St. Louis to stop the privatization of Lambert St. Louis International Airport.
Despite these successes, there is still work to do for workers in our City. Megan is committed to legislation that requires labor-peace agreements for all projects receiving tax incentives from the City of St. Louis. Megan also believes that those seeking tax subsidies from the City of St. Louis should be required to pay $15 an hour to employees to be eligible for tax breaks. In addition, Megan also supports paid family leave for City workers. Last, Megan is committed to fighting any future efforts to privatize municipal assets and services, including, but not limited to, the airport, refuse department, and water department, and supports a requirement that any privatization of St. Louis City assets must be approved by voters before being implemented.