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“I was tired of the crime and all the issues that I thought could be changed, if you had the proper leadership in play,” Republican-hopeful Andrew Jones told Fox News digital.
Jones, a businessman and father of two, filed to run in the 1st Congressional District on February 22nd in Jefferson City.
Jones, who is married and grew up in St. Louis, said residents in Bush’s district feel as though there is “no hope.” He added there are more criminals and “people who want to be anti-citizens” that have been “more emboldened” since Bush took office in 2020.
Raised in East St. Louis, the candidate claimed there is nothing political leadership has done to address St. Louis’ high crime rate.
“You see crime escalating. It’s growing. The philosophy of doing what you want to do and not fit in is absolutely growing here in the metropolitan area. Even though the city of Saint Louis talks about there is a reduction in murders, and things of that nature, but we know that those numbers are somewhat fabricated,” said Jones, vowing he will make it a part of his campaign to question the statistics.
In 2020, St. Louis saw a record high of murders in over 50 years, an unprecedented record in the wake of a growing push to defund the police. The city recorded 263 homicides according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system. In 2021, that number fell 26% to 195, a return to its average rate over the past five years.
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, St. Louis’s homicide rate led the nation’s big cities from 2015-2020. After St. Louis’ crime rate soared to its highest ever, the city’s mayor Tishaura Jones was elected after vowing to enact progressive criminal justice reforms.
The police-involved killing of George Floyd in 2020 sparked a national phenomenon to push a defunding of the police and criminal justice reform in major cities.
At the forefront of the “Defund Police” movement was Black Lives Matter activist Bush.
The progressive “Squad” member has remained committed to defunding the police despite growing Democrats’ concerns over the political consequences. Bush recently indicated she is refusing to back away from the “defund the police” slogan even if it hurts Democrats politically.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Dana Bash asked Bush to weigh in on the backlash she’s received since she told CBS News last week that “defunding the police has to happen,” so people should “suck it up.”
“Could those comments end up being hurtful to your fellow Democrats, politically speaking?” Bash asked the congresswoman.
Bush responded, “I think what we have to look at is the fact that I made it to Congress in 2020, and we’re still fighting this same fight. We’re still fighting to save Black lives. That work was not done before I got here.”
President Biden spoke against defunding police amid the crime surge at his State of the Union address.
Jones, 61, said that he “disagrees” with Bush’s push to defund the police, arguing an overwhelming majority of African-Americans in St. Louis want proper representation and policing. He claims Bush’s push for defunding the police is not a representation of what the Black community wants.
“People want the police. They understand that there’s no perfect system out here. There are no perfect people and certainly things can be done that will be deemed as wrong, negative, and outright criminal by individuals. But overall, the police have been doing a fantastic job. We just need to get behind them and support them. But the overwhelming majority of people support the police,” said Jones, who ran for St. Louis mayor in 2017 and 2021.
Jones said after learning about the Black Lives Matter platform, he concluded the organization is an “affront to what Black people stand for.”
“The courage of Black people, historically, the production and the high value that Black people had, the contributions for family and… they’re [BLM] against most of that stuff. So, as far as an organization is concerned, I think it’s a fraud organization,” he said.
After losing the mayoral elections, Jones admitted he did not have any interest in pursuing politics further but said he was compelled to run against Bush.
“The more I listened to what she talked about, I said, ‘boy, this is absolutely something that’s counterproductive.’ … I said, ‘we have to do something about it.’”
The primary election will occur on August 2, 2022. Jones will be challenged in the primaries by James Snider, according to Ballotpedia.
The general election will occur on November 8, 2022.