By this time next month, Clayton residents will see at least one fresh face on the Board of Aldermen, with one of its six current members not seeking re-election.
With a little over three weeks to go before Clayton’s municipal elections on April 3, and one open seat up for grabs in Ward 3, here’s a look at who’s running and what they’re promising.
Clayton’s Ward 3 (Downtown district: includes Maryland Ave., Brentwood & Forsyth Blvds. and Shaw Park)
Alex Berger III’s decision not to run for another term broke this race wide open. Berger III’s three-year term will expire next month, leaving Bridget McAndrew and Andrew Galakatos to face-off for one of Clayton’s downtown district seats.
Bridget Kenney McAndrew
McAndrew has lived in the ward’s boundaries since 2010 and has some experience running in this election.
McAndrew challenged then incumbent Berger III for the Ward 3 seat in 2015, losing by 21 votes (432 to 411). McAndrew said she’s better equipped to win this time around.
“Three years ago I was definitely a rookie running for office. I guess I knew a little bit more what running for local office was going to entail this time around, in terms of walking door-to-door, getting mailings out and certainly seeking endorsements from people,” McAndrew said. “I obviously can’t meet everybody in our ward but I think people appreciate seeing their neighbors on endorsement lists. I think that’s an important part of Clayton politics.”
Since her last run for office, McAndrew said she’s become more involved in the community. She currently is involved with the Clayton Century Foundation and has been an avid member of the Parent Teacher Organization at Meramec Elementary School.
“Other than just feeling more experienced this time around, I also just feel like in three years I’ve gotten more involved in the community so I know more people,” McAndrew said. “I think just feeling more comfortable here has made this time around certainly easier than it was three years ago.”
McAndrew, a lawyer with Inkwell LLC, said the abundance of development in downtown is biggest issue Clayton faces currently. She added that many residents are concerned about overcrowding in schools and traffic among other things.
Nearly 900 new living units will be available in Clayton once the Barton is finished. That does not include the most recent approval of the Shaw Park Tower at the corner of Forsyth and Brentwood Blvds., which will bring even more available living space to Clayton.
“I think people are excited by it, some people less than others, but I think people are little nervous about once Centene is done, what kind of traffic it’s going to bring,” McAndrew said of the development. “I think people are still just cautiously optimistic about what all the new apartments will bring. That is certainly what people talk about the most.”
McAndrew said public safety is another big issue, and that the city has done a great job addressing some of the concerns surrounding break-ins and carjackings. She added that many of the people in high-rise buildings in her ward are concerned about need for more firemen.
As for the other issues she’s looking forward to tackling, McAndrew said she’s aiming to see some family-friendly downtown growth. That would include supporting infrastructure that is conducive to walking and biking — a key component of bringing new people to cities, she said.
Andrew E. Galakatos
Galakotos’ neighborhood has faced multiple challenges he said, which have served as a catalyst for his decision to run for alderman.
Like McAndrew, chief among them is the high-rise building that’s going on in his neighborhood.
“My concern is that all of the high-rise building that’s going on is catering to apartments, and the apartments, really on a national level, are tenants that are there for and average for three years, and the buildings themselves are owned by corporate,” Galakatos said. “So you’ve got all these high-rise buildings going on that are going to be owned by people that really don’t have a vested interest in the city itself.”
Galakatos, who works as a physician, professor, administrator and teacher at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine, has been a vocal and active participant involved with the civic activities and concerns of the city of Clayton.
A member of the board of the Clayton Condominium Building Associations, and frequent public speaker at Clayton’s Architectural Review Board and Board of Aldermen meetings, Galakatos said that he was encouraged by his neighbors and friends to run for the seat.
“With all my appearances before the Board of Aldermen and Architectural Review Board, I never had the intention of running for alderman,” he said. “However, just before the deadline I got calls and they said I’ve been very open at those meetings, where I’ve presented facts and I’ve challenged the elected.”
Galakatos’ candidacy message consists of three main points, including:
- Transparency — include modern day means of communication and distribution of information i.e. E-mail, Facebook, etc.
- Accountability — being open and upfront on significant issues along with responsible due diligence on proposals and projects.
- Being and independent voice of not only the citizens of Ward 3 but also in consideration of the entire city of Clayton.
Galakatos added that he’s not running to interrupt the interworking of government in the city of Clayton, but that he’s seeking to reconnect it to the people — listen to them, respect them and give them a voice.
“We, you and I, may disagree on certain issues…that is inevitable. But you will know that your opinion, your input will count…enough to change my mind,” Galakatos said in a campaign message. “Clayton is a great place to live, to work, to build a business and to raise a family. It is up to all of us to help keep it that way.”
Clayton has a total of six aldermen, two from each ward. The winner of the election will join Ward 3 Alderman Mark Winings in representing the board. Blair I. Kaiser is challenging incumbent Alderwoman Joanne Boulton for the Ward 1 seat in the first contested aldermanic election in Clayton since 2012, while current Alderman Ira Berkowitz is running unopposed in Ward 2.