Francis G. Slay
|Francis G. Slay|
|Francis Slay at Washington University in St. Louis|
|45th Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri|
April 17, 2001
|Preceded by||Clarence Harmon|
March 18, 1955 |
St. Louis, Missouri
|Children||Katherine Slay, Francis G. Slay Jr.|
Francis G. Slay (born March 18, 1955) is an American politician and the 45th Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri since 2001. He is the longest serving mayor of the city of St. Louis having been re-elected to a fourth term in April 2013.
Education and early career
Slay graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1973. He received a degree in political science from Quincy College and a law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law. After graduating from law school, Slay served as a law clerk for Judge Paul J. Simon of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District. In 1981, he joined the law firm of Guilfoil, Petzall, and Shoemake where he specialized in business law and commercial litigation. Slay was elected to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in 1985, representing the 23rd ward. In 1995, he was elected President of the Board of Aldermen, in a contested Democratic Party primary race with seven candidates. In 1999, he was re-elected without opposition.
Term as Mayor
Slay was successful in his first campaign for mayor in 2001, defeating incumbent mayor Clarence Harmon and former mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr. in the Democratic Primary. A great amount of residential redevelopment took place within the city during Slay's first term in office, including the redevelopment of the Washington Avenue Loft District. Also in his first term, Slay was successful in negotiating the construction of Busch Stadium, the new St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium in downtown St. Louis, and the re-districting of aldermanic wards required after the 2000 census. Slay also supported a plan to redevelop the historic Old Post Office, which became controversial as it included the demolition of an adjacent historic office building, the Century Building for a parking garage. Under Slay's leadership, many neighborhoods have been rebuilt and stabilized. He also was instrumental in developing a health care plan for the uninsured. Former US Senator John Danforth called Mayor Slay "one of the City's greatest mayors." Slay's success led him to re-election of a second term as mayor in 2005 and a third term in 2009.
The Slay administration and its public and private partners have received national and international recognition for St. Louis's renaissance. Key initiatives have focused on improving the quality of life in neighborhoods, the revitalization of north St. Louis, better public education, and the efficient and equitable delivery of city services. In May 2007, Downtown St. Louis's revitalization was the subject of a Preserve America Presidential Award, the nation's highest award for historic preservation. In 2011, Citygarden won the Urban Land Institute's prestigious Amanda Burden Urban Open Space award.
Under Slay's tenure, St. Louis has rebuilt its retail business base. Small and large retailers have rediscovered the city as a great place to do business. Hundreds of new restaurants and unique shops have opened in the city. As the Boston Globe puts it, "Something remarkable has happened in St. Louis." In reality business is heavily taxed in this "great place to do business" and people and enterprises continue to move out.
Slay has forced the issue of improving public education front and center. He supported state intervention to improve the St. Louis Public Schools and he has invited the most innovative educators in the country to submit proposals to open public charter schools here. Under his leadership, the city has put in place a Housing First plan that has resulted in a reduction in the number of homeless people. The mayor's program to reduce children's exposure to dangerous lead paint has won national acclaim.
Slay is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition was co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Slay is a member of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners and has been successful in bringing control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police from the State of Missouri to the independent City of St. Louis.
In April 2013, Slay was re-elected to a fourth term by a wide margin. In 2013, he was one of nine mayors who established July 15 as Social Media Giving Day, encouraging citizens to support charities via social media. Slay's popularity in the city continues to increase as the city of St. Louis has continued to gain in popularity as an ideal place for business and tourism.
Slay is the second of eleven children and comes from a family that has long been active in St. Louis politics and in public service. His father, Francis R. Slay, was affiliated with St. Raymond's Maronite Catholic Cathedral in St. Louis, and was the long-time Democratic Committeeman in the 23rd Ward. He once served as Recorder of Deeds. He died on March 16, 2011, at 83.
Slay and his wife Kim have two children and three rescued dogs. Slay is a Maronite Catholic and also an avid supporter of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and of Roman Catholic organizations in the city. He is of Lebanese and Polish ancestry.
- Schlinkmann, Mark (April 18, 2001). "Slay Is Sworn in as St. Louis' 45th Mayor". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. A1.
|Mayor of St. Louis