A woman in Maplewood’s Ward 3 is the sixth candidate to pick up a petition to run for the vacant seat on city council. Kristen Spencer shared this introduction, her qualifications and her hopes for Maplewood. Correction: Spencer is the seventh candidate to pick up a petition — Alexandra Goodfellow was number six.
My name is Kristen Spencer, and I am thrilled to be running for the Ward 3 Council seat. I have lived in Maplewood for almost eight years and the St. Louis area for almost ten.
Although my family still lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where I grew up, my husband and I chose to settle down in Maplewood. I take a lot of pride in our city, so much so that my friends call me, “Mrs. Maplewood.” Some of my favorite things about Maplewood are its walkability, diversity, multitude of restaurants, fascinating architecture, delightful festivals, and my neighbors.
In terms of Maplewood experience, I graduated from the Maplewood Citizens Academy in 2014. I have been the Block Party Captain for my block the past four years for the St. Louis Regional Night Out Against Crime. I was also appointed to and currently serve as a member of the Mid-County Senior Citizens Commission.
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis. I have the privilege of serving older adult veterans in an extended care setting. Last year I served as President of The Social Work Leaders in Health Care of Metro St. Louis and continue to serve on its board. As a social worker I have experience advocating for others, working with a team and navigating through bureaucratic red tape.
I have been married to Jonathan for nine years, and we share our home with our dog, Buddy, and two cats, Flip and Sammie (who we rescued from some bushes while walking Buddy in Maplewood). I love to run, go to festivals, support local restaurants, update our 114 year old house and travel to national parks.
We are already an amazing city, and with caring decision-makers we can continue to become a city that others emulate and our residents love. I think the most important thing a council person can do is to listen, and listening is a strength that I can bring to this position.
Here are some of my Maplewood hopes in which I would enjoy playing a role:
- Establish an opportunity for the Mayor and Council to meet several times a year with residents in an informal setting at a local establishment
- Conduct a survey of Maplewood residents to gage the top three most important issues
- Promote our architecture by establishing a Maplewood home tour
- Review and update the Maplewood ordinances to reflect the current needs of our residents in a respectful and well thought out manner
- Strive for Maplewood to be a neighborhood where one can age in place. We may not be able to erect an independent or assisted living facility within Maplewood, but we can focus on connecting older adults to resources that enable them to successfully remain in their homes for a longer period of time.
- Support and advocate for the continued success of our award-winning school district
- Continue to expand walkability and encourage best practices with regard to infrastructure. In particular, work with others to find solutions to expand the downtown business district to the Metrolink.
- Find and obtain grants that can support citizen’s ideas
- Collaborate and partner with nearby neighborhoods and local governments in order to find solutions to shared issues
I love that we have a piano in our local park, that my husband and I have to step over bikes and Nerf guns left over from an epic battle while walking our dog, that the fire department personally visits our block parties in their truck, and that I get to call Maplewood home. I truly love this city and I would be thrilled to have the chance to serve it and represent its residents.