Larry Rice Is Now Running for Mayor


Rev. Larry Rice looks out the front door of the New Life Evangelistic Center as homeless men wait in line for potential beds for the night on November 14. - PHOTO BY NICK SCHNELLE
  • Rev. Larry Rice looks out the front door of the New Life Evangelistic Center as homeless men wait in line for potential beds for the night on November 14.

He's got name recognition, loyal followers and a plan for the city. The Rev. Larry Rice says he should be St. Louis' next mayor.

The controversial founder of the New Life Evangelistic Center homeless shelter, which is currently facing a shut-down order from the city, has joined the crowded race as an independent candidate.

"I believe it’s time for a revolution in City Hall — a revolution of compassion because the people have suffered enough," Rice says in video launching his candidacy.

See Also: As Downtown St. Louis Weighs Its Homeless Problem, All Eyes Are on Larry Rice

He has been rolling out his plan on Highlights include capping city government salaries at $75,000 and putting the savings toward hiring another 200 police officers, holding weekly job fairs in the City Hall rotunda and shifting city money away from stadium deals toward community recreation.

Unsurprisingly, his platform also calls for aid to the homeless, including a plan to build a village of tiny houses for people who do not want to live in shelters.

The month and a half between now and the general election should be a busy time for Rice. Along with the campaign, he's battling the city to keep New Life open. The shelter has been operating without a permit since May 2015, when the city revoked the 32-bed hotel permit Rice had since 1976.

New Life is under city orders to shut down by April 1. The general election is April 4.

Rice seems unfazed. He has vowed to fight the city in court over the cease-and-desist order, and he has collected well over the 487 signatures to put himself on the ballot for mayor. He claims he turned in 1,200 signatures. The Missouri Board of Election Commissioners has validated 589 of those signatures, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which first reported Rice's candidacy.

Still a longshot, Rice adds yet another layer to a frenzied campaign season. There are probably four legit contenders in the Democratic primary.

And while whoever wins that primary will still be the odds-on favorite, Rice isn't alone in trying to make the general election matter. There's also the late entry of Kacey Cordes, a finance executive who some political watchers suspect could mount a real challenge in the general. Like Rice, she will bypass the primaries. Unlike Rice, she hasn't collected the signatures.

That's going to make for some interesting issues to untangle, as we noted earlier this week.
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