Civic Café Democracy Dinner: Policy and Progress in City of St. Louis

September 19, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Stix House, 6470 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton, Missouri 63105

Local government (i.e. government at the city or county level) is an essential and powerful lever for social change. In addition to providing essential services to its residents, cities around the US, and the City of St. Louis in particular, have pursued innovative policies related to climate adaptation, reproductive care, and voting.  

On September 19th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm the Gephardt Institute is hosting a Democracy Dinner focused on the inner workings of local government, particularly in St. Louis. We are honored that Cristina Garmendia, Policy Director to the President of the Board of Aldermen, and Adam Layne, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis, will be joining us to share their experiences working in local government and facilitate dialogue on the topic. 

In this Civic Café Democracy Dinner, we will discuss questions such as:

  • How does a city actually function? What are different key roles in local government and what do they do?
  • How are our daily lives affected by local policy?
  • What are your perceptions and/or assumptions about local government?
  • How do broader state and federal policies and political environments affect local government?
  • What is the best way to stay updated with and/or get involved with local government?

Guest Speakers: 

  • Cristina Garmendia, Policy Director to the President of the Board of Aldermen 
    • Cristina (she/her/hers) is the Policy Director to the President of the Board of Aldermen. In this role, she advises and helps coordinate the execution of the President’s policy agenda. Previously, she ran her own research consulting firm URBNRX, where she advised St. Louis area nonprofits and foundations on leadership, accountability, and the effective use of data to inform decision-making. Before launching her consultancy, she had diverse work experience spanning government, technology, community development, and the academic sector in St. Louis, Boston, and Newark, NJ. In St. Louis, she is best known for her work as the designer of the City of St. Louis’ Equity Indicators, a series of 72 racial equity metrics based upon the priorities identified by the Ferguson Commission. Her most recent public-facing project is the St. Louis Affordable Housing Report Card [] on behalf of the Community Builders Network, released in November 2021. She earned her Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and her undergraduate degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in the new Ward 1 with her family.
  • Adam Layne, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis 
    • Treasurer Adam Layne was appointed in April of 2021 as the successor for Mayor, Tishaura O. Jones. Layne served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Treasurer’s Office. During his time in office, Layne has launched the Parking and Towing Assistance Program (PTAP), a program developed for St. Louisans with multiple fines to freeze their fees and get on a payment plan without being booted or towed. His strategic investment approach has allowed the city to book over $15 million in interest earnings in his tenure. Treasurer Layne oversaw the disbursement of $4.65 million in the form of pandemic relief dollars to St. Louis residents and is currently overseeing the Guaranteed Basic Income pilot, which will support over 400 St. Louis families. Aiming for sustainability, youth investment, and strategic financial management, Treasurer Layne has forged community connections to make St. Louis a leader in sustainable infrastructure, created opportunities for youth financial literacy such as the Teen Investment Program, and modernized systems in the city to serve people more efficiently. An experienced elected official, Treasurer Layne finished first in his 2019 race for the St. Louis Public School (SLPS) Board where he advocated relentlessly for every school to be a quality school. A proud graduate of the George Washington University School of Business, Treasurer Layne received his bachelor’s degree in finance and then went on to earn a master’s degree in Education from University Missouri St Louis. 
Civic Cafe RSVP 2023_09_19 Democracy Dinner: Policy and Progress
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