Cara was born in South St. Louis City and has lived most of her life in the region. She studied math at Truman State University in Northeast Missouri, where she worked her way through college tutoring math and serving burgers.
She is the first in her family to earn a college degree. After graduation, she became a mathematical modeler for the Mattson Jack Group, a St. Louis-based healthcare consulting firm. For more than 15 years she built mathematical models designed to predict market behavior. She advised Fortune 500 firms on strategic planning and helped drive results for companies across the globe.
Cara began raising her family in Tower Grove East before moving to Marine Villa with her son, Cy. She is an avid runner and cyclist and gardens on the weekends. Cy is a semi-pro Lego-builder. Together they tend chickens in their backyard.
Cara never planned on becoming a public servant. But in 2015, seeing her neighborhood sinking in neglect she decided to challenge the 20-year incumbent member of the Board of Aldermen. She ran a grassroots campaign, knocked on thousands of doors, listened to voters’ concerns, and upset the political establishment by winning. In 2019 she won reelection with 70% of the vote.
Cara made stimulating development a priority in her ward, in the most economically challenged part of the South Side. She had pledged to voters that she would tackle the vacant housing issue and make neighborhoods more attractive for living and raising families.
She led the way for more than 50% of city-owned vacant buildings to be transferred to private ownership; building permits are up by over 1,200%. Projects have been a mixture of market-rate and affordable housing, ensuring that each block continues to demonstrate that diversity is valued and thrives.
For the past two years, Cara has led the fight against the privatization of the city’s largest asset, St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
This year the battle has been on two fronts: an initiative petition funded by right-wing billionaire Rex Sinquefield, which will require two public votes, and a bill by the president of the Board of Alderman, which, if passed by the Board of Aldermen, would need only one public vote.
Although both appear to be stalled, Cara remains vigilant in leading the opposition.Read More
Known in St. Louis as someone who isn’t afraid to take on tough fights – Cara has challenged, and beaten, powerful interests like the payday lending industry.
She has also taken on politically connected slumlords such as Paul McKee and she got the “Holding Slumlords Accountable” Act passed, which removed an exemption from building code violations and has resulted in very significant revenue for the city.Read More
Cara sponsored a bill that included the toughest municipal legislation on Payday loans in the country.
Cara was the first Alderman in the history of St. Louis to allocate ward capital to St. Louis city recreation programs by replacing the boxing ring at Marquette Recreation Center.
Cara sponsored a bill enabling the largest affordable housing development in the 20th ward in over 20 years.
Cara sponsored a bill that introduced the strictest campaign finance laws in the city's history.
Cara sponsored a bill that imposed stricter air pollution standards than state requirements on asbestos in demolitions and providing funding to regulate this locally.
Together wiith Alderman Chris Carter, Cara developed and implemented the Mow to Own Program whereby a neighbor can obtain a vacant city-owned lot by simply mowing it.
Cara sponsored a bill that prohibits firearms in city parks. A step to stretch the limit on state preemption of local gun control.