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Finish what we started

James W. Knowles III has the experience and knowledge to lead Ferguson forward into progress over the next three years.

Vote YES for James Knowles on April 4th, 2017.

Early Life

James grew up playing baseball with the Ferguson Athletic Association at the old fields behind Ferguson Middle School

James’ parents James, Jr. (Jim) and Patti, were both raised in North County, and moved to the City of Ferguson shortly after James was born and after Jim completed his service in the US Navy.

James grew up near Forestwood Park, attending Griffith Elementary School and then Ferguson Middle School. While he successfully excelled in school, participating in the PROBE program, he also loved sports. He played little league baseball for the Ferguson Athletic Association and wrestled in the Little League program at McCluer and Pattonville High School. James also worked in the Heating & Cooling family business, working alongside his father throughout the summers.

James attended McCluer High School and continued to excel in both academics and athletics. He took active roles in many school activities and clubs such as the Thespian Society, Key Club, Student Government, and the Junior ROTC Battalion, to name a few. In all of his activities, James took on leadership roles, rising to the rank of company commander of the JROTC Battalion, Vice-President of the National Honor Society, and President of the Student Body.

With his MSB Bulldog wrestling team at McCluer South-Berkeley High School. James has coached and mentored young men for several years at both McCluer and McCluer South Berkely High School

In athletics, James played Tennis and was Captain of the Wrestling Team. As team Captain, he led his team to their first Conference and District Title in decades. Individually, he was a two-time state qualifier in Wrestling and finished his senior year 39-1, finishing Third Place at the State Tournament. For his academic and athletic achievement, James was named to be McCluer’s Post-Dispatch Scholar Athlete 1997.

College and Early Career

James received an academic and athletic Scholarship to attend Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri where he studied Political Science and Justice Systems (Criminal Justice). While at Truman University he became a very active member of the student body and was an elected member of the Student Senate. James was also a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. James worked as a Residence Hall Advisor and later for the Campus Police as a Student Auxiliary Officer during the school year. In the summers and on break, James worked two jobs to help pay his school bills. During the day, James worked at the Ferguson Wal-Mart and evenings at the Ferguson Police Department as a dispatcher.

His senior year in college, James was selected to do a 6-month, full time internship at the Missouri State Capitol for State Representative Gary Wiggins, D- Macon. During that time, Gary was stricken with cancer, forcing James to handle many of his duties and helping care for his boss. That summer, Gary sadly succumbed to the cancer, and James was honored to join a contingent of State Reps and Senators as a Pall Bearer in the funeral. Shortly after Gary’s death, James was offered a job for State Senator Ted House, D –St. Charles. James worked on his staff handling constituent issues, tracking, and drafting legislation till his term completed in 2002 due to terms limits.


Hard at work, James stops for a quick smile at Independent Electrical Contractors Assoc.

After leaving the Capitol, James returned back to Ferguson and worked at McCluer High School before being hired by the Independent Electrical

Contractors Association to be the organization’s Government Affairs Coordinator and Lobbyist. During that time, James worked with local, state, and federal government officials to improve the business and regulatory climate for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the construction industry. Later James was hired as the Eastern Missouri Director of the Associated Builders and Contractors, continuing to advocate on behalf of contractors at all levels of government, as well as helping to provide resources and training to small business owners and their employees.

Council Tenure

During a time of great turmoil between the citizens and then City Manager AJ Krieger, James was approached by residents that felt we needed a fresh new voice on the City Council. At 25 years old, James decided to run against an opponent that had already served 8 years on the Council. James won the seat, becoming the youngest person to ever hold office in the City of Ferguson. During that time James brought a new perspective and energy to the council and city, having both experience in government while being 20 years younger than his council peers.

As Mayor

At the age of 25, James was elected the youngest Council member in the history of the City of Ferguson, and later became the Mayor of Ferguson at the age of 31

After serving six years as a Councilman, James was encouraged by his peers to run for Mayor after Mayor Brian Fletcher decided against running for re-election. At 31, and still the youngest serving member of the council, James was overwhelmingly elected to office in a three-way race.

Three days after being sworn into office, on Good Friday 2011, a tornado swept across North St. Louis County damaging and destroying homes from Maryland Heights to Bellefontaine Neighbors. In Ferguson, thousands of homes were out of power, several hundred were damaged or destroyed, and more than half of the city’s streets were blocked or not accessible due to downed trees and power lines.

James led our community through the response and subsequent rebuilding effort from the 2011 tornado, only to be forced to rebuild again after another tornado hit our community in 2013.
The tragic events of 2014 and the subsequent unrest put our community through difficulty and turmoil not seen in any community across America. James worked tirelessly with activists, citizens, and law enforcement to hear concerns, make necessary reforms, all while maintaining the safety of our community.

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