Antonio knows St. Louis.

Antonio was born and raised in St. Louis. A graduate of CBC High School, Antonio grew up in the O'Fallon Park neighborhood in north St. Louis. His mother's parents and his father's parents both moved onto the same 4500 block of Athlone in the 1960s. That's how his mom and dad met, fell in love, and eventually had him. Antonio now lives on the same block today with his wife, Jasenka and 6-year-old son, Dominik. Jasenka was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and came to St. Louis in 1994. Antonio and Jasenka are proud public school parents.

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(Above) Dominik French, age 6, attends St. Louis Public Schools.

(Left) The French Family.

War Eagle!

After graduating from CBC High School, Antonio attended Auburn University in Alabama. Graduating with a degree in political science, French returned to St. Louis, ready to roll up his sleeves and make a difference. In 2014, he graduated from Washington University with an Executive Masters in Business Administration (MBA). 

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Writing and filming the truth.

In 2002, Antonio turned to journalism as a means of creating the change that St. Louis so desperately needed. He founded an alternative newspaper called Public Defender. The paper reported on stories that no other publication dared touch -- controversial police shootings, cronyism in the mayor's office, and most memorable, the notorious Team Four Plan.

Public Defender eventually became PubDef.net, a popular political blog that covered St. Louis politics and education issues like no one before. PubDef.net introduced on-demand video content into the local political discussion and regularly broke major news stories hours, days and sometimes weeks before the major media outlets. In 2007, St. Louis Magazine named Antonio French the region's best blogger. The St. Louis Business Journal called him one of the most influential voices in local media. His reporting was even featured on NBC's "Meet the Press". French also started a newspaper called the NorthSider, written by and distributed to north St. Louis residents, which is still in circulation today. 

Antonio's passion for keeping all citizens informed of the truth didn't end there. In 2014, French gained national visibility for his role in documenting the protests over the shooting of Michael Brown, for which he was arrested. French was among the first of elected officials involved in the Ferguson protests, acting as social media-/photo- journalist and mediator. 

Fighting for the People.

Antonio began his political career in 1999 when he responded to an Activist Wanted ad. He started as a signature gatherer for a state-wide ballot initiative for campaign finance reform. Within 2 days on the job, he was promoted to oversee 3 congressional districts for the effort, and, ultimately, got the question on the ballot. He then went on to manage the successful state Senate campaign of Senator Wayne Good. He opened up his own consulting firm and managed several other winning campaigns. In 2008, he successfully ran for 21st Ward Democratic committeeman.

French's next election, in 2009, gave him the aldermanic seat that he holds to this day, in the Ward in which he grew up. In 2010, he was named "Best Local Politician" by the Riverfront Times. During his first term, French fought to open the 20 million dollar O'Fallon Park Recreation Center, helping craft the contract so that it would allow for discounted memberships for low income city residents. He also worked to start at $600,000 project to install security cameras all around his ward, which helped cut homicides and general crime in the ward. Other community improvement actions he took during his first term include a "Block by Block" campaign to rehab houses with corporate and non-profit partners each month and a jazz concert series in O'Fallon Park.

After being re-elected in 2013, Alderman French went on to sponsor a civilian review board bill, in response to the unrest in Ferguson.The bill would create a seven-person board that has the power to review police evidence, interrogation tapes, and investigations, but would not have the power of subpoena. The board would have the power to send investigations back to Internal Affairs with recommendations for further questions or additional evidence. If the board is still unsatisfied, it can conduct its own independent investigation and make recommendations to the police chief regarding discipline. It was also during his second term when he received his Executive MBA degree from Washington University.

Throughout his political career, Antonio has continually fought for the people of the city, oftentimes being dubbed the most outspoken member of the Board. As he tells us; 

"There are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies -- just permanent interests. I work with people I disagree with. And at the end of the day, we get stuff done for the people of St. Louis, and that's what's important."   

Fighting for the People, always.

French gained national recognition for his work covering the unrest in Ferguson, MO in 2014. He used the social media platforms of Twitter and Vine to document the protests and the heavy-handed police response. He also helped keep the peace when the situation turned violent.

French publicly called out local prosecutors for not charging Officer Wilson and called for leadership to step up and make change. He helped cool down countless young men and women who were fed up with the dangerous relationship between law enforcement and the community. For him, this was personal. Ferguson is two miles down the road from his own home, and he knows that the conditions that led to the unrest in Ferguson are not all that different than in the city.