Michael Owens is married to Lyda Krewson, the current mayor of St. Louis, Missouri. Krewson made history when she became the first woman elected to the position in April 2017.
Krewson, a Democrat, is facing a severe backlash after releasing the names and addresses of protesters who wrote letters encouraging her to defund the police department. She apologized and insisted she had never intended to “harm anyone or cause distress.” But many constituents are calling on Krewson to step down. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of her home on June 28 to demand her resignation and an online petition has garnered more than 45,000 signatures.
Owens often shows support for his wife on social media and refers to himself as the “First Dude” in his Twitter bio. He frequently shares Krewson’s tweets including recent messages related to protests and the coronavirus. But as of this writing, Owens has kept quiet on Twitter in regards to the controversy over Krewson’s “doxing” of activists.
Here’s what you need to know about Krewson’s husband:
1. Owens Was a Television Reporter in St. Louis For 27 Years
Owens spent the majority of his professional career as a broadcast news reporter in his hometown of St. Louis. He graduated from Bishop DuBourg High School, according to his Facebook page, before attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His next stop was a job at the local KMOX radio.
Owens switched to television after he was offered a job at the NBC affiliate KSDK-TV in 1983. He stayed at the TV station for 27 years and earned a reputation for being a tough reporter. The St. Louis Journalism Review described Owens in 2004 as someone who had “never been the most popular fellow in town–which only means he’s doing his job.” The outlet added that Owens’ “aggressive approach to journalism is, in part, what frightens his detractors the most. If he were inept and easily manipulated, perhaps no one would bother to worry about his personal life.”
Owens’ personal life became a talked-about issue after he married Krewson in 1998. Owens was accused of trying to assist his wife’s political career through his reporting. The River Front Times reported in 2001 that Owens wrote two articles that critics believed were favorable toward the police union. Former Mayor Vince Schoemehl told the newspaper at the time, “Mike Owens is in a direct conflict in his position of covering City Hall while his wife is getting ready to run for president of the Board of Alderman. I think there is no question that he did that piece on the security force at Grand Center strictly and solely to suck up to the St. Louis Police Officers Association to help his wife.”
Owens denied a conflict of interest and pointed out that his reporting also included articles that had been critical of the police union. When the topic came up again in 2004, Krewson commented to the St. Louis Journalism Review that she didn’t think her political career and Owens’ job as a reporter presented a problem. “Andrea Mitchell [of NBC] is married to Alan Greenspan, for God’s sake. Mike Owens and Lyda Krewson are such small bit players that I just don’t worry about it.”
2. Owens Left the Newsroom In 2010 to Work as a Lawyer
While working as a reporter, Owens decided to go back to school in the 1990s to pursue a law degree. He graduated from St. Louis University in 1999.
But as he explained to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Owens had to put a potential legal career on hold because he failed the bar exam three times. About a decade later, Owens decided to give the test another go after using vacation days, sick time and a two-week furlough to study. He finally passed the test in 2009 and formally admitted to the Missouri Bar in September 2009.
Law license in hand, Owens decided to switch careers at age 60. He left the world of broadcast journalism in 2010 and became an associate attorney at Pleban & Petruska Law. In an interview with Missouri Lawyers Media, Owens explained he initially wanted to keep his reporting job while working part-time as a lawyer but that arrangement didn’t work out. He was asked whether he had been pushed out of the TV station and he responded:
Yeah. I’m not mad at them. They wanted me to sign a contract that I couldn’t sign. And if you don’t have a contract, you don’t work. I guess I could’ve signed the contract, but I’m not going to work that I don’t want to do. And that work would be carrying a camera and shooting video.
3. Owens Ran For the Missouri State House in 2012
Owens followed his wife’s lead and entered the political arena in 2012. He ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives. Owens was one of three candidates vying to represent the state’s 84th House District.
Owens explained to the Gateway Journalism Review that he hoped his career as a reporter would be helpful because of name recognition. Voters were already familiar with him. But he acknowledged the notoriety could be a hindrance as well. “I’ve worked hard but it does help to have been on television for a long time because people do remember you. That can work against you, too. If I’ve ever done a story that made them mad, they would have other feelings about me.”
4. Owens Was Arrested In 1998 While Riding In a Television News Truck
Owens was used to seeing his name in the byline of news articles, but in 1998, his name was part of the headline instead. He was arrested in late 1998 after police said he verbally and physically threatened an officer.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Owens was riding in the passenger seat of a KSDK-TV news truck when security officers at the Casino Queen stopped the vehicle after midnight. The casino security officers thought the driver was too drunk to drive. According to the newspaper, Owens “became belligerant and resisted officers.”
Owens was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, battery, obstructing a peace officer and illegal transportation of alcohol by a passenger. But the case was either dropped or later stripped from Owens’ record. A search of Missouri court records bring up only a traffic ticket from 2011.
5. Owens Married Krewson Three Years After Her First Husband Was Murdered
Lyda Krewson was married to her first husband, Jeff Krewson, for seven years until his death on March 23, 1995. Jeff Krewson was shot during an attempted carjacking and robbery in front of the family’s house. Lyda and their two children, who were 5 and 2 at the time, were also in the car. The family had just returned home from a shopping trip.
Jeff Krewson was shot in the neck as he tried to drive away from two attackers, later identified as James Wade, 21, and Kevin Mullins, 18. According to the Associated Press, police apprehended the two men minutes after the shooting. Wade pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Mullins was charged with second-degree murder.