The 4th Council District race features two candidates with long records of civic involvement, trying to succeed incumbent Jan Marcason, who is term-limited out of office.
Jolie Justus, who came in first in the two-way primary, is a former state senator. John Fierro is a former parks board commissioner and current Port Authority board member.
Occupation: Lawyer, director of pro bono services at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications from Missouri State University; law degree from UMKC School of Law
Previous public service: Missouri state senator, 2007-2015; Missouri Senate minority leader, 2013-2015; commissioner, Missouri Division of Tourism, 2014.
Major endorsements: AFL-CIO; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99; Freedom Inc.; Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus; Fire Fighters Local 42 and 3808; Progressive Women’s Coalition; KC BizPAC; La Raza Political Club; Greater Kansas City Building & Construction Trades Council.
Positions on three key issues:
KCI: Any changes to the airport must be the result of input from all stakeholders, including the public and the airlines. I do not have an opinion regarding significant renovations versus a single terminal, but I am committed to modernizing our airport.
Kemper Arena: My preference is to renovate Kemper Arena rather than demolish it, but it is imperative that we find a plan that is innovative, sustainable and provides a positive return on investment for taxpayers. I look forward to reviewing all proposals and working with community stakeholders to develop a plan that benefits our entire city.
Streetcar expansion: I am generally supportive of expanding the existing streetcar line, but I need additional information including proposed routes and funding sources before I can support a specific plan.
Occupation: President/CEO of Mattie Rhodes Center
Education: Master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University; bachelor’s degree from Park College; master’s in public administration from Park University.
Previous public service: Port Authority board, 2011-present; KC parks board member/president, 2005-2011; KC Housing Authority Board, 2002-2005.
Major endorsements: Forward Kansas City; KC Hispanic BizPAC
Positions on three key issues:
KCI: I support building a new single terminal that doesn’t rely on a new sales tax by the general public but relies instead on the outstanding credit rating of the Aviation Department to finance the project with bonds and financial support from the airlines. This will be the biggest construction project not paid for by the taxpayers. If KC has any hope of attracting additional Fortune 500 companies and increasing international travel to and from Kansas City, a new airport is absolutely essential.
Kemper Arena: I oppose tearing down Kemper Arena. The building is taxpayer-funded, so by demolishing it we would be throwing away taxpayer dollars. However, we need to develop a reuse plan. I propose we broaden the request for new reuse plans by soliciting national input.
Streetcar expansion: Although I support the economic development that follows streetcar implementation, I recognize there is considerable work to do to reconcile the voice of KC voters with considerations for multimodal transportation alternatives. We should engage a citizens group to study financial options including public/private partnerships, hotel/motel tourism tax, fares, advertising and sponsorship and surcharge on auto registrations.