Kansas City voters can look forward to some highly competitive races for the in-district City Council seats. Because term limits are forcing out four council members, only two incumbents are eligible to return.
The primary will be held April 7 and the general election is on June 23.
The Star today makes recommendations for the six in-district races. We offered recommendations on Sunday for the six at-large races and have endorsed Mayor Sly James for re-election.
1st District: Incumbent Dick Davis is a public servant committed to good government. He has done a solid job in his first term, urging council colleagues to focus on the needs of the fast-growing Northland, especially in Clay County. Davis has a strong background as an independent thinker yet also has found good ways to collaborate with colleagues on important budget issues. His voice of experience will be helpful on a council that, we hope, will include several younger members as well. His opponents are Jane Rinehart, Heather Hall and Louie Wright.
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2nd District: As a longtime booster of neighborhoods, Dan Fowler has served Northland communities at the grassroots level. His expertise will be valuable as the council works to boost older neighborhoods in the Platte County portion of the city. Opponent Bill Super has withdrawn from the race, but his name remains on the ballot.
3rd District: Residents of this urban core district can choose from an extremely strong slate of candidates. We hope two of these three make it through to the general election. Incumbent Jermaine Reed has focused on economic development in a district suffering from decades of disinvestment. He highlights his backing for a new police campus and streetcar expansion, though both drew criticism from some residents who also see his style as too aloof. His two main opponents are energetic newcomer Jamekia Kendrix and a more low-key but well-informed Bryan Dial. Kendrix has built a reputation as a savvy supporter of Kansas City Public Schools. Kendrix also has a well-focused argument for reviving long-dormant neighborhood groups. Dial offers a solid list of projects to pursue. They include reviving selected housing and shopping areas, plus adding a dog park. Other candidates are Shaheer Akhtab and Rachel Riley.
4th District: Voters in this district — covering part of the southwest corridor through downtown and into the Northeast area — are fortunate. Two high quality candidates will make it through the primary: Jolie Justus and John Fierro. Justus, a former state lawmaker, has displayed first-rate abilities to work with politicians of all stripes on positive legislation. Her thoughtful approach is to gather information from all sides before making key decisions. Her leadership skills make her, narrowly, our choice over Fierro. He has served on numerous civic and city boards and has extensive experience that would help him work with council colleagues on key issues crucial to residents.
5th District: Newcomer Alissia Canady will bring a badly needed fresh approach to dealing with the many challenges of this southeast Kansas City district. Canady says one of her top priorities will be to improve communication between City Hall and residents. Canady’s interest in real estate should help her deal with problems caused by large swaths of vacant housing. And her background as a prosecutor makes her a good fit for battling crime in the district. Other candidates are Lance Conley, Ken Bacchus, Bilal Muhammad and Edward Bell.
6th District: As a state legislator, Kevin McManus sponsored good bills on ethics reform and trying to end the costly economic development border war with Kansas. He has the abilities to forge coalitions with council members on crucial city issues such as how to pay for better infrastructure and to enhance city services to residents in the south Kansas City district. The other candidates are Terrence Nash and Henry Klein.