Many Kansas City voters stayed away from the polls in the April 7 primary, and experts don’t expect a big surge in turnout in the June 23 election.
That means every vote will count in the City Council’s in-district races, especially for the highly competitive 1st and 5th district seats.
▪ 1st District: Incumbent Dick Davis has been a low-key public servant for decades, including his last four years on the council, where he worked well with James and council leaders. Davis paid attention to improving transit and saving taxpayer funds on pensions for public employees. Davis knows well the needs of the fast-growing Northland, and wants to build better-connected road systems to serve residents. His opponent is Heather Hall, who won the primary. But Hall lacks the experience of Davis, and does not appear to be a strong supporter of the much-needed city earnings tax, which provides the bulk of funding for the police and fire departments. Davis is easily the best choice.
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▪ 5th District: Newcomer Alissia Canady has stepped up in recent weeks to show she’s a quick learner on city issues and the kind of candidate who will stay focused on the needs of her east Kansas City district. Canady offers valuable work-related experience in the Jackson County prosecutor’s office in dealing with neighborhood blight and vacant housing. And Canady’s energy would be an asset on the next council. By contrast, opponent and former council member Ken Bacchus offers a mostly tired voice of the past, ready to fight old battles with new colleagues. Kansas City doesn’t need that right now.
The four other in-district races have gained even less attention, mostly because strong candidates easily won the April primaries.
▪ 2nd District: Dan Fowler has earned excellent pro-neighborhood credentials while working to improve the Northland. Opponent Bill Super has withdrawn from the race.
▪ 3rd District: Incumbent Jermaine Reed is the most capable council member to represent this urban core district in a decade. He deserves re-election so he can help lead efforts to pursue badly needed economic development projects. Opponent Jamekia Kendrix has gained valuable insights into city matters and, if not elected in 2015, has emerged as a good candidate for other leadership positions.
▪ 4th District: Given her experience as an effective Missouri lawmaker, Jolie Justus will be capable of quickly providing even-keeled leadership to deal with controversial issues that affect part of the city’s southwest corridor through downtown and into the Northeast area. She is our choice over another high-quality candidate, John Fierro, who has gained valuable experience on city and civic commissions.
▪ 6th District: Kevin McManus also has served in the Missouri General Assembly and is a high-energy candidate wanting to deal with improving public services and infrastructure in south Kansas City. His opponent is Terrence Nash.