Jackson County Legislature: Longtime incumbent Dennis Waits faces two challengers

Dennis Waits
Dennis Waits

Now that Fred Arbanas is stepping down after 42 years, Dennis Waits would become the senior member of the Jackson County Legislature.

He’s represented the 3rd District for 28 years and is almost certain to be re-elected to his eighth four-year term on Nov. 4.

For one thing, he’s a Democrat in a district long dominated by his party. For another, neither of his opponents has run for office before, nor have they waged much of a campaign.

Republican Raymond Wilson has been active in Republican politics behind the scenes for a dozen years. But he acknowledges that he’s running mostly to see how much support a Republican could garner in the district.

“I’m not sure a Republican has ever run against” Waits, he said.

Not true, but Waits trounced his last GOP opponents quite handily a dozen years ago.

Should Wilson win, his focus would be on how county tax dollars are spent.

“I’d like to make sure we’ve got fiscal sanity,” he said, but he acknowledges he hasn’t studied the county’s finances.

Representing the Constitution Party, retired mail carrier Richard McKie said that he, too, has concerns about how tax dollars are spent and would like to see the Chiefs and Royals pick up more of the cost of operating the Truman Sports Complex.

He has no particular beef with Waits, he said, whose most notable accomplishment in recent years was to push for the construction of the new regional animal shelter in Independence.

But Waits’ long tenure concerns McKie.

“He’s been in there so long,” he said. “We need a change.”

But Waits counters that his experience is an asset.

“I understand the connection between recognizing a problem and in finding a solution,” he said.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738, or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

DEMOCRATDennis Waits

Age: 66

Address: 12810 E. 39th St, Independence.

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor’s and law degrees, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Previous public service: Jackson County legislator since 1987

Website: denniswaits.com

REPUBLICANRaymond Wilson

Age: 76

Address: 3608 N. Osage St., Independence

Occupation: Retired from construction management

Education: Bachelor of science in mathematics, University of Missouri-Kansas City; MBA, Baker University

Previous public service: None

Website: None


Age: 64

Address: 3804 S. Haden Drive, Independence.

Occupation: Retired mail carrier

Education: Some college

Previous public service: None

Website: richardwmckie.com