The fierce debate over the future of Kansas City International Airport is starting to affect City Council races, nearly two years prior to the 2019 council elections.
Patrick “Duke” Dujakovich, president of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, sent an email Thursday stating his intention to run for the 2nd District at-large seat, challenging Teresa Loar.
Loar wrote a guest commentary that ran Wednesday in The Kansas City Star, questioning the rush to build a new single terminal at the airport. The council has been debating putting that proposal on the November ballot, but Loar, who lives in the council district that includes the airport, said many of her constituents don’t want a rushed decision.
Dujakovich said in his email that the 2nd District citizens deserve “someone who will put their interests first, and that includes continuing the momentum we’ve enjoyed over the past few years.”
He said jumping into the 2nd District at-large race was “not an undertaking I ever saw myself involved in, but I could no longer sit back and watch my friends and city be subject to the antics of Councilwoman Loar.”
He said the airport terminal construction project, estimated at $1 billion, would be a huge job creator and a benefit for the city.
Loar said she had not heard that Dujakovich was jumping into the race and that she had not seen his emailed announcement.
“I welcome anyone who would like to run for office,” she said, adding that she is representing her constituents in good faith and honoring what she believes are their legitimate concerns about the airport new terminal project.
“I’m not going to jeopardize my integrity for anyone,” she said.
The council primary and general elections are in 2019.