Voter voices: What issues will the next mayor face while dealing with Kansas City’s economic development?
Kansas Citians went about the business of picking finalists for mayor and City Council Tuesday, heading out under sunny skies to polling places at churches, community centers and schools.
Morning voting was consistent and steady at Country Club United Methodist Church at 57th and Wornall. Four exiting voters each reported different choices for mayor: construction attorney Steve Miller, Crossroads businessman Phil Glynn, and City Councilwomen Jolie Justus and Alissia Canady.
The Canady voter, who declined to give her name, said her original instinct was to select Justus, until the she learned of the candidate’s support for Mayor Sly James’ proposed tax increase to fund expanded pre-K. The Miller backer, who also asked to remain nameless, said he thought the candidate could best help manage the city through its heady growth.
Voter Rachel Denton said she too was looking for the best candidate to continue Kansas City’s upward swing.
“I think it’s important (to vote) after eight years of Sly, who I thought did a good job,” she said.
Most exiting voters predicted the race would come down to, as one said, “Justus and someone else.”
Other mayoral candidates on the ballot are Councilmen Scott Wagner, Scott Taylor, Jermaine Reed and Quinton Lucas, bank manager Henry Klein, Vincent Lee and Clay Chastain. The top two voter getters will face off in the June general election.
Reed was out early greeting voters in front of Gregg’s Educational Center, 1812 East 37th St., a polling place with some special significance for him.
“This was the first place I ever voted when I was 18,” Reed said, suddenly choking with emotion. He recalled coming with his grandfather, a beloved figure in his life, who died six years ago this month.
Helen Cann-Tony, 67, said she voted for Lucas. “I know his mother. Good family,” she said. But she also predicted of the final race: “I think it will come down to Reed and Justun, Justine, I think that’s her name,” she said of Justus. “I don’t think enough people know Quinton Lucas yet.”
She also thought there were just too many names on the ballot.
“That’s what a lot of people said at our neighborhood meeting,”: Cann-Tony said. “A lot of people said they’re not coming out (to vote) until they get to the final two.”
Bill Haughey, 70 and his wife, Michelle, 57, didn’t want to publicize their chosen candidate, but also thought the race would come down to Justus, along with Reed or Canady. They said they did not support the preschool tax, feeling that enough money already goes to support preschool.
North of the Missouri River in Clay County, turnout was light, repeating the pattern of past local elections, said David Short, a veteran election official at Kansas City North Community Center on Northeast Antioch Road.
“You’ve got too many distractions today,” said Short, who works as a baliff at Kansas City Municipal Court. “You’ve got apathy, cynicism and laziness.”