The Star endorses Andrea Bough for 6th District at-large seat on Kansas City Council

Kansas City voters have a clear choice in Tuesday’s 6th District at-large City Council election: Andrea Bough.

Bough’s résumé is impressive. She’s worked as a lawyer and a law clerk and has served on numerous local boards and fundraising commissions. She chaired the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Ethics Reform.

She’s experienced in land use and development law, knowledge that will be helpful as the new mayor and City Council work on tax incentive reform. She even opened a now-closed wine store, giving her insight into the challenges of a small business owner.

Bough says she’s committed to extending City Hall’s reach into neighborhoods. “I think that there is a disconnect,” she said. “Sometimes City Hall stays downtown.”

Bough promises to focus on the delivery of basic services to all Kansas Citians: trash and snow removal, street repairs, improved policing, affordable housing. She’ll need to deepen her understanding of those issues if she’s elected to the council, and we’re confident she can do so.

Her opponent is Stacey Johnson-Cosby, a real estate broker and landlord. Her résumé is also impressive — she’s served on the Public Improvements Advisory Committee, for example. Her experience with housing issues and public projects would be helpful on the council.

But Johnson-Cosby opposed the Healthy Homes rental inspection initiative, which provides protections for renters facing substandard living conditions. The much-needed program is paid for with a small fee collected from landlords.

“It sounds great. It’s healthy homes,“ Johnson-Cosby said. But “we didn’t think it was going to work ... It’s only needed for those landlords who aren’t responsible.”

We think Healthy Homes will work — and that all tenants have a right to expect that their rental homes are safe. Johnson-Cosby was on the wrong side of this important issue.


Who decides the endorsements?

Members of The Kansas City Star editorial board interview political candidates, as well as advocates and opponents of ballot measures. The editorial board is comprised of experienced opinion journalists and is separate from The Star’s newsroom. Members of The Star editorial board are: Star publisher Tony Berg, Colleen McCain Nelson, Derek Donovan, Dave Helling, Melinda Henneberger, Toriano Porter and Michael Ryan. Read more by clicking the arrow in the upper right.

What does the endorsement process entail?

The Star editorial board meets with political candidates. The interviews are largely focused on public policy, and each lasts about an hour. Board members do additional reporting and research to learn as much as possible about the candidates. The editorial board then convenes to discuss the candidates in each race. Board members seek to reach a consensus on the endorsements, but not every decision is unanimous.

Is the editorial board partisan?

No. In making endorsements, members of the editorial board consider which candidates are well prepared to represent their constituents — not whether they agree with us or belong to a particular political party. We evaluate candidates’ relevant experience, their readiness for office, their depth of knowledge of key issues and their understanding of public policy. We’re seeking candidates who are thoughtful and who offer more than just party-line talking points. The editorial board will endorse both Republicans and Democrats. We make recommendations about who the best-qualified candidates for these jobs are.

Why are endorsements unsigned?

Endorsements reflect the collective views of The Star’s editorial board — not just the opinion of one writer. Board members all discuss and contribute ideas to each endorsement editorial.

She is also responsible for one of the most negative and unseemly ads in this year’s council campaigns: a cartoon depicting her opponent as a wind-up doll, controlled by special interests, including her husband, a federal judge.

Johnson-Cosby said she printed the cartoon to respond to a “whisper” campaign waged against her. What were her opponents allegedly whispering? That Johnson-Cosby is a Republican.

“It’s the way it’s said,” Johnson-Cosby told The Star Editorial Board. “And the way it’s been understood, particularly in the black community.”

The candidate says she’s an independent, and we’ll take her at her word. But using a crude cartoon to respond to such a mild assertion — an observation, really — shows Johnson-Cosby probably lacks the temperament to serve effectively on the City Council.

Bough says she wants to be a voice for people who can’t speak for themselves. “There are people being victimized, and I think we need to support them,” she said.

Kansas Citians should endorse that effort by supporting Andrea Bough for the 6th District at-large seat.

The Star is partnering with the nonprofit Verify More to conduct background checks on City Council candidates, and you can see the results of that screening process at verifymore.org.