These candidates for Kansas City Council bring experience, knowledge to City Hall

Four candidates are running unopposed for seats on the Kansas City Council in Tuesday’s election.

Incumbents Teresa Loar and Kevin McManus and newcomer Kevin O’Neill are all smart, energetic and prepared to help move the city forward.

Another incumbent, District 1 City Council member Heather Hall, declined to meet with The Star’s Editorial Board.

With several new members expected to join the council, Loar will be thrust into a leadership role as a four-term councilwoman. She served on the City Council from 1995 to 2003 and was elected again in 2015 to the 2nd District at-large seat.

Loar’s depth of knowledge on a wide range of issues is an asset. She is well-versed in the Northland’s most pressing needs. And she is committed to tackling an issue than has not gotten enough attention at City Hall: homelessness.

“I know my community inside and out — from the schools to the businesses, from the faith community to the nonprofits,” she told The Star.

O’Neill, a candidate for the 1st District at-large seat, is seeking office for the first time. He has been a reporter and columnist for the KC Labor Beacon newspaper for nearly three decades.

O’Neill’s labor experience will be helpful on the council. And he will bring a different perspective on a number of issues, including tax incentive reform.

“There is a need for (tax incentive) reform, no question,” said O’Neill, who opposes Question 1, which would implement a 50% cap on taxes that can be abated or redirected to help finance new developments. “But I don’t like the 50% cap.”


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.

McManus, a practicing attorney, is the current 6th District councilman. He previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives for five years. He says he wants to focus on three things during his next term: safe neighborhoods and affordable housing, improving failing infrastructure and improving city services such as trash pickup, code enforcement and customer service at City Hall.

“The city needs a 24/7 level of service,” McManus said.

Loar, McManus and O’Neill each bring different expertise to City Hall, and their constituents should be well-served by this trio of thoughtful, knowledgeable candidates.