Guest Commentary

What these candidates want to focus on if elected to the City Council

Star file photo

The Star invited candidates for City Council in the April 2 primary to share their priorities for the city. Below are the replies of those who responded.

Kevin B. O’Neill, 1st District at-large

Why would anyone want to run for public office in these acrimonious times? That’s a good and legitimate question.

For the past 27 years, I have written about the challenges and struggles of working people. About the disparity in wages and benefits that leave so many hard-working Kansas City families living on the edge of poverty. If our city is to grow economically stronger, safer and more peaceful, we have to recognize that far too many of our neighbors are struggling to raise their families on minimum wages. How can anyone contribute to the betterment of our city when he or she can’t afford life’s basic amenities?

Attracting civic-minded employers and creating more and better jobs for our at-risk citizens must be a priority for the new city council, along with better and more equitable city services, like police protection, road maintenance and trash pick-up.

I have long followed the ups and downs, and the in-betweens of politics and legislation that impact the largely voiceless working class.

More than two years ago, I began to think about how I could affect change, by more than just writing about the need for change. I started attending neighborhood meetings in all 6 districts. I attended over 200 meetings, listening to neighborhood leaders and learning what was important to them. I monitored the city’s budget hearings and learned where our tax dollars are being spent — and misspent.

As a member of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, I saw developers getting too many tax abatements with too little questioning from the commissioners. Whereas I believe in granting incentives for developments in parts of the city where development is needed, I believe firmly that certain requirements — prevailing wage, local workforce inclusion, minority-owned contractor percentages and low income housing or, at minimum, affordable housing — should be part of any agreement. Having a strong relationship with our local building and construction organizations, I would use my time in office to significantly grow opportunities for minorities in the skilled trades. I would work as a liaison between minority communities and the local construction community to bolster inclusion of the un- and under-employed on city projects.

This is why I have chosen to run for City Council: To try to make life better for the working families that are the foundation of our good city.

Kevin McEvoy, 2nd District

I am running because when I look at the current council, I do not see someone who represents me. I’m not a lawyer, activist or career politician. I’m a working guy who lives in the Northland, takes his kids to school every day and then heads to work to lead a small manufacturing company. I’m a conservative who wishes that government were smaller and focused on serving its individual citizens more than its corporate citizens.

I’d work with our school districts to set limits on the scope and time frame of tax increment financing projects to get our tax dollars back where they are needed. I’d work with the Kansas City Police Department and my fellow council members to fully fund and fully staff our police force. I’d focus our sidewalk development plans on keeping our kids and families safe getting to our schools and parks. And I’d fight to get the Northland our fair share of tax dollars for roads, bridges, parks and emergency services.

What sets me apart from other council members and other candidates is my dedication to the people of Kansas City over special interests, big campaign donors and billion-dollar developers. Those groups should have a voice in our city. It just shouldn’t be any louder than yours.

Dan Fowler, 2nd District

People who know me as their 2nd District councilman know that I am someone who gets things done — for the Northland, as well as the city overall. For example, I recently co-sponsored a measure to improve the reliability of solid waste services in the Northland that also will save the city money.

The new KCI terminal is another example. As Vice chair of the airport committee, I played a leadership role in bringing this transformational capital improvement to fruition and advanced the mandate of our voters.

When I ran four years ago, my goal was to focus attention on Northland needs and attract good-paying jobs. We have neighborhoods that are aging in infrastructure and in population. I actively fought for and accomplished substantial PIAC and G.O. bond-funded improvements, and secured dollars for blight elimination, neighborhood revitalization and improved basic services. I also was directly involved with bringing the CVS Distribution Center and Costco to the Northland including the hundreds of jobs that came with them.

If re-elected, I would push to keep more Northland tax dollars in the Northland. I also would work with economic development partners to grow the KCI Corridor. which would generate strong tax revenues for the city and attract high-paying jobs. And I would help ensure the new airport terminal is built on time and on budget.

With the support of 2nd District voters and strong endorsements from labor, public safety, business and Forward Kansas City, I hope to return to City Hall to continue my work for the Northland and Kansas City.

Joseph Jackson, 3rd District

The 3rd District is the heart of our city, but the district suffers from high crime rates and vacant properties. Trash lines many of the streets in our community. I would work with solid waste to set up hot-spot teams to remove trash.

Crime is a community problem that must have a community solution. To reduce crime, we must partner with residents and neighborhood associations to identify areas where we have high crime. We could install cameras to record events so residents would not have to testify in court. These cameras could also work to catch those who dump trash illegally.

Our vacant homes are a unique opportunity to establish public-private partnerships via the federal government’s Opportunity Zones program. We could revitalize our city and neighborhoods by providing training programs and jobs. This would also help increase the number of affordable housing units available in Kansas City.

I am the best candidate to represent the district, as I am a former elected official and neighborhood leader. I have successfully passed multiple ordinances through the City Council.

Rachel Riley, 3rd District

As a grassroots candidate, I C.A.R.E. That represents: Community, Accountability, Results that matter and the Empowerment of the people. I am a mother of a murdered son. I am an aunt of a murdered nephew. I have spent my last 15 years addressing the crime that has traumatized our community.

I believe the most pressing needs in my community are to provide each resident of Kansas City the tools it takes to live. This can only be accomplished through job creation, housing, a good education, health, safety, growth and ridding our city of crime. As a passionate servant, I have been an advocate of change for the last 15 years. I care about my community and I’ve volunteered my service.

I am the president of the East 23rd Street PAC Neighborhood Association. I have worked diligently and in collaboration with other entities to bring in the JD Wagner Boys and Girls Club, $6.7 million organization. Our youth receive mentoring, tutoring, leadership and skills training.

I have worked with Legal Aid, the Land Bank of Kansas City, the Homesteading Authority and the vacant houses act. I have been able to assist in putting more than 200 homes into the hands of owners in our community. These properties are now tax generators, and it’s an ongoing accomplishment. I also work diligently with codes inspectors in their efforts to reduce code violations.

I’ve worked diligently with Christmas in October, an entity where 350 senior citizen applicants were able to received minor and major home repairs.

I’ve worked to upgrade our parks with Community Development Block Grant funds. I’ve worked with the Leaders of Today youth program, where young entrepreneurs are business leaders. They are organizers of the anti-violence Family Day and other community events, in collaboration with business entities and the Kansas City Police Department.

I’ve worked with the 311 action center and Community Issues and Solutions, a group that monitors and cleans up the most blighted areas in Kansas City Missouri. I worked with the Historical East Neighborhoods Coalition to address housing and development in our community.

I’ve collaborated with the city to implement a first-of-its-kind 24th Street corridor project that will foster job skills and home ownership for youth and parents.

I am a leader who continues to work successfully to revive our community. Overall, because of my experience achievement successfully identifying and creating tax-generating entities and efficiencies in my community, I would fight for the community.

Melissa Robinson, 3rd District

I have worked in social service for over two decades. I started my career at the AdHoc Group Against Crime and currently work for the Black Health Care Coalition, an organization dedicated to expanding health care for uninsured and underserved populations in the greater Kansas City area. I have served as a volunteer for many causes, most recently as the chair of the board for Kansas City Public Schools, as a member of the Public Improvement Advisory Committee, and also as a member of the Truman Medical Center board of directors.

The challenges facing the 3rd District are vast. Its residents deserve experienced representation. Melissa’s record of public service speaks to her inveterate dedication to the revitalization of Kansas City’s East Side. My top priorities include increasing affordable and mixed income housing, protecting and ensuring the proper allocation of taxpayer funds, expanding access to city projects for minority and women contractors, and further investment in and improvement for Kansas City Public Schools. Above all, I would work to ensure equitable access to Kansas City’s newfound economic bounty for all.

I was born in the 3rd District, raised in the 3rd District and am raising my two young sons in the 3rd District.

Brandon Ellington, 3rd District at-large

The East Side of Kansas City has been isolated from the economic prosperity that is visible in parts of the city. While most residents east of Troost Avenue desire inclusion in that development, their reality is violent neighborhoods filled with crumbling infrastructure and disengaged political leadership. Higher sales taxes and fewer jobs than needed. No new developments or positive results in reducing crime or revitalizing the neighborhoods east of Troost.

Economic density and tax diversification are extremely important, and as a state Representative I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel and observe cities that understood that in order to holistically grow, investments in infrastructure and tax diversification are essential to stabilizing communities. Unfortunately it appears, this has not been a priority of the current City Council.

So I’m running for 3rd District at-large because the city needs council members concerned with improving the city as a whole. We’re dealing with real issues of violence, infrastructure maintenance, city services, economic density, over-taxation, affordable housing, mental health, health care services — and the list goes on. We need experienced leaders with a proven track record. As a state representative, I have consistently been a advocate for the underprivileged and disenfranchised. I’ve introduced legislation dealing with criminal justice reforms, increased educational opportunities, tax incentive reforms, full legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, judicial reform and expungement of criminal records.

I have fought for health care and mental health funding and increased protections for seniors and veterans. I’ve fought against laws that seek to weaken protections pertaining to discrimination in race relations, housing, employment, wages, women rights and LGBTQ issues

I believe that my experience and dedication to improving the living conditions of all makes me the best candidate to represent the citizens of Kansas City at-large.

Eric Bunch, 4th District

I co-founded BikeWalkKC with the idea that big transformational change in our community would require strategic action. That our most complex challenges — public health disparities, poor access to healthy foods and jobs, inequality, climate change — wouldn’t be solved overnight, but that making a series of incremental improvements would play a pivotal role.

I have learned that we don’t have to tackle each of these big issues in isolation. The root causes and long-term solutions are inextricably related. A community where affordable housing is abundant and near jobs is a healthier city. When we expand the reach of public transit, we become more climate friendly. Improving public education is our first line of defense in our fight against crime. And if we elect people to office who are willing to pass the microphone to our most vulnerable citizens, we can unlock a world of new ideas.

I decided to run for Kansas City’s 4th District on the City Council to lend my unique skill set to this task. I am a diplomatic community leader with a decade of experience in grassroots engagement, coalition building, public policy and government relations. I have been a tireless advocate for the residents of Kansas City with a proven track record of major advocacy wins: I led a campaign that secured $150 million to fix our broken sidewalks and ended the unfair practice of charging homeowners for these repairs. I am a community planner, often working directly with City Hall staff and policy makers, which has given me a unique perspective on solving the systemic challenges that negatively affect our neighborhoods.

Jared Campbell, 4th District

My campaign is focused on three priorities: planning for Kansas City’s future, strengthening the relationship between City Hall and neighborhoods, and fostering job creation. Over the next four years, we need strong council members who will provide oversight and accountability for the large projects that will be completed including the new terminal at KCI, the Streetcar extension to UMKC, and the continued spending of GO Bond dollars for infrastructure and sidewalk repairs. Beyond the next council term, we need a plan to help guide us as a city. To that end, I’m proposing KC2050, which would be a community-driven conversation to create a long-term vision plan. I think the city needs to do a better job of engaging residents and neighborhood associations with earlier and more transparent communication. If elected, I also plan on having a regularly occurring community meeting for 4th District residents to engage with their elected officials and city staff. Finally, I want to make it easier for business to start or grow in Kansas City to bring more jobs to the 4th District.

I want to be an advocate from inside City Hall for the residents of the 4th as they struggle to fight the inertia that can happen with government. Running for city council isn’t a decision I made a year or two ago. My desire to serve the residents of Kansas City is over 17 years in the making. I knew in college that I wanted to someday run for public office. I’ve worked to build a strong civic resume as a community volunteer and neighborhood leader. Running and serving on City Council is just the next chapter for me.

Geoff Jolley, 4th District

Born and raised in Kansas City, I have worked tirelessly to make Kansas City a better place to live, to work, and to raise a family. I am running for the City Council to build on our city’s momentum by making strategic, sensible and sustainable investments in our people, in our neighborhoods and in our city.

For over a decade, I have served as a Kansas City firefighter, responding to people’s emergencies on some of their worst days. I have witnessed first-hand the impact that violent crime, decaying neighborhoods and income inequality have on the people of our community. I have also been fortunate to work alongside Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, serving as an attorney for over 13 years as his district director and general counsel, focusing on encouraging civility, collaboration and consensus. These opportunities have given me the experience necessary to be a strong advocate and representative for the people of our community from day one.

The new mayor and council must renew our focus on providing quality basic services for our residents, investing in needed infrastructure, promoting safe neighborhoods and establishing an affordable housing strategy. I believe strongly in accountability, responsiveness, and transparency. With billions being spent on the annual budget, sewer improvements, general obligation bonds, and a new terminal at Kansas City International airport, residents want to ensure their tax dollars are being spent wisely. I intend to use data and performance metrics to ensure we make smart, sound decisions that lead to long-term results. As a husband of a public school teacher and father of two daughters in the Kansas City Public Schools, I understand the importance of creating opportunities for the next generation. I am an experienced public servant, dedicated firefighter and dependable leader.

Katheryn Shields, 4th District at-large

My experience in government is unique. I served under both Mayors Richard Berkley and Emanuel Cleaver on the City Council and then served three terms as Jackson County executive — effectively both “mayor” and “manager” of county government. I served as executive director of the Westside Housing Organization, creating affordable housing.

The city has many pressing needs and limited resources, both financial and legal. Public safety is important — but the city does not control the police department. Education is important — but the 14 school districts within the city each have elected school boards that govern them. We need affordable housing — but struggle because federal and state governments have cut that funding. The most pressing need of my district and of the entire city is the repair and rebuilding of our existing road system. No amount of “momentum” can survive if we allow the city of Fountains to be turned into the city of Potholes by neglecting our maintenance duties or divert general obligation bond funds to flashy new development projects.

Our city badly needs fact-based asset management. That means replacing a wasteful sidewalk repair program of spot repairs, based solely on complaints, to a more cost-efficient neighborhood model centered on rebuilding sidewalks to schools.

But most important, we need an effective preventive maintenance system for our roads. Potholes are not acts of God. Potholes are the preventable result of poor planning and poor maintenance — and they cannot be solved by a temporary “fix” of pouring asphalt over a rotten base. We need to stop potholes before they start, and reconstruct the roads that have deteriorated..

Voters should demand that the $600 million in general obligation bonds that they approved in 2017 for repair and rebuilding of existing sidewalks and roads be treated as a trust fund, not a slush fund.

A livable city needs every cent spent wisely.

Austin Strassle, 4th District at-large

Working in mental health case management with individuals experiencing homelessness, I see daily where policy has failed to help our most vulnerable communities. It can seem pointless engaging in local government, that big donors and corporate interests dictate policy inside City Hall without any consideration to the needs of the rest of us. And for too long that has been true.

Fortunately, there is a lot to be hopeful about, even now. Especially now. Politics is changing. This campaign is part of a massive shift in political power building across the country. Citizens are involved, citizens are voting and so, citizens are winning. More diverse candidates mean more voices are working for the interests of all people. Fundamentally, my campaign for City Council is rooted in the belief that we must shift the balance of power away from corporations and back to working communities.

How do we do that? We do it by creating new avenues of opportunity for all residents, by developing affordable housing, investing in mental health care, supporting young people, expanding public transportation options. The solutions are clear. We just need elected officials willing to stand up and fight for them.

I ask you to maintain hope. At times when it seems hardest to uphold, we need it the most. Let’s build a better future by voting courageously. Vote for candidates who truly speak to your needs and dreams for a more perfect city. Vote for candidates who are honest; vote for candidates who live in your neighborhood; vote for candidates who talk about things they want to create. Show up at the polls. And most importantly, show up for candidates who will show up for you. Together, we will win.

Robert Westfall, 4th District at-large

I was born and raised here in Kansas City and was blessed with numerous opportunities for success. Unfortunately, I squandered many of those opportunities in my early years through some bad choices.

As I rebuilt my life, I realized that I still had it easier than many people who faced adversity simply because of their zip code, skin color, gender or social class. It was then I committed my life to eradicating those obstacles. I became immersed in public policy, became a business owner and a learning and development professional who helps people develop their skills to be successful in the workplace.

We need to ask ourselves if the definition of success for our city is a changing skyline, or is it ensuring everyone has access to a quality education, safe streets, economic opportunity and the confidence that local government is truly working in their best interests? I believe it is the latter.

To do this requires new people, with new ideas, and a new way of conducting the affairs of city government. We must provide the public with more transparency as to how City Hall is making decisions — before they are made. And we need City Hall to be truly accountable for those decisions.

Neglected infrastructure must be repaired. We must bring real solutions to economic disadvantage through meaningful reform in the way we use the tools of economic development. The same winners can’t keep winning at the expense of the rest of the city.

We’re one city, and what happens to one of us happens to all of us. Failing to solve these challenges means that more tax dollars are spent in the long run for less to show for it. We need to combine an empathetic mindset with intelligent solutions, and we need to start now.

Edward Bell II, 5th District

I seek to continue to serve the 5th District and Kansas City overall as a candidate for City Council. My platform consists of key and core points:

First, promoting a clean, safe and livable city with strong infrastructure and city services, strong public safety and strong blended neighborhoods that yield housing that is affordable Next, economic development that has a strong and married commitment to building professional labor capacity, with administrative services that serves as the engine for new economic growth and community development And last, leveraging private-public partnerships to provide wrap-around services in areas such as education, housing, health care and employment services as the assets that sustains new growth and development.

As Kansas City’s native son, there is an intrinsic call to serve the community in which I was raised. Beyond the principles of gratitude and reciprocity, there is a need for community leadership to advocate and create opportunities and access. Life more abundantly expressed through empowering educational opportunities for life-long learners, viable employment leading to economic upward mobility, access to affordable and sustainable health care and housing options, addressing social inequalities and injustices in a proactive manner, while ensuring the delivery of basic services such as road and sidewalk repair, trash and bulky items pick-up, tree-trimmings, and maintaining clean and safe parks -as these together leverage opportunities to create win-win scenarios for our neighborhoods and city. Spending the past four years as 5th District Public Improvements Advisory Committee representative and gaining valuable experience, I desire to continue the momentum of good work in progress by continuing to serve our neighborhoods and communities.

Stephan Gordon, 5th District

I am running for City Council because I am passionate about this city and I believe it has a lot of potential. But we do have some issues, and I want to shed some light on the ones that have not gotten the same attention as others.

Infrastructure: I am aware of the 20-year plans to fix the water systm’s underground pipes.: I’d like to see if there is a way to speed up that process. Also, I am concerned that our children are walking in the street at 5:30 a.m. in the dark, and when they get to the bus stop they have to stand in the street and wait for the bus. This is unsafe.

Murder Rate: We must be proactive and try something new, something different.

The police department is only as good as its source of information. It’s dependent upon the community, and for whatever reason the community in Kansas City is left out. I wrote a neighborhood watch proposal in 2014 and gave it to the city in 2015, but they did nothing with it.

Recently, Vince Ortega, COMBAT director, has decided to take up a neighborhood watch engagement program. Thanks, Vince. I just want the murders to stop. Maybe we will just have to hang up cameras.

Jobs/Education: Technology has changed our entire society, so there needs to be a massive retraining in the workforce. I believe the city can play an important role in job creation and getting people working.

I support city-corporate partnerships, which I talked about in 2015 when I was a candidate in the 3rd District. At that time I wanted Kansas City to partner with Cerner, but now Lee’s Summit has that partnership. High school seniors who do not want to go to college? Let’s get them into construction and trade programs. This could inspire some of our students.

I fully support economic development and if elected would work with my colleagues to move this city forward for better quality of life with safe and clean neighborhoods.

Ryana Parks-Shaw, 5th District

As a health care administrator with over 25 years of experience, I was disappointed to learn constituents in the 3rd and 5th Districts have lower life expectancies than people living in any other part of Kansas City. I knew immediately that I had to do something to address this shocking statistic. I am a working mother, former union member and 18-year resident of the 5th District. I am running for City Council because my neighbors deserve to live full and healthy lives. My husband and I raised our three children in the 5th District and owned two successful small businesses in Kansas City. Michael is a former police officer and I work as director at Hospice Partners, a local hospice agency.

After knocking on thousands of doors, the No. 1 issue city residents were most vocal about is the lack of basic infrastructure. Ensuring that constituents receive city services is the most important job of any City Council member. Some areas of the 5th District are without sidewalks, meaning children and adults alike must walk in the street, putting them at risk of being hit by a car. Illegal dumping and vacant homes blight my district and it will be my top priority to tackle this pressing issue. We deserve to have safe sidewalks and clean neighborhoods.

Not only do I want to improve infrastructure, but it is also important to increase the livability within the 5th District. Affordable housing, implementing trauma informed strategies and supporting economic growth via revitalization and creation of jobs will empower people to pursue their goals without having to worry about the basics. I know am the candidate who will deliver on this commitment.

Lee Barnes, 5th District at-large

Working at Hallmark as an engineer, then starting my own businesses, and now as the director of operations for Swope Corridor Renaissance/Upper Room, Inc., I’ve learned firsthand how private business, nonprofits and government can work together to benefit one another.

First elected citywide to the Kansas City School District board of education, my peers chose me to serve as chairman of the finance committee. I’ve also served as the vice president of the Building Corporation Board for Kansas City Public Schools, on the Tax Increment Finance Commission, and as chairman of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, where I approved the local expansion of the May Technology and Manufacturing facility.

On the City Council, I’ve gotten things done. After 15 years of stagnation, I helped to restart the 63rd and Prospect Redevelopment Plan, and worked with the city Public School District to repurpose 24 surplus buildings. I’ve worked to create affordable housing for seniors, repurposed the abandoned Blenheim Elementary School, and helped to launch the “Love Thy Neighbor” initiative, helping volunteers make repairs at seniors’ homes.

I ask for your vote so that I may use my experience on the council, in addition to my work with Kansas City schools and as the chairman of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority to continue to work with and for Kansas Citians and ensure that policies are developed to improve public services, create better jobs for more workers and see that our children are left a stronger city.

Erik Dickinson, 5th District at-large

I want to represent our community. I would will act as a true at-large council member and bring all voices to the table to build consensus around the issues facing our city. For the last 25 years, I’ve worked with youth and other community leaders through executive leadership positions across a wide spectrum to include Boy Scouts of America, the YMCA, and currently as president of the Urban Ranger Corps.

As a councilman, my focus would be to work with City Hall to turn a keen eye toward the young people in our city. By advocating for better investment in our youth, we can prevent much of the violent crime, lack of workforce development and overall degradation of the social fabric currently impacting much of our community.

I’ve seen the young men we work with succeed when they enter adulthood equipped with the tools needed to thrive. We must do better to provide our city’s youth with a clear path to a hopeful future. I plan to coordinate the efforts of City Hall, The Mid-America Regional Council, the Civic Council and other education and community stakeholders to efficiently pool our efforts and resources and develop early job training programs, cultivate social intelligence, and further identify and mitigate barriers that propagate intergenerational disparities. The impact of this investment will be seen and felt through stronger and safer neighborhoods and a primed cohort of workers ready to integrate into the current and future economy.

Dwayne Williams, 5th District at-large

We need a change in Kansas City and a City Council person who is on your side. I understand the importance of putting Kansas City first. Placing Kansas City first, includes growing our local economy, improving our infrastructure, building better neighborhoods, workforce development, job creation, and establishing youth mentoring. I understand the need for entrepreneurs and startup businesses. I understand the need to involve our youth in decision making for education and entertainment options. I’ve participated in these discussions for many years now.

Throughout my professional career in workforce development, I’ve hired somewhere close to 1,000 employees. I know what it takes to develop and create jobs for men and women in our distressed neighborhoods. In 2010, I launched a re-entry program to help our men and woman coming out of the penal system, providing approximately 300 people an opportunity to become positive citizens in Kansas City.

For youth development, in 2009, I started Mentor KC. This program has allowed us to mentor thousands of young people over the last 10 years. 2018 was our most notable year for mentoring, when we witnessed over 4,000 youth come through our mentoring sessions.

As a business leader in our community, and as someone who has served on the Economic Development Corporation board of directors, advisory board and marketing committee, I understand the challenges ahead as we discuss economic development in Kansas City. I understand that we must continue to push forward in every neighborhood in Kansas City.

Kansas City is as strong as our weakest neighborhood; therefore, we must make sure economic development touches every aspect of the city. I would be begin working day one on behalf of the residents of the 5th District and everyone in Kansas City.

It’s time we give the voice back to the people. I would serve you and be your voice. Let’s take it to the city for results, not excuses.

Kevin McManus, 6th District

Kansas City is experiencing unprecedented growth and progress. Over the last four years, it has been an honor to represent the same district where I was born and raised. I see and feel the progress we are making, and I’m running for re-election because I want every Kansas Citian — no matter who you are or where you are from — to see and feel it too.

South Kansas City is undergoing a renaissance in job growth and investment. Thousands of new jobs have arrived with the continued investment of large employers like Cerner. This has spurred additional investment in new housing, local businesses and retail. In addition, vacant shopping centers and corridors in the 6th district have been transformed. A few examples include East Brookside, Red Bridge Shopping Center and Martin City.

The voter-approved general obligation bonds are allowing us to make historic investments in public infrastructure and repair our aging roads, bridges and sidewalks. Several important projects in the 6th District have been funded, and more are on the way. None of this was accomplished by one person or strategy. It took all of us working together. By working together, we can make progress on the most significant challenges facing our city, such as safe neighborhoods and quality, affordable housing. These issues will take a multifaceted approach and all of us working toward a shared goal — a goal to make sure that every person who wants to make Kansas City their home can do so, and that every neighborhood in the city is a safe one.

That’s why I’m running. I’m excited about what we have accomplished, but I’m even more excited about what lies ahead. If we continue to work together, there’s no limit to how great Kansas City can be for future generations.

Andrea Bough, 6th District at-large

I am an attorney, former small business owner, wife and mother. I would draw on each of these experiences to provide a reasoned and balanced approached to the decisions that face the city. Throughout my legal career, I have worked with municipal governments in the area, including chairing the Mayor’s Commission on Ethics Reform and serving on the Charter Review Commission.

Growing up in rural Southeast Missouri to a father who was a Korean War veteran, school teacher and social worker, and a mother who was employed by the USDA, the importance of social justice, public service and giving back to the community was instilled in me very early. I have been active in political, civic and community activities and organizations by supporting causes and candidates that hold these same values of social justice and ensuring that all are providing an opportunity to succeed.

The endorsements I have received from organizations and community leaders show broad support for my campaign. My approach to decision-making would be one of consensus building to address the complex issues that face our city. I understand the importance of ensuring that all are afforded a safe place to live, access to quality jobs, and the opportunity to succeed regardless of where one lives. If elected, I am committed to continuing the city’s progress in making Kansas City a world-class place to live, work and raise a family. We must effectively deliver all basic services, including snow removal and street repair. And we need to address neighborhood issues such as affordable housing and violent crime, as well as the underlying causes of those problems.

As we address these priorities, I would do so through inclusion, transparency and accountability. I am the right person to work with neighborhoods and community leaders to achieve this for all of Kansas City.

Stacey Johnson-Cosby, 6th District at-large

I am action oriented and solutions based. I created and built the South Kansas City Alliance from the ground up to represent the interests of neighborhoods, businesses and economic development. I am actively working to eliminate homelessness among students and veterans. I also serve on my area plan committee and homes association groups, where our focus is on responsible development that we actually want in our neighborhoods. I build teams that actually get things done, so this work is not new to me.

I have a successful track record over 18 years. If elected, I’m prepared to immediately start working for Kansas City with my action plan for my first 100 days in office, which you can see on my website. I would:

1. Host a housing summit. We are in the midst of our city creating a five-year housing policy, and as the only 32-year-plus real estate professional seeking office, I look forward to using my experience to help solve the housing shortage problem. I’d host industry professionals and citizens to get a realistic game plan in place.

2. Convene a violent crime reduction summit. I would invite the industry experts, including mental health professionals, to help solve the problem as a community.

3. Schedule a small business/entrepreneurs roundtable to identify their current needs for city support.

4. I’d plan a millennial/young Kansas City roundtable where we will hear from our future leaders

5. I’d host my first quarterly job fair that is only open to employers who pay $15 per hour or more.

At the end of 100 days, I’d update the community on my work. I’d use my skills as an experienced leader that is familiar with all areas of the city, our city staff and processes while utilizing experiences gained as a result of my appointments by the current councilmember to two citizen boards —the Public Improvements Advisory Committee and Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund — to do my work.