Amid nearly three dozen Kansas City mayoral candidate forums, Startland readers raised a round of questions — some easy to answer, others loaded — but each invested in seeing who will emerge from the shadow of popular, bow tie-wearing mayor, Sly James, to lead KCMO.
Here’s a breakdown of the most frequently asked questions about the race.
When is the election?
A Tuesday, April 2, vote will narrow a crowded, non-partisan field of 11 candidates to two individuals who will advance to a June 18 general election. The second vote this summer will determine who becomes Kansas City’s new mayor, taking office Aug. 1.
Click here to read KCUR’s description of the mayor’s role in KCMO government.
Who can vote?
Sly James might seem like the mayor of the entire Kansas City metro, but if you’re on the Johnson County or KCK side of the border, you won’t have a voice in picking his successor. Polls will be open to registered Missouri voters in Jackson, Cass, Clay and Platte counties on Election Day.
Click here to check your voter registration status.
Eleven names appear on the April 2 ballot.
- Alissia Canady
- Clay Chastain
- Philip “Phil” Glynn
- Jolie Justus
- Vincent Lee
- Quinton Lucas
- Henry Klein
- Steve Miller
- Jermaine Reed
- Scott Taylor
- Scott Wagner
Worth noting: Six of the candidates — Canady, Justus, Lucas, Reed, Taylor and Wagner — are sitting KCMO council members.
Also: Veteran journalist Steve Kraske has cautioned Chastain does not live in Kansas City, and Lee “does not appear to be running a credible campaign.”
Click here to see a sample ballot from the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners.
Why isn’t Sly James on the ballot?
Since Kansas City’s mayor position is limited to two four-year terms — and James was first elected to the office in 2011 — his time as mayor is now up.
One of James’ key policy efforts, however, is among the pressing ballot issues put to voters in the April 2 election. His name does not appear alongside the question — which asks residents to approve a Pre-K Economic Development Sales Tax — but he has championed the three-eighth-cent, 10-year tax proposal that would fund early childhood education across the city.
Click here to read the Pre-K for KC plan.
Does Mayor James have a hand-picked successor in mind?
James released his endorsement of Councilwoman Jolie Justus on March 14, seemingly rewarding the candidate for her support of Kansas City’s single terminal airport plan, as well as James’ Pre-K tax proposal. In early March, Justus was characterized as “the City Council member most closely aligned with Mayor Sly James,” by the Kansas City Star.
As a Missouri state senator in 2011, Justus endorsed James’ successful bid for mayor.
Click here to read which personality trait James says the next KCMO mayor will need to build trust.
Other endorsements in the race:
- Alissia Canady — The Kansas City Star; Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus
- Philip “Phil” Glynn —The Kansas City Star; The Rev. Ronald Lindsay, senior pastor of Concord Fortress of Hope Church; and the Hon. Wes Rogers, Missouri state representative
- Jolie Justus — Kay Barnes, former Kansas City mayor; Emily’s List; Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus; Laborers No. 663; LGBTQ Victory Fund; LPAC; PROMO; and STL-KC Carpenters Regional Council
- Quinton Lucas — Freedom Inc.; Alan Wheat, former U.S. Congressman; and Mary Williams-Neal, former Kansas City Councilwoman
- Steve Miller — Tim Kaine, U.S. senator and former Democratic vice presidential candidate
- Jermaine Reed — The Kansas City Globe newspaper
- Scott Taylor — Southland Progress; IBEW Local No. 124; IBEW Local No. 53; Plumbers Local No. 8; Daron McGee, Missouri state representative; Joe Runions, Missouri state representative
- Scott Wagner — Ironworkers Local 10; Pipefitters Local 533; Mark Owen, Platte County sheriff; Dan Tarwater, Jackson County legislator; Yvonne Wilson, former Missouri state senator; Terry Stone, North Kansas City school board member; and Kristie Collins, Raytown School District board president
Who is Startland endorsing?
Startland — a nonprofit newsroom in the heart of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community — does not make political endorsements nor advocate for specific candidates. The Startland team, however, is committed to covering government leaders with respect to their policy positions and actions relating to startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Click here to read about the KCMO City Council’s recent decision to boost funding allocations for entrepreneurs by $350,000. Council members passed the amendment and budget unanimously.
So where do the candidates stand on startup issues?
Eight of the 11 Kansas City mayoral candidates participated in a Feb. 26 StartupKC Small Business and Entrepreneurship Mayoral Forum, from which Startland gleaned — along with a candidate questionnaire — insights into the role innovative and entrepreneurial thinking could play in the next administration.
“The door of the mayor’s office will always be open to innovators, disruptors and everyone who believes in their ability to change the world,” Phil Glynn told Startland.
Fellow candidates echoed such sentiments throughout the wide-ranging forum, which ran the gamut from de-risking entrepreneurship and the value of risk to how government can build a diverse workforce and get out of the way of innovators.
Click here to read more about the candidates’ thoughts on entrepreneurs and startups.
Keep reading about the KCMO mayoral race