Current Title/ Position: Councilwoman of the 4th District
Education: B.S. from Missouri State University and J.D., Law from University of Missouri-Kansas City
Bio: Justus was raised in Branson, Missouri and attended Branson High School. She was elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2006, representing the 10th Senatorial District in Kansas City, serving as the Missouri Senate Minority Leader in her final two years. As a Kansas City councilwoman, Justus is chair of the Airport Committee, co-chair of the Legislative Committee, and vice chair of the Finance Committee. Since 2003, Jolie has served as the director of pro bono services for Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. Jolie and her wife, Lucy, live in the Longfellow neighborhood, along with a pack of energetic rescue dogs.
Top three priorities as Mayor: Public safety, Transportation, Housing
Why should Historic Northeast vote for you? “I have for the last 13 years been representing Kansas City as a state senator and now as a council person and I have shown a record of getting things done. I have been effective and I have actually made change. I am asking for the Northeast resident’s support because I want to make sure that we have strong leadership to keep the city moving forward and also make sure that the success the region feels for Kansas City, that we feel it at the neighborhood level.”
Pre-K Tax Plan: She supported the Pre-K Plan.
Paseo Name Change: She voted YES on renaming The Paseo.
What sets you apart from other candidates? “For the last 20 years, I have dedicated my career to giving back to my community. As a pro bono lawyer, a Missouri State Senator and a city councilperson, I have a proven track record of getting things done and standing up for our most vulnerable citizens. I am a pragmatic leader who works across many divides. I am an honest broker who treats everyone with respect. Making sure that all voices have a seat at the table is the first step to bringing people together with competing agendas in a volatile political environment. My record demonstrates my ability to build bridges rather than walls, and that is exactly what I will do as mayor of Kansas City. More collaboration– less agitation.”
Favorite spot in KC: “My favorite place in KC is the foot of the ASB Bridge, on the Riverfront Heritage Trail in Berkley Park.”
Current Position/Title: Councilman of the 3rd District At-Large
Education: J.D., Law from Cornell University and Bachelor’s degree from Washington University
Bio: Lucas was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of a working, single parent. He attended Barstow School and pursued debate and athletics extracurricular activities. High School Debate sparked interest in politics and he secured a college internship in the Kansas City Mayor’s office through the CORO Fellowship Program and upon graduation, a position on a State Senate campaign in St. Louis. Lucas studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, focusing on politics and the culture of apartheid. He joined the Kansas University faculty of Law in 2012. He is currently 3rd District Councilman At-Large and serves as Chair of the City Council Housing Committee. Lucas is a self-avowed “super fan” of the Kansas City Chiefs and the KU Jayhawks. He currently lives in the 18th & Vine District.
Top Three Priorities as Mayor: Education, Violent crime/public safety, Affordable Housing
Why should Historic Northeast vote for you? “Northeast voters know me. We have had a lot of fun interactions over time; they know I will always talk to them. I’ll always interact, whether it be on the Facebook page or along Independence Avenue. At least what you want is someone who will talk to you and show that they care. We may not always agree, but you know where I stand.
Pre-K Tax Plan: He opposed the Pre-K plan.
Paseo Name Change: He voted Yes on renaming The Paseo.
What sets you apart from other candidates? “You know from me you’ll always get someone who responds, doesn’t always agree, but responds. I’ll listen to you, and I will work my hardest to make sure that we can come to some sort of resolution and hopefully some level of compromise. One other thing is that is easy to get to ‘no,’ it is much harder to get to ‘yes.’ How do you introduce and pass policies to make things better in our community everyday? What I’ve said all along is that I will spend everyday and make sure we can find consensus. The reason you see my name in those editorials or the newspaper is because I am involved in every issue I think that has been important to this city, because I care, because I’ve worked hard, and because I always try to get to ‘yes,’ for what is best for people in Kansas City.”
Favorite Place in KC: “Upper level of Arrowhead stadium, I’ve been sitting there for years, it’s home for me.”
Bio: Robinson is Board President for Kansas City Public Schools. She began her social service career at the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime serving as Director of Crisis Intervention. She is currently employed with the Black Health Care Coalition as the President and she is the host of “Voices From Midtown and Beyond”, a weekly radio program. Robinson obtained a Bachelors of Science degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She was also named a “Top Forty Under Forty” by Ingrams Magazine.
On the issues:
Crime: Combat crime by securing financing and resources for preventive behavioral supports for families and children, strengthening economic security for families, establishing common sense gun control policies, expanding conflict resolution services, building awareness of alternative solutions to disputes and anger, building a citizen-led agenda to address issues related to policing and the criminal justice system
Affordable Housing: Believes Neighborhood Associations are the lifeblood of the city, especially in the 3rd District. Is committed to ensuring neighborhoods in the 3rd District have citizen-led housing plans with accompanying financing models.
Education: She is committed to ensure all children have access to a globally competitive education. Her focus is high student expectations, classroom focused finance, parent leadership and community engagement.
Economic Development: Create good paying jobs and training programs for the local workforce.We can stimulate economic growth and development in the third district and surrounding areas.
JOSEPH “JOEYCUTS” THOMAS
Bio: Joey is a licensed barber, mentor, father, and entrepreneur who grew up and currently resides in Kansas City’s 3rd District. In 2007, he started his first business, Joey Cuts Barber Salon on 39th Street. He started the Know Joey? Foundation in 2007 to raise money to provide food for the homeless during Thanksgiving. He also started the Fresh Cut, Fresh Start community challenge, providing free haircuts and school supplies for Kansas City’s youth. He is also a proponent for Turn The Page KC, and offers books in his barbershops to increase reading among Kansas City’s youth.
On the issues:
Crime: Reduce crime by dealing with systemic issues that are at the root of crime; poverty, mental illness, addiction, and homelessness.
Economic Development: Increase economic development with additional investments in the urban core– beyond property development activity.
Affordable Housing: Does not believe $1,600/month is affordable housing. Does not believe residential developers should be given tax incentives without guaranteeing that taxpayers are treated equitably and humanely.
Education: Improve education by supporting every child gaining access to quality education and ensuring that they have the same ability to thrive as peers in more affluent areas.
Gentrification: Believes there needs to be thoughtful consideration given to the impact on current 3rd District residents as houses and land are being purchased by individuals who do not live in the 3rd District.
Bio: Born and raised in Kansas City, he currently serves as a Kansas City firefighter. Jolley received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics from Emory University and Law Degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law. As an attorney, Geoff also served alongside Congressman Emanuel Cleaver for 13 years as Acting Chief of Staff and District Director. Currently, he is President of Jolley Strategies, LLC.
On the issues:
Crime: “As a Kansas City firefighter and Northeast resident, I have seen first-hand the aftermath of violent crime in our community and am committed to creating safer neighborhoods. We must continue to engage our law enforcement, stakeholders, and fellow neighborhood residents to identify strategies for addressing this issue, such as providing KCPD with additional tools, resources, and technology to fight crime, increasing community policing, and reducing potential locations for criminal activity, such as vacant buildings in the neighborhood. However, we must also acknowledge that addressing the issue of crime will take a holistic approach by the entire community, including helping people get out of poverty, by providing quality education and job opportunities with livable wages, affordable housing, and hope for a better tomorrow.”
On the issues:
Education: “As a husband of a Kansas City Public School teacher and the father of two young daughters in the Kansas City Public School system, I understand the importance of quality education for our future generations. We must work in a collaborative manner with our partners at Kansas City Public Schools and other area schools, to ensure ALL children have the opportunity for affordable, quality education. I am committed to identifying tools and resources at the City to help support the efforts of our educators, by creating a safer, cleaner, healthier environment in the community around our schools, thereby allowing for better opportunities for learning inside our schools.”
Affordable Housing: “As a resident of the Historic Northeast, many of my neighbors include multiple generations of family members living together in the same residence – some by choice, but many out of necessity due to the increased costs of housing and transportation on their family budgets. As a City, we must ensure that as we grow and thrive, that we don’t leave anyone behind; therefore, we can not continue to subsidize luxury housing for some, while others are struggling to make ends meet. During most of the nearly 14 years I worked for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver as his District Director and General Counsel, the Congressman served on the Housing Subcommittee and we learned that communities across our nation face this same issue, which is why I look forward to engaging stakeholders from Kansas City and elsewhere to identify best practices for addressing this growing issue.”
Economic Development: “Fostering and encouraging economic development must be a priority for our community, including creating quality jobs that pay a livable wage, supporting innovation, workforce development, and promoting small businesses. The Historic Northeast has great potential for additional economic development, including capitalizing on a new federal program around Opportunity Zones. As our City has a $1.7 Billion annual budget, a $4.5 Billion obligation for the Overflow Control Plan (leading to higher water bills), a $1.5 Billion new KCI airport project, $800 Million GO Bonds for infrastructure improvements, and many more projects underway, we must be strategic, sensible, and sustainable with our investments and utilize data and performance metrics to ensure our fellow taxpayers are getting the greatest returns on their investments.”
Bio: Bunch received a Bachelor of Arts from William Jewell College in 2004, was an intern at BikeDenver in 2008, and became Director of Education for BikeShareKC in 2012. He is currently BikeWalkKC’s Policy Director and Co-Founder. His interest in pedestrian and bicycle advocacy dates back to his days as a cross country and track athlete in high school and college. Now, most of his time is dedicated to increasing public awareness on the topic of active transportation and the built environment. Eric serves as the chair of the Kansas City, Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. One of his current projects is SidewalksKC, an initiative to improve sidewalk policy through active engagement of a diverse stakeholder group.
On the issues:
Education: “I will ensure the city is a great partner with the 15 school districts that serve KCMO students. This starts with prioritizing public improvements that make our school zones safe and inviting. Schools should be neighborhood anchors and I believe the city should work harder to ensure that is true. I also believe that every parent should have the ability to provide their kids with quality early education. As a city council member I will work for universal Pre-K in our most vulnerable communities.”
Affordable Housing: “A thriving, healthy community must have housing that is not only affordable but is close to great schools, parks, jobs, and public transportation. I will champion policies that ensure that housing is affordable and accessible for all. Kansas City is booming and I believe we can adapt to meet the growing demand for housing while continuing to honor and preserve our unique historic character. To stabilize rising rents I will work to encourage development of new homes of all types, especially affordable housing.”
Crime: “Violent crime will not be significantly reduced unless we begin treating its root causes. We must build on the success of the Northeast — reducing homicides to zero is no coincidence. I will also work to ensure that innovative evidence-based programs like Aim4Peace are adequately funded and expanded. Also I will explore ways to replicate programs like One Summer Chicago Plus that puts at-risk youth to work revitalizing neighborhoods and showed a statistically significant impact on crime among the participants.”
Economic Development: “We have two fundamentally different cities within the 4th district – one that is witnessing unprecedented growth and redevelopment while the other city continues to struggle with blight and disinvestment. We must protect residents from displacement in our rapidly redeveloping neighborhoods through sound housing policy but also make sure we reinvest in our more distressed neighborhoods. We must also continue to improve quality of life, particularly through expansion of public transportation and delivery of basic infrastructure, across the whole city to ensure that neighborhoods are livable and accessible.”
1st District At-Large
Bio: A native Kansas Citian, O’Neill grew up in South KC and currently resides in the Northland. In 1993, he bought the Labor Beacon, a newspaper formed in 1954 that reported news from a laborer’s perspective. O’Neill has over 20 years of experience reporting and editorializing on the subject of labor. Today, he sits at the leadership table with most of the labor leaders in Kansas City, working to shape the future of the labor movement and continuing to work on the newspaper that has nearly 30,000 subscribers.
On the issues:
Affordable Housing: “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? I believe in granting incentives for developments in parts of the city where development is needed, I believe firmly that certain requirements, like prevailing wage, local workforce inclusion, MWDBE percentages and low income housing or, at minimum, affordable housing, should be part of any agreement.”
Economic Development: “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. Having a strong relationship with our local building and construction organizations, I will use my time in office to significantly grow opportunities for minorities in the skilled trades. I will work as a liaison between the minority communities and the local construction community to bolster inclusion of the un- and under-employed.”
2nd District At-Large
Bio: Loar currently represents Kansas City’s 2nd District At-Large. For the 2015-2019 council term, Mayor Sly James has appointed Loar to serve as Chairwoman of the Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Jobs Committee. Loar is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, having lived in the Northland for more than 40 years. She has been a public sector employee, a senior level private sector executive, and community organizer. A graduate of Park University, Teresa served two terms on the North Kansas City School Board of Education, serving one year as President. She then served two terms as a City Councilmember with the City of Kansas City, Missouri. She also served on the Neighborhood and Community Service Committee, forming the Northland Neighborhoods Inc., a community development corporation that focuses on economic stabilization and prosperity in the neighborhoods.After her public service, Teresa joined Black and Veatch Engineering in 2001 as a Business Development and Government Relations Manager targeting projects for public works and transportation facilities for capital improvements. In 2011, her time at Tetra Tech was marked by her opportunity to support efforts in Afghanistan where she spent two years. As a Senior-Level Communications Specialist and as a MIS Manager/Technical Writer, she developed materials in support of the USAID Office of Infrastructure, and the Afghanistan Engineering Support Program (OIEE/AESP) in the Kabul office.
3rd District At-Large
Bio: Representative Brandon Ellington, a Democrat, represents part of Jackson County and Independence in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was first elected in a November 2011 special election. He is a graduate of Paseo High School and attended Penn Valley University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has served as the Chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus (2015-2017), the Vice Chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus (2013-2015), and he is currently serving as the House Minority Whip.
He is the cofounder of Voices of the People, a member of We the People, and serves as president of I Am My Brother’s Keeper. He is also a member of Giving Yourself Real Love (G.Y.R.L.).
On the issues:
Crime: Says we have not done anything to change the paradigm. Addresses minorities released from prison, who are unable to get jobs, housing, go to college, get loans, so come back to the inner city and the same cycle of crime continues.
Economic Development: Supports organic economic development, not giving away money to large corporations. Figuring out ways to lessen the burden on small businesses to grow them organically.
Education: Supports after-school sports in inner city schools. Says lack of amenities, community centers, educational mentorship, and viable alternatives for the youth in inner city schools is a direct correlation to crime influx.
WALLACE HARTSFIELD, II
Bio: Rev. Dr. Wallace Hartsfield, II was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He and his wife, Dr. Amy Hartsfield, have been married for 29 years. He is the senior pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and an Associate Professor at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the Conservatory of Music and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Master of Divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) and an earned Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Emory University.
On the issues:
Economic Development: Invest in workforce development and job creation.
Affordable Housing: Build and renovate housing choices suited to all types of households and household incomes.
Crime: Create livable neighborhood spaces that are supported by local businesses and entrepreneurs.
4th District At-Large
Bio: Shields is the 4th District Councilwoman, elected in 2015. Mayor James appointed Shields to serve as Vice Chair of the Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee, Vice Chair of the Youth Development Committee and a member of the Legislative Committee. Born in Kansas City, Shields received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and a Master’s in 1971 and Law Degree in 1978. After serving as an assistant Jackson County prosecutor in 1978 and 1979 she went into private practice. She served on City Council from 1987 until 1994, when she was elected County Executive. While on the Council, she championed the 1% for Art Program and an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
On the issues:
Crime: ”It is important to remember that the City does not control the Kansas City Police Department, which is controlled by a Police Board appointed by the Governor of Missouri. The City can urge the Police Department to follow more efficient policies, but cannot compel such efficiencies The City can address some of the most significant contributors to increased crime – mental health, youth unemployment and lack of organized activities, abandoned houses – and I support such programs.”
Education: “The City does not control any of the fourteen School Districts within our boundaries. Each School District is governed by an elected School Board. We can – and do – support the efforts of every one of these Districts. I support a strong pre-school program in each District, but I do not support the proposed 3/8th cent sales tax. NONE of the 14 School Districts were consulted on the structure of the proposed plan and all of them oppose it because it drains off tax dollars without significantly increasing the number of children to be enrolled in quality pre-schools.”
Affordable Housing: “I am a strong advocate for affordable housing. Four two years, I was the Executive Director of the Westside Housing Organization, a non-profit that specialized in low-income housing in Kansas City’s Northeast and Westside. On the Council, I have worked to tie creation of affordable housing to the Downtown luxury housing developments. At a time when the federal government has all but abandoned its responsibilities, I have procured – for the first time ever – a specific City funding source devoted to affordable housing. I have worked with Legal Aid to see more housing repaired and reused – because it is better for a neighborhood to be built up than torn down.”
Economic Development: “We need to encourage economic development and recognize that it is not a zero-sum game. Often it is a complex process that cannot be governed by simple, one-size-fits-all rules – when it comes to Tax Increment Financing or any other aspect of the City’s “tool box” needed to build our economy and create jobs. I have opposed some development projects I felt were unfair – but I have also used the flexibility afforded by the existing rules to force developers to respond more responsibly and get better deals for the City. Any attempt to end that flexibility would do far more harm than good.”
Bio: Robert Westfall, a proud native of Kansas City, was born and raised in the Northland, and currently lives downtown. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has spent much of his professional career working in the Learning and Development field, designing programs to improve the skills and training of workers and job seekers. As a business owner, he has long been an advocate of entrepreneurship and small business creation, working with organizations such as the Kauffman Foundation on various initiatives. He has been involved in numerous efforts to combat homelessness and addiction, improve education, and reduce crime. When not working long hours, he spends quiet time with his partner Vanessa, an accomplished singer and musician, and her children.
On the issues:
Economic Development: Not opposed to using incentives to generate development and redevelopment, but will not waver on belief that economic development tools, such as TIF, need to be used in the ways they were originally intended. Every proposal must be scrutinized and evaluated by objective people, and judged against a truly fair criteria to ensure that growth is occurring in the places most in need
Affordable Housing: Says when it comes to the topic of affordable housing, we are playing catch-up because of the decisions of the City Council in the past and we are creating a scene out of medieval times, with the rich enclaves being staffed by the serfs, or in our case the bartenders, baristas, hotel workers, and so on that can’t afford to live where they work. Says t’s time we seek out and approve proposals for projects that will serve the needs of those doing all the serving. Surely, we can agree that we’re still trying to fix decades of segregation from the mistakes of the past, so why would we knowingly create a whole new segregation for the future?
Crime: Says that while this is tragic, we need to understand homicide is not the primary indicator of a city’s overall crime situation. Many homicides are committed by people that know their victims and as such they are not random acts. They may occur due to mental health issues, or situations that escalated, or a failure to resolve differences in a non-violent way. We need to bring real life opportunity to all of our citizens. We need to have those social and mental health services at the ready. We need to do a better job of teaching our youth that there are better ways to resolve conflict than with violence. And we need to reset the relationship between law enforcement and citizens.
Education: Believes we need to work harder developing those public-private partnerships around job skills training that can help those who do not seek higher education to acquire marketable skills in trades, or healthcare, or technology. We have employers in the metro who lament a lack of workers for these jobs and as such we can spur immediate economic boost on both the employer and employee side with such partnerships. Says an extension of education is the movement into entrepreneurship, a topic that is not getting nearly the attention it deserves in this election. We need to make small business creation a primary focus over the next decade, because locally-owned businesses strengthen a community as much as home ownership does.
5th District At-Large
LEE BARNES JR.
Bio: Barnes began his career at Hallmark as an Engineer, then started his own businesses, and now as the Director of Operations for Swope Corridor Renaissance/Upper Room, Inc., he has learned firsthand how private business, not-for-profits, and government can work together to benefit one another. Barnes was elected city-wide to the Kansas City School District Board of Education, chosen by peers to serve as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He has also served on the Tax Increment Finance Commission, and as Chairman of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA). Barnes helped to restart the 63rd and Prospect Redevelopment Plan, and worked with the KCPS District to repurpose 24 surplus buildings. He has worked to create affordable housing for Seniors, repurposing the abandoned Blenheim Elementary School, and helped to launch the ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ initiative, helping volunteers make repairs at homes owned by senior citizens.
On the issues:
Crime: “The city added Community Interactive Officers which was a step in the right direction, but additionally, I believe that we must make sure that neighborhood and community-based leaders should be more engaged with those CIO’s to work on preventative strategies.”
Education: “The city council should continue to work to ensure that our children live in safe and clean walkable neighborhoods with an environment that is conducive for families to thrive. Healthy neighborhoods can be a critical part of the fabric of a child’s education experience.”
Affordable Housing: “I believe the emphasis needs to be placed on developing incentive programs and public/private partnerships with residential builders and not-for-profit organizations to address the housing needs of the majority of residents that fall between 60 and 80 percent of Area Median Income(AMI). This population has not been discussed much when it comes to housing needs, but they suffer the financial and social consequences of insufficient affordable housing as much as lower income individuals.”
Economic Development: “I will continue to support economic development incentives and tools used for projects that create new jobs in Kansas City, particularly projects that are in severely distressed census tracts that address affordable and workforce housing.”
Bio: Williams currently serves as the President/CEO of the Twelfth Street Heritage Development Corporation, an organization that has built and rehabbed a number of homes in the Urban Core of Kansas City Missouri. He also started the Prison-to-Workforce Pipeline, a re-entry program for individuals who have been recently released from the prison system. To date, TSHDC’s re-entry program has hired approximately 150 men and women. In 2010, Williams also added a Youth Mentoring program to the expanding role of Twelfth Street Heritage. Williams has served on several boards in Kansas City, including the Regional Board of Directors for the Mid- American Union, Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund, Boys and Girls Club of Eastern Jackson County, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC), and Port Authority Fund for Minorities and Women.
On the issues:
Crime: “I would like to see more neighborhood policing and the police department becoming a bigger, more positive influence on local communities.”
Education: “Early education childhood programs are where our children get the fundamental basics for education, helping to set the standards at an early age is the key to social and economic empowerment. Also with the understanding that every Student is not going to college, there should be a larger emphasis on trades schools.”
Affordable Housing: “I would use incentives for developers to work with CDC to build affordable housing and public subsidized housing.”
Economic Development: “There are certain projects that the City will have to carry the debt on. As an At- Large candidate, my responsibility is to look at the City, with emphasis on the district that I represent. I am not in favor of giving wealthy developers tax incentives without the investment in our public schools, jobs for working families in our neighborhoods, and improved area conditions for existing residents. I am in favor of moving Kansas City forward! Areas that are in distressed census paths, will receive my full attention.”
6th District At-Large
Bio: Bough received a B.S. in Political Science from Missouri State University and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Throughout her legal career, she has worked with various municipal governments in the greater Kansas City area, chaired the Mayor’s Commission on Ethics Reform and served on the Kansas City Charter Review Commission. She previously served as Jackson County Democratic Committeewoman for the 8th Ward. Bough has been active in political, civic and community activities and organizations by supporting causes and candidates that support social justice and ensure that all are providing an opportunity to succeed.
On the issues:
Crime: “Public safety investment has to be a tenant and priority of our budget through providing more officers on the streets and greater engagement with the community to stem the unacceptable violence in our City. We also need to encourage the community to work with police to deter crime and solve crimes that have been committed by building better relationships. As we address public safety, we must consider the underlying causes that contribute to violent crime, and mental health, living wage jobs, and adequate, affordable housing must be part of the conversation.”
Education: “Education, and especially early education, is critical to the development and well-being of our youngest citizens. As a Council and an entire City, we need to work with the school districts and our civic and charitable partners to assist with finding ways to provide access to early childhood education, after-school activities and summer jobs and internships, which will help provide a framework in which to address other issues that affect our City.”
Affordable Housing: “The City’s approach to addressing affordable housing and the lack thereof must be a multi-level approach that includes a focus on those with low-incomes, creating approximately 5,000 units around transit, schools and jobs. As part of the program and policy, we must expand the minor home repair program and create energy efficient/weatherization programs to reduce utility costs. Finally, as part of the program we must work to provide quality jobs so that individuals can afford to own or rent a home.”
Economic Development: “Economic development, when planned and developed appropriately, can be critical to attracting development, new jobs and residents to an area. However, incentives to construct those projects should be used only when there is a need and demonstrated City-wide public benefit. All stakeholders could benefit from a pro-active plan specifically related to the use of development incentives that takes the strategic goals outlined in Advance KC and outlines (1) criteria for use of incentives; (2) areas of the City where development (and possibly the type of development) needs to occur; and (3) goals for implementing that plan.”
Bio: Johnson-Cosby has lived in Kansas City for over 40 years. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a degree in Psychology and Communication Studies. Johnson-Cosby then became a real estate broker for Reece and Nichols. In 2011, she helped form the South Kansas City Alliance to link governments, neighborhood leaders, and business developers. She also serves on the leadership of Impact Center Schools and Impact Hickman Mills, to help eradicate the number of homeless students, and serves as Councilman Scott Taylor’s Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) representative.
On the issues:
Affordable Housing: “I will address all things as it relates to housing: high utility bills, new construction, renovation of existing houses, affordable housing, adequate delivery of taxpayer-funded basic services in neighborhoods, including trash service, financing, planning, and more. The goal is to identify the top three to five housing-related problems that we most want to solve to get started.”
Crime: “We will address violent crime in our city, including root causes, methods to deal with mental health issues, conflict resolution tools, ways to offer hope, jobs, job training opportunities, housing, and other issues. We will invite mental health professionals, representatives from school districts, people who have committed crimes, people who may be susceptible to committing crimes, students, members from faith community and crime-reduction organizations. We will identify ways to reduce violent crime, collect all available resources, and create a blueprint that can be used to take steps toward solving various aspects of the problem.”
Economic Development: “I will put together entrepreneurs, organizations that represent them, citizens, and Kansas City staff. This community of job creators/risk takers are actively requesting assistance and support from the city. Small businesses create over 60 percent of new jobs in our city. We need to keep them in business and growing. I will host them all in an open discussion with key city staff to make sure their needs are known, then together we will determine how to best support small businesses in upcoming city budgets and with city services.”
Education: “I support local public education and reflect that support by my service as a part of the Hickman Mills 5 Year Strategic Plan, the Hickman Mills Superintendent’s Advisory Council and most recently, the Impact Hickman Mills project where we, as a community, are eliminating homelessness amongst our 500 homeless students in the next 3 years. I am also a part of the Center School District mentoring program, and Impact Center Schools which will eliminate homelessness among 200 students. I want to make sure our children are given the best chance to live a highly successful life. I reflect my commitment in my service.”