Former Royals player steps up to legislative plate

Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
Feb. 27, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Frank White wasn’t afraid to admit he’s nervous. He said he feels like a rookie again.

On Thursday, Feb. 27, the former Kansas City Royals player formally announced from the porch of a family member’s home near Olive and 29th Street in Kansas City his plans to run for the open first district at-large Jackson County legislative seat being vacated by Theresa Garza Ruiz. This is White’s first venture into politics. The primary election is Aug. 5, 2014.

Former Kansas City Royals player Frank White formally announcing his plans to fun for Jackson County Legislature.

Former Kansas City Royals player Frank White formally announcing his plans to run for Jackson County Legislator.

Jackson County’s first legislative district includes sections of Independence, Lee’s Summit, Kansas City, Blue Springs, Sugar Creek, Oak Grove, Buckner, Lake Tapawingo, Sibley, Grain Valley and Levasy. An at-large seat allows all registered voters in the county to cast a vote for that seat.

White, 63, spent 18 years with the Kansas City Royals as the team’s second baseman, earning eight Gold Gloves and five All-Star game appearances. On Thursday, he said his younger self would’ve been in Arizona with the team for its first spring training game. He said he wanted to make the announcement from the neighborhood where he grew up because the area has been very supportive of him and his family. Running for office is his way of giving back to the community.

“As county legislature, I can help enhance and expand parks and recreation programs for kids and adults and work to attract more businesses to the county,” White said.

White said the county’s parks and its county wide programs are the pressing issues its residents currently face. He added that, if elected, he’d work closely with COMBAT, the county’s anti-drug tax, because he likes what the program has done for the community.

Although he said he’s nervous, at the same time, White is also excited at the opportunity to serve the county he’s called home for most of his life. As a player and broadcaster for the Royals, White said he’s met probably thousands of people and looks forward to the possibility of serving these people. Even though he resides in Lee’s Summit, he said he probably spends more time in the area he was born and raised.

“I’d like to be able to put our community in a situation where our kids of the future look at this neighborhood and see that you can grow up in the inner city; you can achieve from in the inner city ” White said.

White said he’s been mulling over this decision for the past two years. He finally decided to pull the trigger and run because the opportunity presented itself and the time was right. If elected, he likens the beginning of his time as a legislator to when he was a rookie with the Royals.

“Like a rookie, I’d go to the veteran legislators and learn as much as possible from them,” White said, adding the current group of legislators hold a lot of experience and respect.