It’s a whole new game with the Jackson County Legislature. Take a look at how this elected body changed as a result of the Nov. 8 election.
The nine-member Jackson County Legislature, which has typically had one, max two African-American members will have a lot more representation following the Nov. 8 election. This term, there will be four African Americans on the nine-member governing body.
They will be joined by two other minority members, making for a minority-majority legislature. In addition, six of the legislators will be new to the Jackson County Legislature.
What hasn’t changed, is that Democrats dominate the legislature – with only two Republicans on board. The other constant is Frank White, who was elected to his third term as Jackson County Executive beating out District 6 legislator Theresa Cass Galvin who gave up her see in an effort to oust White.
With such a large shake-up Jackson County residents should prepare for new ideas and policy changes. Most of the elected representatives ran on a platform of bringing change to the county. With addressing the large increase in property taxes a part of many of the candidates’ platforms, residents should expect a lot of proposals for ways to lessen the impact of rising property assessments on county residents.
Saying theirs to many issues that need to be addressed, returning at-large representative Jalen Anderson is already suggesting increasing the legislature’s meetings from once to twice a week. During her campaign, newly elected legislator Megan Marshall proposed moving at least some of the legislature’s meetings to the evening to make it easier for more citizens to attend.
Besides taxes, the legislators will have their work cut out for them, with issues like stadium reforms, public health, the new regional jail and much-needed infrastructure improvements requiring their attention.
Meet your new Jackson County Legislature
District 1, Manny Abarca — New to the legislature, Abarca currently serves on the Kansas City School Board and previously served as district deputy director for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.
District 2, Venessa Huskey — This is the seat that has traditionally been held by an African American. Ron Finley currently represents this district but chose not to run again. Huskey works for the City of Kansas City as a neighborhood and community liaison.
District 3, Charlie Franklin – Franklin, is one of three returning legislators, completing just his first term. He’s a Certified Public Accountant in Independence.
District 4, DaRon McGee – McGee is a former state representative and current member of the Hickman Mills School Board. He’s filling a seat occupied by retiring Dan Tarwater III for 28 years.
District 5, Jeanie Lauer – Is one of the three incumbents returning to the legislature and one of two Republicans who will be in the legislature this term. She ran for her first term on the county legislature in 2018 after reaching her Missouri legislature term limit.
District 6, Sean Smith – This seat will remain represented by a Republican after Theresa Cass Galvin gave up the seat to run for the county executive position. This is Smith’s third run for office. He ran twice unsuccessfully for the Missouri House.
District 1 At-large, Jalen Anderson – Jalen Anderson is one of three incumbents returning to the legislature. At age 26, he is one of the youngest elected officials in the State of Missouri. Elected to his first term in 2018, Anderson has been active in Democratic politics since his early teens, knocking on doors for Obama in 2008 as well as serving as an official with the local and state Democratic Party.
District 2 At-large, Donna Peyton — Peyton, who is just one year into her race as an elected member of the Raytown School board, will move over to the Jackson Legislature. This seat became available when Crystal Williams, a Democrat who had served in the legislature since 2010, decided to retire.
District 3 At-large, Megan Marshall – Marshall is a proud veteran who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a chief warrant officer after 20 years of service. She was elected to the Lee Summit School Board in 2020. She won her position by knocking out incumbent two-term incumbent Tony Miller in the primary.