Up next on April 4 in Missouri are municipal elections, and with all 12 seats up for election on the Kansas City Council, there’s a lot of moving and shaking going on.  

The official campaign season gets underway Dec. 6, when candidate filing opens. The deadline for filing ends Dec. 27, and with the holidays behind them, the races will be on.  

While no one can file officially, many of the candidates have already organized and filed information on their campaign committees. So here’s who’s already shown their hand.  

The Kansas City council seats are divided into six geographical districts, with two council members representing each of the districts.  

One of the representatives from the district is voted on by members of the district only. The other district representative is an at-large position with all residents of the city voting in each of the six at-large district races.  

Members of the city council are limited to serving two four-year terms  This time, half of the members have reached their term limit, opening up six seats. But that doesn’t make any difference, it seems a lot of incumbents are drawing challengers.  

Mayor 

KC Mayor Quinton Lucas is up for reelection. So far, the only candidate who has stepped forward to oppose him is Andrew E. McGuire. In 2021, McGuire filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the Missouri Dept. of Revenue; and Jeans Peter Baker and the mayor personally. He was obviously upset about something and still hopes to make the mayor pay.  

District 3

Of course, we’re going to focus on Districts 3 and 5, the districts traditionally held by African Americans. The District 3 in-district seat is currently held by Melissa Robinson, who is eligible to run again. So far, she hasn’t shown her hand yet, but she is expected to seek reelection. She has already drawn one competitor, Sheri Hall, who is CEO of Poetry for Personal Power.  

The District 3 at-large seat is currently held by Brandon Ellington. He has two contenders:  Melissa Patterson Hazley, Ph.D., and Darron Story. Halsey is director of Community Research, Training and Evaluation at UMKC. Story is the founder of Change the Key, a music education and outreach program for disadvantaged youth.  

Ellington had a “spat” with Freedom, Inc., President Rodney Bland, so he’s out of favor with the Eastside political power brokers who appear to be backing Hazley. Story has the endorsement of former KC Mayor Sly James, but that may not be enough.  

District 5  

The District 5 seat is currently held by Ryanna Parks Shaw and the at-large seat is held by Lee Barnes. Parks Shaw is eligible for reelection. Barnes has hit his term limit.  

So far, Parks Shaw has drawn one opponent, Desmond Logan. Well known as “Cash Car” Logan, the used car salesman and comedian has a pretty big social following that he’ll probably use to turn out votes.  

With Barnes out of the race, the field is filling up to replace him. Three people have already filed for the seat, plus we know of at least one more person who hasn’t filed his “statement of organization,” but already held a campaign kick-off event. That’s Kansas City businessman Chuck Byrd. He’s the owner of Jim’s Disposal service and a long-time board member of the  Black Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City.  

Also running are: Darrell Curls, Erik Dickinson and Michael Kelley.  

Curls, yet another member of the Curls family political dynasty, previously served on the Hickman Mills School Board and is a member of the board of directors of Freedom, Inc.  

Dickinson is president of Urban Ranger Corps and has spent 30 years serving children and families in Kansas City. Michael Kelley is the policy director for BikeWalkKC.  

Overall, it’s a great group of candidates in this race.  

Other Districts 

There may be more African-American candidates running in other districts since African Americans are not just limited to representing Districts 3 and 5. As the African-American community continues to move out of the urban core, increased diversity will lead to more diversity in the candidates running and winning in other districts. A good quality candidate can win wherever they run.

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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