KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Next Tuesday, Kansas City residents will take to the polls for municipal election in a year where a significant power shift is inevitable.
A full seven members of the 13-person council (which includes Mayor Sly James) are leaving due to term limits, promising a makeover for a body that has been a common stomping ground for former Missouri state lawmakers.
Among the seven departing members are John Sharp, a former Republican House member, and Melba Curls, a former House Democrat. Kansas City voters might recognize some of the names on the ballots bidding to replace them.
Jolie Justus, who just finished her last term as a state senator as the Democrat minority leader, is running for a spot in the 4th district, while Rep. Kevin McManus, another Democrat, is running for a spot representing the 6th district.
Justus left office due to term limits with immense popularity among many of her Republican colleagues, while McManus’ name can generally be found on lists of Democratic strategists eyeing the next young up-and-comer in state politics.
Since the passage of term limits for state lawmakers in 2008, members on both sides of the aisle can often be spotted jumping from one elected position to another across government lines, sometimes even with overlapping service. Rep. Shane Schoeller, former House Speaker Pro Tem, narrowly lost the 2012 Secretary of State race before easily winning a race for Greene County Clerk.
In St. Louis, the region is equally populated with elected officials leapfrogging. City Treasurer Tishaura Jones was the first black woman to ever serve as House Minority Leader before returning home to run locally. Chris Carter, Alderman for the 27th ward, had an almost identical path.
The Kansas City elections are on June 23.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.