9 candidates for KC mayor address crime, new KCI, infrastructure at first forum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Candidates for Kansas City mayor sat down for the first time Wednesday evening to discuss how they would address issues facing the city.

Current Mayor Sly James was elected to the seat in 2011 and again in 2015. But next year, he will meet his two-term limit, and a newcomer will take over as leader of Kansas City.

Nine candidates are running for mayor: Alissia Canady, Quinton Lucas, Jermaine Reed, Scott Taylor, Scott Wagner, Jason Kander, Rita Berry, Phil Glynn and Steven Miller.

Of the nine candidates, six come from the public sector. Canady, Lucas, Reed, Taylor and Wagner all currently serve on the Kansas City Council. Jason Kander is the former Missouri Secretary of State.

From the private sector, Berry, Glynn and Miller have all found success in various businesses.

Wednesday night, each candidate had a minute to explain how they would handle tax incentives, address infrastructure needs and keep the billion-dollar KCI terminal project on track and on budget. Watch the full forum in the video player below.

But the biggest topic of discussion was how to fix the crime in the city. So far this year, there have been 91 homicides.

The candidates suggested fixing the problem with more police officers, addressing economic deprivation, cameras in neighborhoods and connecting and coordinating the resources that we already have, among other things.

People who attended had mixed reactions to the candidates’ responses on crime.

“I didn’t really hear a plan,” said Sharron Pettiford, who lives in South Kansas City. “No one actually addressed the murder rate or gave a viable solution, a sustainable solution. I didn’t really hear that.”

“I think all you have are ideas at this point and who you think has more of a solid idea,” said Kelli Cain, who lives in the Northland. “I think a plan, this early, is hard to get at a forum like this.”

“I think it’s something that has to be dealt with as a group and one person’s not going to have the best idea to deal with it,” added Virginia Davis, who also lives in the Northland.

The non-partisan group Forward Kansas City hosted the candidate forum at Eastgate School on Parvin Road.

The mayor’s race is non-partisan, so candidates don’t run as Democrat or Republican, but voters will narrow down the field of candidates during the 2019 April Primary. Then the election will be held in June.

The forum's moderator asked each of the candidates why they're running for mayor. Here are their responses:

“This is most important election in a generation. Momentum is solid, but it can easily be lost.” -- Miller

“Momentum needs to be shared, need to be accountable to all neighborhoods.” -- Lucas

“We can only be a successful city if we have successful neighborhoods, invest in all neighborhoods.” -- Glynn

“We don’t need more hope, more hype. My platform is to move Kansas City forward together. Everybody should be winning.” -- Canady

“The city has a lot of momentum. I am the right person, at the right time, to be mayor of Kansas City.” -- Taylor

“I want to make sure everybody in our town lives the life they want and deserve. This is not a short-term job.” -- Kander

“I want to represent ordinary people. They feel like they have been forgotten.” -- Berry

“I love this city. I want to be mayor and continue to move this city forward.” -- Reed

“For me there are things that still need to be done for neighborhoods in this city and the only way to do that is to be in the position to help those neighborhoods.” – Wagner