KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In less than a month, Kansas City voters will pick a new mayor for the first time in eight years.
While both of the candidates on the June 18 ballot have a great deal in common (both lawyers, Democrats and city council members) there are stark differences between mayoral candidates Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas.
As the countdown to election day draws closer, FOX4 is working for you, highlighting the areas where Justus and Lucas have a contrasting vision for Kansas City.
We sat down for extended interviews recently with both candidates and asked them to spell out, in their own words, the distinctions between their platforms.
This is the first in a series of interviews profiling each of the candidates for mayor in Kansas City.
Justus: “While he's really talking a lot about change and really kind of going back to square one and figuring out how do we start over and change and do something different, and I don't think that's what voters want.
"I think they want us to keep up the momentum so that we have the revenue and we have the tools and we have the neighborhoods that are working to address those issues like crime and streets and infrastructure. So I think that's a big one.
"Number two, you cannot exclude the experience piece. I've been doing this for 13 years now. First as a state senator and now as a city council person.
"And my eight years in Jefferson City were really important because when I was there I learned that you have to bring every single polarizing view to the table regardless of party, regardless of urban versus rural."
Lucas: “I'm somebody who likes to say, 'Let's not have more task forces. Let's not have more group meetings. Let's not build more bureaucracy. Let's get stuff done at city hall.'
"I want to get us off the top 10 most dangerous cities list. I want to reform incentives. I want to make sure that we're doing a lot of the work necessary to make Kansas City better. And so I think the speed at which I'm looking to have that impact is key and important.
"Another thing that I think I would say know on her side, she believes that Jefferson City can have a lot of solutions to Kansas City's problems. I don't think that's the case.
"We need to solve here what's affecting us the most in KC. And that relates to creating more jobs that relates to filling potholes, basic services. I think that's where the difference really comes in.”
The candidates also have different ideas on how to leverage large development projects for the city while still sharing the success with distressed neighborhoods.
Lucas: “If you look at a place like St. Louis or a place like Baltimore, fancy downtown ballparks, some good investment into things in the core of the city, but still cities that are dealing with serious issues, violent crime, race relations, how to actually get businesses to invest in the core city.
"I think we don't want to go down that path in Kansas City. So that's why I say, 'Well, it's nice to have the good stuff.' While it's nice to talk about the airport, downtown baseball, etc. Something else we need to talk about is crime. Something else we need to talk about is how we can support better educational opportunities and Kansas City, Missouri."
Justus: “I think that vision is different in the sense that he is saying that we need to stop going after these big projects that are going to keep the city moving forward, whether it's airports or whether it's something we haven't dreamt up yet. And that we need to focus only on investing in our neighborhoods that have been disinvested and been left behind for so many years.
"I'm saying we have to do both and I'm saying we can do both because we've started doing it.”
See FOX4's full interviews with both Justus and Lucas in the videos below.