KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Surviving the pandemic is one thing. Recovering and succeeding following COVID-19 will be something entirely different.
Joe Reardon, President and CEO of the Kansas City Chamber joined FOX4’s John Holt and Kansas City Star Editorial Board member Dave Helling on the latest episode of “4Star Politics” to talk about how the pandemic is impacting Kansas City and what recovery will resemble.
Something that will factor into the recovery happened over the weekend when Kansas City Southern announced it planned to merge with Canadian Pacific Railway in a $25 billion deal. The impact of the deal, if approved, is yet to be seen, but the company has played a big role in Kansas City’s history.
“Kansas City Southern was instrumental in the building of Union Station and really the creation of the rail hub that exists here in Kansas City,” Reardon said. “I do believe it’s going to make Kansas City Southern stronger in the marketplace, which I think is very encouraging.”
Reardon said Kansas City Southern will continue to have a strong presence in Kansas City, even if the merger is approved.
Helling and Reardon pointed out that Kansas City has an uphill battle, like many other cities, as it plans ahead for a post pandemic world. If Kansas City wants to be successful, everyone needs a seat at the table.
“Determining a community agenda today really means embracing the entire community and giving voice to the entire community,” Reardon said. “I think it’s probably a little messier today than in decades past, but that’s critically important. The communities that figure out how to bring that diverse community together and address the real issues in front of that community, those are going to be the ones that win.”
Embracing the entire community is different than making sure everyone agrees. Disagreements are inevitable, but it’s important that everyone has a chance to give their input and understand why decisions are made.
“I think a community like Kansas City, we win when we get rid of those lines and we try to get beyond division, deal with very real issues that are tough, but figure out a way where we all can move forward.”
Moving forward will look different for thousands of people who live and work downtown. Questions remain about the future landscape of business and what workplaces will resemble in the future.
The pandemic has also shown the holes and improvements that need to be made in the public health system.
“I think it’s pretty apparent that they’ve been underfunded at every level,” Reardon said. “We’ve gotta comeback and revisit that issue. And we’ve gotta come back and try to do all we can to make sure that when these crises come again that we have well thought out ways for us to think about the obstacles, or the issues, that can arise when we have a state line between us.”
Watch this week’s full episode of 4Star Politics in the above video player.
FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.