KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After Jean Peters Baker announced she will not run for reelection, the first candidate has thrown their hat in the ring.

Melesa Johnson, an attorney and the current Kansas City director of public safety, announced her candidacy for Jackson County prosecutor on Friday.

A spokesperson for Johnson’s campaign said she would be the first Black female prosecutor in Jackson County, if elected.

At her campaign announcement Friday, Johnson said she’s a product of Kansas City’s Oak Park neighborhood, but today the beauty of it is being overshadowed by the “unruly, reckless and callous acts of individuals that for a variety of reasons cannot respect themselves or each other.”

Johnson said she knows her neighborhood isn’t alone and that many want to see a change.

“When I am elected my message will be clear: Change your life before I have to change it for you,” Johnson said Friday. “

Johnson’s campaign said her background as an attorney and dedication to public service “uniquely positions her to address the pressing issues facing our community.” Her platform will focus on victim support and advocacy, violence prevention and community engagement, among other issues.

The election for the next county prosecutor will be held in November 2024.

Peters Baker previously said she’s not running for another office, nor will she endorse anyone to take her place right now. Her term ends at the end of 2024.