KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With six current members running for mayor, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council will look drastically different after the upcoming election cycle.
Current 3rd District At -Large Councilman Quinton Lucas is among those running for mayor, leaving Missouri Rep. Brandon Ellington and Rev. Wallace Hartsfield II vying to replace him.
“The major concern is violent crime and a lack of economic density,” Ellington said.
There's no mystery surrounding the priorities for Kansas CIty's 3rd District.
“To me the driving questions for the third district is about access and opportunity,” said Hartsfield, who is the pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.
Ellington, who was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2011, sees the same problems.
"When you look at the stigma of all the crime, when you look at the stats, you see all the shootings," he said. "When you look at the opportunities for businesses, you see none."
But the issues on the city's east side aren't merely skin deep.
“Safety just doesn't have to do with crime issues," Wallace said. "It has to do with affordable housing, connectivity, connecting the 3rd District to other districts, businesses, developing entrepreneurs,” Wallace said.
Ellington thinks more effective leadership in the district can make a difference.
“When you look around the community, it proves it hasn't been engaged leadership" he said. "When you look at the lack of economic activity, it proves a lack of engaged leadership."
Both candidates agree that access, business and resources are needed. Both candidates also believe they can help bring that change on the City Council.
“You can change zoning, increase affordable housing, you start to increase economic density by incentivizing small businesses and companies in the area,” Ellington said.
It's about hope and opportunity.
“The hope would be that the next mayor and council would see this area as being just as valid as any other area in Kansas City,” Hartsfield said.
Voters head to the polls April 2 for a primary election.