KANSAS CITY, Mo. — History will be made and representation will expand regardless of who is elected on June 20 for the 4th District At-Large Kansas City Missouri council seat.
It’s an at large seat, serving many diverse neighborhoods north of the river, on the east side, the west side, and a bit down south, and downtown.
It has a populous area that answers to 54,000 registered voters.
Either Justin Short or Crispin Rea will make make history regardless of who wins the seat.
Short will be the first openly gay man elected to council if he were to win the seat and Crispin Rea will the first Latino elected in nearly 30 years, if he were to win the seat.
KSHB 41 talked to both candidates about what their goals are if they were to get elected to the seat and what helps them stand out compared to their competitor.
Short said his understanding of civil duty came very easy.
“I was born and raised in the Northland, my dad was an elected official and my mom ran a non-profit for 20 years,” said Justin Short.
In 2020, he was appointed to the LQBTQ commission in 2020 by Kathryn Shields and Mayor Quinton Lucas. Short knows the history that will be made if he were to win the seat.
“Who I am in a relationship is not my qualifier for office nor is it my disqualifier for office," Short said, "But it is something that is exciting for me.”
While Short lives and works downtown managing a luxury apartment building, he serves on various non-profit boards, volunteering as much as he can whenever he has time.
His primary focuses have been on the goal of keeping a safe, clean city with providing it with opportunity.
“A fully staffed police department, a fully staffed network is what we are going to be looking at,” he said. “Public safety, trash, litter, illegal dumping, bulky item pick-up, all the things we hear about all the time that may have lost a little bit of focus because we have been doing some really wonderful things.”
Short says that until those goals have been met, then the city can move forward.
“Developing a city that people can afford while also continuing to grow and build a city that is fiscally functional,” he said.
His first check box, if he were to win office, is to establish communication in the district. Short says his focus is what sets him apart to his competitor
“It’s our job to educate the public not only and that will be our very first step to reinstitute and re-engage,” he said. “With our office, you’ll have someone who is full-time, fully engaged, and fully focused,” he said.
For Rea, he remembers and honors the World War II veterans from his father generation for helping him achieve the american dream.
“I’m standing on the shoulders of World War II veterans folks from my dad’s generation who got good hard, union jobs that gave me a chance at the American dream,” Crispin Rea said. “It’s my obligation to pass that along to everyone in Kansas City.”
Crispin Rea says his living and work experiences help sets him apart compared to his opponent, saying that experience matters for a seat like this.
“I grew up in a neighborhood that experienced high level of violence and crime,” he said. “I’ve been a prosecutor for the last eight years in the Jackson County Prosecutors Office Special Victim’s Unit where I prosecute those who commit violence against women and children. I’ve served on the KCPS school board,” he said.
Rea says his primary focus from day one will be on public safety.
“We have some very serious issues facing our city right now. I’m concerned since this will be our deadliest year in Kansas City,” Rea said.
Rea said another concern is the shortage of affordable housing and clean areas in the district.
“Folks no matter where you live, you want a clean and safe neighborhood as long as we agree on that we can work hard to change those things,” he said.