KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, faces many notable challenges and the next city council will have to weigh in on some critical issues that will shape the city’s next generation.
From affordable housing and violent crime, to the Royals plan to leave Kauffman Stadium and the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the next four years promise to be transformative in KCMO’s history.
All five candidates — Dan T. Tarwater III, Michael Schuckman, Johnathan Duncan, Cecelia Carter and Tiffany Moore — for the City Council 6th District seat responded to KSHB 41’s questionnaire.
Councilman Kevin McManus is term-limited and cannot seek reelection.
The top two vote-getters in next week’s primary advance to the June general election, which will set the council for the next four years.
Answers have been lightly edited for AP style and grammar, but we hope the answers help voters better understand the issues and candidates ahead of the April 4 primary election.
Q: The city has put a lot of emphasis on this in recent years. Does more need to be done and, if so, what policies would you advocate for on the council?
Carter: What we could use as a city is a better coordination and collaboration of resources. There are a plethora of city, state, and not-for-profit organizations in the city with great resources and plans.
I would make sure the Housing Trust Fund continues to be funded as the city works through the process of identifying and opening more affordable-housing accommodations. I would also work on a policy and program that helps the small business landlord mitigate risk with a guaranteed rental period (say 24 months).
This gives the landlord guaranteed payment to work with a low-income person or family, and the renter some time to reorganize their life (with access to social services) and get back on their feet.
Duncan: Kansas City is experiencing an affordable-housing crisis. Housing is a human right, and we need to treat it like one.
Right now, developers often say it is “too expensive” to build truly affordable housing. As long as profit is a part of the equation, housing will never be truly affordable. That’s why I will support municipal social housing.
Municipal social housing is housing that is democratically controlled, permanently affordable, and off the private market. It can be achieved by investing in our Housing Trust Fund to build things like cooperative housing, community land trusts, and municipally owned housing.
Moore: Yes, more needs to be done. Housing must be viewed as an ecosystem, not as individual parts. Every aspect of our development strategy and zoning code must be coordinated under an overarching housing policy that sets priorities and defines measurable outcomes.
Workforce housing cannot be sacrificed for larger homes. Neighborhoods cannot be sacrificed for short-term rentals. All participants must be held accountable for their involvement.
The city’s role should include ensuring that public participation in the development process — which is inclusive of direct funding, tax and fee abatements, zoning accommodations, and property transactions — supports the overarching housing policy and that we have a resilient housing ecosystem capable of meeting the wide-ranging needs of Kansas City residents.
Private investment is essential to increasing the number of attainable (available and affordable) housing units. However, we cannot build our way out of the growing housing crisis. I will recommend a series of efforts for the city to acquire and rehabilitate existing homes and apartment buildings to further expand the Housing Authority’s portfolio of permanently affordable housing options across the city.
This approach can quickly and cost-effectively create and preserve safe, affordable housing units within existing neighborhoods and reduce the blighting influence of problem properties.
My recommendations will also include shifting the current development requirements for incentivized projects to a model based on square footage that produces broader options to house families.
Schuckman: Yes. We should be requiring new developments, if they want tax incentives or breaks, to have a larger percentage of units that are at a truly affordable rate and some at the extremely affordable rate. By continuing to work with developers who are on board with this policy, we can increase the overall housing stock in Kansas City and lower the prices for everyone in the process.
Tarwater: I want to evaluate the plans that have already been put in place and see where we can improve. We do need to improve and I will have some suggestions.
One will be to take blighted homes and rehab them with people that we get into a training program so that they can learn a skill in all the trades. This will help neighborhoods by removing the blight and teach a valuable skill to new people so they too can find good paying jobs.
We can then give these to families in need. They pay taxes and insurance for five years, they get the home free and clear.
Q: What role, if any, do think affordable housing plays in other issues facing the city?
Carter: Lack of affordable housing plays into perpetual poverty. When people are struggling and are paying a high percentage of income to cover housing costs, it becomes difficult to address other basic needs.
Without affordable housing, people are hard-pressed to live within the city boundaries and thus less likely to be available for employment unless they have reliable transportation. Affordable housing within the urban core promotes less reliance on automobiles for transportation and permits residents to use alternative methods to commute to and from work and other basic services.
Duncan: Affordable housing is one of the most important issues impacting Kansas City right now. Nearly 50% (250,000 people) of the population of Kansas City are tenants and rent is the biggest bill most people pay. Access to safe, accessible, and affordable housing intersects with nearly every other issue.
We can’t expect people to feel safe in their communities, have gainful employment, receive an education, or be active voices in their neighborhoods if they don't have a safe place to live. Lack of affordable housing forces the poor and working class farther to the outskirts of our city, and without a great public-transportation system, it forces people to be car dependent which is an additional cost burden and a key polluter to our environment.
Moore: Stable housing is inextricably linked to health outcomes, educational achievements, employment, and crime. Without stable housing, children cannot learn and grow, adults cannot obtain and maintain gainful employment to support their household, and families are unable to plan for the future.
For our city’s most financially vulnerable households, lack of access to stable and affordable housing options perpetuates reliance on safety-net programs and contributes to a sense of hopelessness.
Schuckman: I think it is a big issue facing our community. Many people forget that without a few paychecks, a lot of people would be in need of affordable housing. The pandemic exacerbated this situation and many are still struggling to recover. If we continue to take this issue seriously and act with facts, reason, and compassion, we can make a big dent in the problem.
Tarwater: These issues can lead to crime problems, health problems and staffing issues for local small businesses.
Q: How do you feel about tax incentives, the city’s historic use of abatements to spur development and how they should be used moving forward?
Carter: Tax-incentive programs should be used more judiciously with a “but for” analysis prior to granting the TIF. There are areas of the city that could benefit from such programs and promote affordable housing and neighborhood economic development. I would support TIFs that include community-benefit agreements with firm claw-back provisions (should a developer not uphold the terms of the agreement).
I am a proponent of purposeful planning and development, and the implementation of such projects. I support TIFs if they positively benefit the community and improve conditions for blighted areas, businesses, infrastructure, land-use development, and public access while attracting new growth and providing real working jobs.
There has to be balance along with upfront community and business leaders’ input. The project package needs to encompass what is good for the city as a whole. TIFs should benefit the economic drive and development of the city, and be reflective of what the community needs.
Duncan: Any development that receives taxpayer money should provide tangible benefits to our community. When I say tangible, I don’t mean a promise of future economic growth. I mean things like affordable housing, decent transportation systems and infrastructure.
Historically, development incentives in Kansas City have defunded our roads and libraries and short-changed our kids and schools by about $1,700 per student. I don’t think that’s a fair exchange for our tax dollars.
If we were to only give tax incentives to projects that give a tangible community benefit, not just promise of future economic growth, then we will be directly putting those funds back into our community.
Moore: The original purpose of incentives sought to offset some of the increased development costs for urban sites when compared to suburban sites and spur urban development. Revisiting the original purpose and aligning ongoing use with established priorities is necessary to ensure clear and measurable benefits are identified and realized.
All agreements that include public investment should include a clearly defined community-benefits agreement and clawbacks for unmet obligations. Public investment should underscore visionary projects, long-term holds, and local business activity that aligns with the priorities of each business district or neighborhood.
Schuckman: In the past, and until fairly recently, we have tended to get carried away with them. Without TIFs we would not have revitalized areas like the Crossroads Arts District. We did, however, overuse these incentives and the continued development priced out the very individuals that began the revitalization
We have to use this as a cautionary tale when considering the use of incentives moving forward. It is not an all-or-nothing choice. We must use these incentives strategically, ideally to promote and help smaller local developments and businesses versus large corporations.
Tarwater: We need to make sure that they benefit the community as a whole. We can use them to move a business from one area and blight that area just to move them to a new area.
Q: Should KCPD remain under control of the Board of Police Commissioners? Or should the city resume local control? Please explain your position.
Carter: The oversight of KCPD needs to return to local control. This is a question and conversation that needs to begin in earnest with Jefferson City. The end of the police board will not transition in one year, but community leaders should begin holding exploratory listening sessions to identify what the oversight of a local control police department would look like.
This needs to begin now in advance of Jefferson City legislatures agreeing to the change. I would support beginning the discussion and looking at other city models of police-department oversight.
Duncan: Kansas City needs local control over the KCPD now. It is simply unacceptable that we have a police force that is not accountable to the people they police. Lack of accountability in the KCPD is killing our people and costing taxpayers millions in settlements while comprising over 25% of the city’s general fund, which effectively defunds social services and programs that will actually prevent crime.
Additionally, lack of local control means we also do not have control or accountability over the tax dollars we allocate to their department. We must ensure every dollar of our city’s budget is accountable to the residents and taxpayers.
Moore: Kansas City deserves local control of its police force. The current structure inhibits true collaboration and sustains an atmosphere of distrust and conflict. The pathway to obtaining local control should be intentional and data-driven through a proactive strategy that City Council champions every year until oversight is returned to our city.
Schuckman: Kansas City deserves and needs local control of our police force. The ones carrying a badge and a gun in our communities need to be directly accountable to folks here, not Jefferson City.
For a long time now, the divide between Kansas City and Jefferson City on this topic seems to have been growing. We need to begin to have real conversations that get us on a path towards local control.
I would like to see us set up regular meetings between city and state officials to discuss and negotiate a proposal that would allow us to get local control back. It is an uphill climb for sure, but I think we can work with our state partners and get there if we lower the temperature on the rhetoric between the two sides.
Tarwater: I do like local control with representatives from each district, so that we get a well-rounded perspective. This issue is one that will not be decided by local government because the state controls this decision.
Q: How would you hope to engage new Chief of Police Stacey Graves and what sort of reform or resources do you believe KCPD needs to better serve and protect the city?
Carter: I trust Chief Graves and I would be able to have sincere and honest dialogue over events. Thus far, that has been my experience with the chief.
I would raise the question of residency requirements again in order to have our public-safety public servants living back in our communities and getting to know the neighbors they serve.
Duncan: While I am encouraged by Chief Graves’ public appearances and community-based approach, we know police reforms will never address the underlying causes of crime.
We need more resources for our communities — including things like truly affordable housing, thriving wages, and child care. I would support reinstituting the residency requirements for KCPD to require that the police officers patrolling our communities with guns are actually part of the communities they police.
Moore: One near-term goal would be to ensure the Kansas City Police Department is the organization where professional law enforcement officers and civilian staff build lifelong careers.
The effort will require an unwavering commitment from the department, community, and elected leaders to build, rebuild, and sustain an environment that prioritizes safety and mental health and increases the number of highly qualified candidates applying to fill the openings.
Schuckman: If you can’t already tell, I’m a big fan of conversations. I would like to see our new chief hold regular meetings with the council to answer basic questions about department operations and how we can best partner with her and the department. Regular touch-bases help us be more agile in tackling new and emerging issues in our city and would ultimately help keep us safer I think.
Tarwater: We need to help her with staffing issues that the KCPD are facing. Not only is the KCPD facing this but the KCFD is also very short-staffed and this too needs to be addressed.
They do need the city and the county to work together to build the new detention center. I do see that this is now happening and this will do a lot to curb crime.
Right now, the city does not have anywhere to hold someone in “timeout” when they are arrested for most of the crimes other than murder. With the new facility people will be able to get the mental help that so many of them need. They will also have other wrap-around services that will help them on a better path.
Q: How do you believe KCPD is perceived by residents? And what can be done to improve and/or strengthen the department’s relationship with the community?
Carter: I think the perception of the KCPD depends on what area of the city is expressing their opinion. I do believe we should reinstate the residency requirement. This puts police safety personnel back into our neighborhoods and engages police personnel with the community on a more personal level.
Duncan: The residents who I've spoken with are frustrated with the fact that the KCPD receives 30% of our city’s budget while mental-health and social services remain drastically underfunded. We can improve and strengthen the department’s relationship with the community by actually addressing the concerns the community has, returning local control to the people of Kansas City, and requiring that officers live within and are accountable to the communities they police.
Moore: Perception of KCPD is based largely on personal and community-level interactions with the organization and staff members (sworn and civilian). Inconsistent interactions, particularly when there are questions of equity, perpetuate negative views of the organization.
Improving the perception of KCPD requires the same unwavering commitment from the department, community, and elected leaders to create and sustain a culture that values the individual people who choose to work for and with the department and those that interact with the department daily.
Schuckman: Honestly, the perception is not great at the moment. I think after the events of summer 2020, the relationship between the department and public frayed a bit more. There is a sense the police are only out to “get” the public in many areas. That creates a dangerous environment for both residents and our officers.
I think the best thing we can do is engage, engage, engage. I would like to see officers know the residents in the areas they serve as well as residents knowing their officers. We need the department to show their main mission is to serve us and protect us.
I think this relationship-building also has the added benefit of helping solve and reduce crimes. If folks feel more comfortable talking to officers they know, they may give the tip that solves a violent assault or homicide. They may let officers know an individual who should not have a gun has one and plans to use it. Trust must be built between officers and residents to achieve this, though, and that will take time and honest effort.
Tarwater: I do think overall it is good. Crime is an issue and we need policing to help the neighborhoods. Without people feeling safe, we don’t have community.
Q: Kansas City has seen record numbers of homicides in recent years. What can the city council do to stem the tide of violence?
Carter: The city council can ensure the police department is fully funded and work with the department to implement more community-intervention programs to mitigate the violence. Job programs for our youth are another opportunity to stem the tide of violence, and provide our youth with other outlets to address their day-to-day.
Duncan: City Council can start by addressing the underlying causes of crime, such as lack of affordable housing, lack of accessible public services (i.e. health and mental-health services), and wealth inequality, if we ever hope to actually address the crime problem rather than simply throwing all of our money and efforts at enforcement.
I also support alternatives to calling the police when someone is in crisis. We shouldn’t respond to every crisis with a gun. We need professionals who are separate from the police department and are trained in de-escalation and mental health to respond to individuals in crisis.
Moore: Kansas City 360, the integrated community model patterned after Omaha 360, appears to validate the power of bringing together existing organizations and initiatives to increase their impact and capacity. I’ve seen this model work in other industries and have a lot of hope the strategy is effective here, as well.
This approach doesn’t necessarily need all new funding or administration, and should include the police department and their specialized teams of social workers and crisis intervention trained officers.
Funding could (and should) come from grants and federal programming, philanthropy, and share existing revenue streams with the (city’s) Health Department, Police Department, Housing Authority, and even educational agencies.
Metrics should include the reduction of violent and nonviolent incidents/arrests as well as school attendance, proficiencies, and graduation rates; employment and homelessness statistics; and other similar data that reflects community-level health.
Schuckman: As I stated previously, we need to engage the community and officers more and on an ongoing basis, create a partnership that together can help solve and prevent violence. We also need to think outside the box.
Getting guns off the street is a difficult task in Missouri. That said, we can hold gun buybacks or surrender events throughout the year. Every gun off the streets is possibly one homicide prevented. We should also offer public de-escalation training so individuals can learn how to address conflict before it reaches a critical point.
Tarwater: Wrap-around services, including mental health, associated with a detention facility will help. The CIT officers are great and very helpful for the police and we need to fund more officers with this training.
Q: What other factors do you think drive the increased violent crime and how can the city council address those?
Carter: I think other factors that drive increased crime is the lack of community cooperation with information regarding the crime. The KCPD and City Council need to continue to emphasize the various reward and relocation programs available to people with information that lead to an arrest on violent crimes. As a neighborhood, as a city, we must come together to assist in identifying criminal activity.
Duncan: The root cause of crime is a community that doesn’t have its needs met. As I mentioned above, City Council can address these through things like affordable housing, public services, and transportation.
Short-term solutions involve addressing the immediate and dire need of beds for our houseless population that also provide wrap-around services for our houseless folks. Long-term solutions look like an intentional focus on incentivising affordable housing, economic development for jobs that provide thriving wages, and expanding access to health and mental-health care services.
Moore: Lack of access to stable housing, healthy food, quality education, and gainful employment with wages and benefits that truly support households is inextricably connected to violent crime. All the strategies discussed in this questionnaire can be implemented by the City Council to reduce violent crime by supporting individuals and families in neighborhoods that are accountable to each other.
Schuckman: Crime, in my mind, boils down to a need of some kind — a need for money, food, even sometimes retribution. I think if the council focuses on trying to help those that do struggle the most in our city, the need to commit crimes will begin to subside. This includes housing insecurity, food and medical insecurity, not having a safe space to retreat to, and so on.
While we can not realistically address every need for every person all at once, we can begin to try and find ways to address some. And if something does not work, we try the next thing until we do find solutions.
Tarwater: The pandemic was very hard on a lot of people and we need to get people back to work. We need to help small businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy, so they can get going and hire more people. I am sure that the lack of affordable housing plays a part in the crime that we are seeing also.
Q: While there are numerous major projects proposed or in the works (e.g. new KCI terminal, I-670 cap/park, KC Streetcar expansion, Current stadium, Buck O’Neil Bridge), how would you improve the city’s infrastructure to improve the daily lives of residents?
Carter: The city must address the deferred-maintenance backlog. Neighborhoods have been waiting for sidewalks, sidewalk repair, and paved safe roads for far too long. Now with a reset plan to address the deferred-maintenance needs of our neighborhoods, we must stick to it and improve citizen’s satisfaction with the results.
Duncan: We need to ask ourselves a question: Do any of these projects tangibly benefit the people of Kansas City? If you ask the people of Kansas City what infrastructure improvements we need, they will tell you sidewalks, repaved roads, and increased public transportation.
While many of these projects are beautiful and exciting, the people of Kansas City didn’t ask for a new airport, an I-670 cap, or a new stadium. They are asking for basic city services. The first thing I will do to improve the daily lives of residents is to ask them what they need, and craft policy based on that.
Moore: Leveraging my professional experience in construction management, I would focus on improving project efficiency, reducing overhead expenses, and accelerating delivery of primary infrastructure work to improve roads and sidewalks.
We should strive to efficiently deliver primary infrastructure and major projects at the same time.
Schuckman: First, I think we need to think equitably. Putting a massive deck and park over I-670 while a major arterial road in south Kansas City (Blue River Road) has been closed for years hardly seems equitable.
If we can take on a huge project like that, why not work with our state and federal partners to get the money necessary to rebuild Blue River Road? At the same time, we need to focus on existing infrastructure before adding even more.
We just completed a large backlog of sidewalk repairs in the city but we have hundreds, if not thousands, more areas of sidewalk that need repair, especially in the 6th District. Currently, residents have to go through the PIAC process in many cases to get these sidewalks fixed — but from start to finish, a PIAC project can take up to three years.
This doesn't even take into account deferred maintenance on streets, parks, curbs, community centers (which the new 6th District will have none), and so on. Big projects are fine; they help the city grow. We need to focus on a balance between big projects and everyday city asset-management issues if we want to have a thriving city in every part of the city.
Tarwater: Back to the basics. We need to improve our curbs, sidewalks and streets in all the neighborhoods — not just a few. We should have “hot shot” crews that just react on a daily basis for calls about potholes. You call it in and a few hours later it is fixed. This will save some roads from getting too bad to fix. We need to address safety concerns. Panhandling and the homeless issues must be addressed also, and we can’t keep kicking it down the road.
Q: How do you envision the city’s mass transit evolving before the World Cup in 2026? How important is it to ensure that changes/improvements benefit the city beyond 2026?
Carter: Let me begin with, mass-transit changes in anticipation of the 2026 World Cup must be of a nature that is sustainable beyond 2026 and provide improved public transit for Kansas City residents and visitors. Mass transit must improve the frequency and reliability of arrival times.
Commuters factor waiting time into their commute time. If Kansas City wants to keep free transit fare and encourage the use of public transit, it must be a comfortable (relatively speaking) and safe environment to commute. KCATA must continue its commitment towards environmentally friendly vehicles.
The expansion of the IRIS program recently introduced in the Northland, may provide a reliable alternative to public transit that could prove to be advantageous to areas of other parts of Kansas City.
Duncan: We need to stop framing our infrastructure improvements around big events and tourists, and start building for the people who already live here. If we invest in a mass-transit system that works for the residents of Kansas City, we won’t be scrambling to figure out how to accommodate tourists.
Moore: One approach is to view the World Cup as an opportunity to expand ridership and improve reliability and not just a special event. The evolution to support the World Cup should include incremental changes/improvements that remain long-term and have been tested and validated during the tournament.
It is important for residents to see the changes as useful in their routine transportation needs and consistent between regular service and special events.
Schuckman: One of the last proposals I heard for the World Cup is that we plan to partner with neighboring cities as far away as Des Moines, Omaha, and Wichita to utilize their buses to move folks around during that time. For such a large event, that's fine as we no longer have time to realistically build a mass transit train to the stadiums.
Outside of the World Cup, we need to think about the everyday needs of residents. Our buses are not on time, have disconnected routes, and stops are not covered, clean, or accessible in many cases. Improving all elements of our own public transit and working with KCATA will help us increase ridership and reduce the number of cars on our roads.
As for the streetcar, in its current form it is not a mass-transit solution. We need to focus on east/west routes that tie it into the Main Street line. We also have to find ways to build the system faster. The current extension from start to finish will have taken five years. That can’t be the speed we move to build the rest of the extensions.
Tarwater: Any improvement we do should not just benefit one event and I don’t see that happening. I would love to see the route extended to the new airport, out south and also to the stadiums.
Q: Do you support building a new baseball stadium downtown? Where should it go and how should it be paid for, if so?
Carter: I could support a downtown stadium if: (1) It is what the majority of Kansas City residents want; (2) It does not displace a large number of downtown residents; and (3) It should be centered around a more industrial area of the city, so as not to displace too many residents.
Financing for a downtown stadium needs to be discussed further with more input from the Royals management on their thoughts and plans and equity participation.
Duncan: I don’t think taxpayers should subsidize a downtown stadium for the Royals. The people of Kansas City shouldn’t have to foot the bill for billionaires.
Any development that receives taxpayer money should provide tangible benefits to our community. When I say tangible, I don’t mean a promise of future economic growth. I mean things like affordable housing, decent transportation systems, and infrastructure.
If the Royals want city funds for a stadium, they should contribute part of their revenues into things that benefit our communities and sign community-benefits agreements to protect our workers and residents, especially residents surrounding the project.
Moore: If there is a definitive case for moving the stadium downtown, the location cannot sacrifice legacy communities or neighborhoods. Instead, it should be an investment that restores and reconnects areas that have historically been divided by urban development and integrate existing hospitality, retail, and entertainment venues.
Setting high expectations for the land use associated with a new urban ballpark should prioritize simple, direct connections by public transportation. Any public investment or ownership must return value to the city and benefit its residents through a defined, measurable community-benefits agreement.
Schuckman: No, unless it is paid for via private financing much like the new KC Current stadium is being built. Kansas City and Jackson county residents have been on the hook for the building, maintenance, and renovation of the current stadiums since 1972.
If a corporation wants to put their name on a stadium, they can as long as they pay for it. The council can help with zoning issues and matters like that, but we should not burden residents with supporting a massive project like this again.
As far as site selection, we need to focus on limiting or having no displacement, if possible, but I would like to see it outside of the loop for the sake of traffic. Let’s tie it into our Jazz District and make the whole area a destination.
Tarwater: Most likely this will be decided by the Jackson County Legislature since they own the stadiums. I would think a better spot for the stadium would be downtown by the old KC Star building.
By putting it here you help the Power and Light District and the Crossroads District. If you put it in East Village, you kill these areas and right now the Power and Light is being subsidized by our tax dollars to the tune of about $20 million a year. With the decking project over 670, this would work.
With all this said, I am not sure if and or when this could happen. The Royals and the Chiefs are tied together on a lease that doesn’t expire until 2031 and they also have three five-year renewable options that kick in.
The sales tax would have to be renewed and the Chiefs get half, so I am not sure how this will get it paid for. If they are wanting to do it themselves, then that changes things.
Q: What other issues are important to you? And what would your top handful of legislative priorities be if elected?
Carter: My top priority would be working collaboratively with neighborhood and business leaders and fellow council members on economic development ideas and projects. This includes addressing public-safety concerns.
Duncan: Please provide your answer below:
- Affordable housing— The City’s definition of affordable housing is $1,200 for a one-bedroom. Affordable for whom? Truly affordable for the people who live here is closer to $500 for a one-bedroom. I will support the creation of truly affordable housing through municipal social housing — housing that is democratically controlled, permanently affordable, and off the private market. It can be achieved by taxing those who seek to profit from housing and using those funds to build things like cooperative housing, community land trusts, and municipally owned housing;
- Development that is equitable, intentional and provides a tangible community benefit to those who live here. Historically, development incentives have defunded our roads and libraries and short-changed our kids and schools;
- Climate — The climate is in crisis and Kansas City must act immediately. We must implement the Climate Protection and Resiliency Plan, eliminate emissions, and achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.
Moore: 1. Champion a development process in which every project isn’t a fight; proactively engage with industry and use planning tools, like Area Plans, to seek out investments with long-term vision.
2. Implement new strategies to go further and faster on infrastructure work like sidewalks, streets, and park maintenance.
3. Provide attainable housing — protect existing housing and expand affordable options across the entire housing ecosystem.
4. Advocate for a practical progressive future that protects reproductive health care, strengthens public education, and works to improve quality of life for everyone that lives in Kansas City.
Building a better 6th District: Saturate the district with a robust sense of community — float every boat in the district through buy-in on a cohesive and inclusive set of goals.
Schuckman: I believe that representation matters. As a proud member of the LGBTQ and Latino communities, I want to bring those perspectives to the council since they are currently not there.
I am also a big information and data person. Having worked in information, data, and asset management for over 10 years now, often with cities and currently for the city of Kansas City, I know our data collection and reporting processes are not where they need to be.
Better data helps us serve our public more efficiently. I also want to bring the best community center in the city to my district and I already have a ready-made location in mind.
Tarwater: I want to help get more police on our streets so that we can not only crack down on the murder problem but stop some of these property crimes. The citizens of Kansas City and business are tired of not feeling safe. This has to change.
Our wonderful city was built on friendly people that feel safe coming together for this great community. I will work on solutions to curb panhandling and the homelessness encampments that we see across the city. I will also work on the affordable housing issue that we have.
Q: What qualifications/experience do you possess that you believe will help you be an effective and successful KCMO council member?
Carter: Serving the 6th District as a city council member will be my full-time commitment to the community. Having been a public servant for decades, I have practical city-government experience as the executive director for billion-dollar public pension trust funds.
I served two cities and two school districts, representing tens of thousands of city and school-district employees and retirees. I understand what it means to be a fiduciary to others and a steward of taxpayer dollars.
I have experience setting and overseeing city-department budgets. I understand the importance of building community relationships to ensure active listening and drive towards results that are supported by residents and neighborhood business leaders alike. I know how to work with and within city government.
Serving on city boards and community not-for-profit boards in Kansas City provides me insight on the successes and challenges facing Kansas City families. I serve on the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, where I chair the Endowment Committee. I serve on the Children’s Mercy Hospital Foundation Board. I serve on the Kansas City Employees Retirement System Board. I serve on the Kansas City Public Schools Retirement Board, where I am president.
Holding leadership positions on these boards provides greater insight on the challenges facing the people and families we serve.
The 6th District now comprises neighborhoods from Westport to the Country Club Plaza, Brookside, Red Bridge and Martin City. Each neighborhood has distinctly different wants and needs — except that we all want to live in clean, safe neighborhoods.
My career afforded me the opportunity to live in different parts of the country, which exposed me to working with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Therefore, my policymaking process is based on data, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
I completed the City’s Community Engagement University program in anticipation of this election and I have been observing council committee meetings in preparation for this election, so I will be informed and ready on day one.
Duncan: As a combat veteran with PTSD, I know the cost when our public services fail those who need them most.
As a director at the VFW National Headquarters, I know how to work with people I don’t agree with to achieve common goals. As director of administrative operations for the National Headquarters for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I administer key committees on issues of strategic planning, structure and governance of the organization as well as discipline and internal accountability.
The nature of my position requires me to work with widely divergent points of views on issues that are critical to the operations and future of the organization. I successfully administered a committee that was charged with creating contingency plans to conduct the business of the organization without a National Convention as required by our bylaws for the first time in our 123-year history.
Over the last three years, I’ve organized with my neighbors as a leader with KC Tenants, the citywide tenant union, spending early mornings and late nights learning how city government works. I believe every policy should be crafted alongside the people who are most impacted to create solutions that work, and I have experience doing just that.
Moore: Professionally, I have more than 30 years of experience designing, planning, and building public infrastructure and managing public facilities. This expertise would bring a unique skill set to City Council and add value to the critical evaluation of projects, development decisions, and long-range planning efforts that are considered on a daily basis.
As a neighborhood leader, I have worked with City Council, the offices of mayor and city manager, and city staff for nearly 15 years and have a sincere passion for the institution, public policy, and the community. After years of volunteer work, I would like to fully invest and dedicate my time as a member of council, merging a successful 30-year career and the community work that I truly enjoy.
Schuckman: I think I have a practical mix of education and experience that would make me highly effective on the next council. My education focused on urban geoscience and my graduate thesis dove into how Kansas City has redeveloped over the decades.
I also have experience working for cities, the data, with staff, and within codes and ordinances. As I mentioned, I currently work for the city with their Water Services Department as a senior analyst, so I am well versed in how the nonpublic side of the city functions day to day.
But I think my best qualification is my ability to converse, listen, and build effective working relationships. As a councilperson, you have to be able to listen, adjust, compromise, and make the best judgment call for as many residents as you can. Governing effectively means being agile, and I practice that every day with my teams.
I look forward to working with my council colleagues and the mayor to find those real solutions to the issues facing our city.
Tarwater: I will be successful because I not only know how to listen to the people of the 6th District, but I have the experience to get things done for the 6th District. I do not like meetings about having meetings; I like action.
With over 28 years of experience in government, I can work to get things done. I know when to compromise and when to fight. I have always been the consensus builder for solutions, while always being a watchdog for our public dollars.