Former Missouri Secretary of State and State Representative Jason Kander will make official on Saturday his run for Kansas City mayor. He faces several other candidates, mostly city council members, who are also running for the city’s top office. Current mayor Sly James, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election.
Kander tells Missourinet he wants to expand the livability of the city.
“We’re going to know that Kansas City is really at its best when people don’t have to move from one part of the city to another or out of town altogether to live the life that they want,” Kander says. “I want to make sure that no matter where you live in my city and however you grew up, you have a chance to build your life right here. Sometimes for folks what effects that is jobs. Sometimes it’s education, or crime, housing, infrastructure.”
He says Kansas City is the last large city in the country without community policing and he wants to change that. Kander, a Democrat, says building trust between police and the community goes a long way in making the city safer.
“The ability to protect the community directly ties to the ability to set personal relationships within the community,” he says. “Police officers need to have the opportunity to know the community is going to protect them, just like those communities should know who is protecting them.”
Kander says too many streets are not well lit and are less safe and state. He goes on to say that Kansas City deserves local control of its police force.
“Obviously gun violence is a problem and that needs to be addressed,” he says. “The state and federal governments, they keep making it harder. We’re going to need to look for solutions locally.”
He also wants to work to ensure residents have access to basic services.
“On the east side of Kansas City, we have food deserts. We have banking deserts. Sometimes when you have that, you have a tendency to take it for granted and it’s really important that everybody has the opportunity to have access to those sort of amenities,” Kander says.
He says he will continue to run his national voting rights organization – Let America Vote – while campaigning for mayor.
Kander’s official campaign launch will be Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
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