Kansas City Council ushers in era with new four-year terms Tuesday. Here are those taking, and leaving, office

Kansas City swears in its new city council and incumbent Mayor Quinton Lucas Tuesday.

The 12 new council members, a mix of incumbents and newly electeds, begin four-year terms following inauguration ceremonies from 10 to 11 a.m. and a celebration from 11 to 2. Both events will be at Ilus Davis Park at 404 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

Here’s who’s taking, and leaving, office on Tuesday:

1st District

Nathan Willett beat his opponent Chris Gahagan, 63% to 37%. Willett is a high school math teacher and a graduate of the University of Missouri, where he was elected student body president. As a city councilman, Willett plans to prioritize boosting public safety, making neighborhood improvements, and investing in the next generation. Willett earned the endorsements of the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police and outgoing and term-limited District 1 Councilwoman Heather Hall, whom he replaces.

Hall served as vice chair of the Finance, Governance & Public Safety Committee and the Special Committee for Legal Review, as well as serving on the Mid-America Regional Council Board of Directors. During her 2015-19 term, she served as vice chair of the Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Jobs Committee. As a city councilwoman, Hall prioritized public safety, basic infrastructure and small business growth.

1st District at Large

Incumbent Kevin O’Neill beat his opponent Ronda Smith 72% to 28%. O’Neill describes himself as extra sensitive to the needs and struggles of working families. He cites his decades-long career as the publisher of the Labor Beacon, a news source for over 60,000 union members in the Kansas City area. In the city’s next fiscal budget, O’Neill plans to prioritize compliance/enforcement of existing ordinances, infrastructure, public safety and tourism. In his previous term, O’Neill laid claim to having coordinated and educated peers in favor of working families and the under-employed. 

2nd District

A former Democratic Missouri Legislator for District 18, Wes Rogers ran unopposed for the 2nd District seat held by term-limited Councilman Dan Fowler. 

Fowler was involved in public service for more than 25 years. In the 2015-19 council term, Fowler served as chairman of the Ethics and Legal Review Committee and vice chair of the Housing and Airport committees. He is currently the commissioner of Port KC, an organization committed to growing the economy of Kansas City’s port district, as well as a proud father and grandfather.

2nd District at Large 

Lindsay French beat her opponent Jenay Manley 52% to 48%. French is a lead designer at TJP Strategies and owns her own business, L French Design. As a city councilwoman, French plans to prioritize crime prevention, development of affordable housing, equitable development and the improvement of basic city services. French is endorsed by former Kansas City Mayor Sly James as well as several groups, including the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police and gun control group Moms Demand Action. 

French will be replacing term-limited Teresa Loar. In her time on the City Council, Loar was appointed to the Operations Committee for City Infrastructure, the Public Safety Facilities Committee, and the Streetlight Oversight Committee. Loar also served on the Power and Light District Oversight Committee, where she assisted in the revitalization of downtown. Loar has lived in the Northland for more than 40 years and is a grandmother of two. 

3rd District 

Melissa Robinson will be serving a second term after beating her opponent, local poet and author Sheri Hall, 84% to 16%. Robinson is employed as president of the Black Health Care Coalition. Previously, Robinson served as the Director of Crisis Intervention at the Ad Hoc Group against Crime, and is a former president of the Kansas City Public Schools board. During her term as councilwoman, Robinson led the effort to establish a COVID-19 taskforce with zip code-based funding as well as an initiative to engage residents in climate action. Robinson is endorsed by KC Tenants Power.

3rd District at Large

Melissa Patterson Hazley beat her opponent, incumbent Brandon Ellington, 61% to 40%. Patterson Hazley is a Ph.D. researcher, college teacher and campaign consultant. In addition, she serves on the board of Principals Connect, a nonprofit supporting urban school principals. As a city councilwoman, Patterson Hazley will focus on affordable housing. Already, she has facilitated over $300 million in economic development across the city. Patterson Hazley is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus. 

Patterson Hazley will be replacing Brandon Ellington, the only candidate on the City Council to lose his re-election bid. Over the past four years, Ellington gained a reputation as a maverick and sole vote opposing certain issues before the council. Prior to his time on the City Council, Ellington was elected to the Missouri Legislature in 2011 and served as the Democratic Whip in the Missouri House in 2019. Ellington describes himself as an advocate for the underprivileged and disenfranchised, and supports criminal justice and tax incentive reforms. 

4th District 

Eric Bunch will serve a second term after beating his opponent, Henry Rizzo, 67% to 33%. Bunch is a policy director and co-founder of BikeWalkKC. As councilman, Bunch will prioritize creating affordable housing, the promotion of equity and inclusion, and accessibility of public transportation. Bunch earned the endorsement of several groups, including the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 42 and AFL-CIO Kansas City. 

4th District at Large

Crispin Rea beat his opponent Justin Short, 57% to 43%. Rea most recently worked as a prosecuting attorney in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, where he largely focused on the prosecution of sexual and physical abusers. Prior to that, Rea was employed as a case worker with the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA) following his time on the Kansas City Public School Board as the youngest member ever elected to serve on the board. On City Council, Rea will prioritize neighborhood safety, the improvement of basic city services, and the advancement of economic opportunity. Rea is endorsed by a variety of organizations, including Freedom Inc. and La Raza Political Club. 

Rea will be replacing term-limited Councilwoman Katheryn Shields. Over the last four years, Shields chaired the Finance, Governance & Public Safety Committee and served as a member of the Transportation, Infrastructure & Operations Committee. She also served on the Kansas City, Missouri City Council from 1987 until 1994, where she created the partnership with Bridging the Gap that led to KC’s first recycling centers and pushed for an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

5th District

Ryana Parks-Shaw ran unopposed for her second term. Parks-Shaw is a healthcare executive and serves as a member of the Kansas City Zoo Board of Directors and the Starlight Board of Directors. During her previous term, she served as the vice chair of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Commission, co-chair of the Health Commission and chair of the Mayor’s Houseless Task Force. Parks-Shaw was appointed Mayor Pro Tem for the 2023-27 council term by Mayor Quinton Lucas, becoming the first black woman to hold the position. 

5th District at Large

Darrell Curls beat his opponent Michael Kelley 56% to 44%. Curls recently retired as union steward at the Ford Motor Co. and currently serves as a board member of Freedom Inc. As a council member, Curls will prioritize reducing crime, building and renovating housing, creating good-paying jobs and investing in infrastructure and city services. Curls had the endorsements of former Kansas City mayors Kay Barnes and Sly James, as well as the endorsements of a variety of organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and Freedom Inc. 

Curls will be replacing term-limited Lee Barnes Jr. Barnes is an engineer, small business owner and former school board member. During his time on the council, Barnes prioritized the funding of affordable housing and revamping infrastructure. 

6th District 

Johnathan Duncan beat opponent Dan Tarwater 57% to 44%. Duncan is an Army combat veteran and director at the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In addition, Duncan organizes with the citywide tenant union KC Tenants. His priorities include affordable housing solutions, LGBTQ+ rights, gun control and reproductive rights. Duncan was endorsed by a variety of organizations, including KC Tenants Power and Pro-Choice Missouri. 

Duncan will be replacing term-limited Kevin McManus, who served as Mayor Pro Tem for the 2019-23 council term. McManus was also appointed to serve as a member of the Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee during both terms he served. In that role, he helped to ensure public dollars were wisely invested throughout the city. 

6th District at Large 

Incumbent Andrea Bough beat Jill Sasse 72% to 28%. Bough is an attorney who has worked with city governments throughout her career. In addition, Bough frequently volunteers with organizations such as Harvesters and the homeless shelter Sheffield Place. During her second term, she plans to expand access to safe and affordable housing, improve basic services and reduce crime. Bough was endorsed by several organizations, including Pro-Choice Missouri and Freedom Inc.


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