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Remembering former Kansas City Councilman Mike Burke, the 'epitome of patience'

Mike Burke ran for Kansas City mayor against Sly James in 2011.
Mike Burke ran for Kansas City mayor against Sly James in 2011.

Mike Burke, an attorney, former Kansas City Councilman and mayoral candidate who was well known for his forward-thinking approach to economic development, passed away Sunday.

Former 1st District Councilman Mike Burke passed away on Sunday, March 5.

Burke was a leader when it came to economic development in Kansas City — involving himself with the Port Authority, the Economic Development Corporation, Planned Industrial Expansion Authority and several other committees.

"Mike Burke, really for me, stood at the very top of that mountain of hard work and commitment in Kansas City," says Dave Helling, former Kansas City Star journalist.

In 2015, Burke described a world where one could travel across the state of Missouri with an electric car along I-70, without their hands on the wheel, and renewing power by way of a recharging lane.

"He was always looking for a new and better way of doing things," says 2nd District Council member Dan Fowler. "[Y]ou look up at the new airport terminal and we will be charging electric buses through the street on their route. So he was certainly man ahead of his time."

Though it took years to see it come to fruition, Burke was a driving force behind the development of a new downtown convention hotel, the Loews Kansas City Hotel.

"It took a long, long time. It took enormous and I mean, enormous patience for everyone involved, because that deal could have fallen apart any number of times," Helling says. "Mike Burke was the epitome of patience."

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