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Meet the 3 candidates running for the Kansas City Council's 4th District seat

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Three people sit inside a radio studio at tables with microphones in front of each one.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Candidates for Kansas City's 4th District council seat, from left, Crissy Dastrup, incumbent Eric Bunch and Henry Rizzo gather on KCUR's "Up to Date" on March 24, 2023.

Incumbent Councilman Eric Bunch is seeking re-election. He's being challenged by his former legislative aide and a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

The 4th, in-district Kansas City Council seat is one of the most hotly contested in this year’s primary election where all 12 seats are up for grabs.

Three candidates are running: incumbent Eric Bunch, longtime politician Henry Rizzo and former campaign staffer Crissy Dastrup. The district spans most of the city’s most densely populated and commercial areas, including Midtown, downtown, the Historic Northeast, the Westside and a portion of Kansas City’s Northland. For the first time, the district no longer includes Country Club Plaza — a result of 2020 redistricting efforts.

In 2019, Bunch won the 4th District seat by a little more than 300 votes. He’s spent his first term on council advocating for more pedestrian and biker-friendly infrastructure, increased protections for tenants, improved climate protections and stronger regulations against unruly Airbnbs.

If Kansas City approves a $2 billion downtown Royals baseball stadium, it would likely fall within the 4th District.

Dastrup is against the project.

“I feel like we have so many big issues that we are going to have to work very hard together to solve,” Dastrup said. “From homelessness to affordable housing, redoing a lot of our infrastructure or making sure our parks are safe and clean. This is just not a priority for people right now.”

Bunch said a downtown stadium would bring more people to the area, but he wants to see community support and a strong plan from Royals management.

“I want no new taxes and potentially no existing tax going into this,” Bunch said. “(The) deal’s gotta be good and it's got to benefit the community. It's got to have good affordable housing and good jobs.”

Rizzo also supports a downtown stadium, depending on how it’s financed.

“There's no doubt that a downtown stadium brings millions and millions and millions of dollars of economic development benefits to us,” he said. “It pays for itself.”

Kansas City continues to see a high number of homicides and violent crimes. There have been 36 homicides so far this year — on track to exceedlast year’s homicide count. Bunch said he supports investing in public health and programs like conflict resolution and violence interrupters. The city currently funds a program called Aim 4 Peace, which focuses on violence prevention. Bunch said it’s getting just a fraction of funding it needs to scale up.

“It's not just feeding the police department budget more,” he said. “It is doing things that have transformational change in the community.”

Rizzo said he supports community policing programs where officers work in tandem with neighborhoods and residents.

“The number one job of being a city councilman is to protect the people of this city and we have failed. We have failed miserably,” Rizzo said.

Dastrup said the city has been searching for a “silver bullet” to address crime when it needs to address the root causes instead. She said she wants to help the KCPD recruit more officers.

“They need help with that,” Dastrup said. “We are expecting things from our police officers like we expect from teachers. We have to be able to work on prevention and intervention so that we can prevent the crime from overwhelming them.”

  • Eric Bunch, incumbent 4th District councilman
  • Henry Rizzo, 4th District candidate and former legislator in Jackson County and the Missouri House of Representatives
  • Crissy Dastrup, 4th District candidate, founder of Troost Market Collective and former legislative aide to Bunch

Kansas City residents can vote early without an excuse from now until April 3, at Union Station, the Whole Person or United Believers Community Church. Voters must have a non-expired, government-issued photo ID. You can view a sample ballot here.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As KCUR’s Missouri politics and government reporter, it’s my job to show how government touches every aspect of our lives. I break down political jargon so people can easily understand policies and how it affects them. My work is people-forward and centered on civic engagement and democracy. I hold political leaders and public officials accountable for the decisions they make and their impact on our communities. Follow me on Twitter @celisa_mia or email me at celisa@kcur.org.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
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