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Meet Jenay Manley, a candidate for Kansas City Council's 2nd District At-Large seat

 A woman wearing a light-colored sweater gestures with both hands while talking at a microphone inside a radio studio.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Jenay Manley, who’s running for the 2nd District At-Large seat based in the Northland, talks on KCUR's Up To Date on June 12, 2023.

Jenay Manley, a single mom and organizer with KC Tenants, is running for Kansas City Council’s 2nd District At-Large seat against Lindsay French, a lead designer at TJP Strategies. If elected on June 20, Manley would be the first Black person to represent the Northland on City Council.

Kansas City voters will cast ballots on June 20 to vote in a new city council and mayor.

All 12 council seats, both at-large and in-district, are on the ballot, and six of the 12 current council members are term-limited out, including Teresa Loar, who represents the Northland’s 2nd District At-Large.

Vying for the 2nd District At-Large open seat is Jenay Manley, a tenants’ rights organizer and activist, andLindsay French, a lead designer at a Democratic consulting firm.

Manley received 34% of votes in April’s primary election, while French got 47%.

Manley told KCUR's Up To Date her main priorities as a city council candidate include housing, living wages, safe communities and economic justice.

“For the last three years, I've been organizing with my neighbors, passing policy and working with city council members to make sure that policy actually meets the needs of the people who need it most,” Manley said.

French was unable to join Up To Date due to a scheduling conflict.

Manley said she believes rising crime in Kansas City is linked to a lack of investment in neighborhoods, and especially in poor and working class neighborhoods, where people are struggling to survive the most.

“I think affordable housing is more important than deciding if we need more police officers,” she said. “If we start stabilizing the people in our neighborhood, if we start investing in people, we'll see crime go down, and we'll see that because our people can actually say what they need in order to make the best decisions possible in this city.”

If elected to the council on June 20, Manley would be the first Black person to represent the city’s Northland.

“[Being] the first Black representative means that for once, we can see that people like us are represented in the Northland… because I continue to struggle to make it and work through systems that are not built for poor and working class people to actually thrive,” she said.

According to her campaign website, French is endorsed by state Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern, former Kansas City Mayor Sly James, and City Councilperson Dan Fowler.

French’s website says she’s running for the 2nd At-Large District seat to enhance Kansas Citians’ quality of life, and to bridge the gap between politics and community involvement.

“As a lifelong northern Kansas Citian, wife and mother of two, and the daughter of hard-working middle-class parents that taught me the value of hard work, I am a candidate that can relate to everyday people in our city,” French's website says.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20.Here's a KCUR guidefor election day.

  • Jenay Manley, candidate for Kansas City Council 2nd District At-Large open seat
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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 Community Engagement Producer, I help welcome our audiences into the newsroom, and bring our journalism out into the communities we serve. Many people feel overlooked or misperceived by the media, and KCUR needs to do everything we can to cover and empower the diverse communities that make up the Kansas City metro — especially the ones who don’t know us in the first place. My work takes the form of reporting stories, holding community events, and bringing what I’ve learned back to Up To Date and the rest of KCUR.

What should KCUR be talking about? Who should we be talking to? Let me know. You can email me at zjperez@kcur.org or message me on Twitter at @zach_pepez.
As a producer for Up To Date, I create sound-rich talk show segments about the individuals and communities that call Kansas City home. Whether it’s a poet, a business owner or a local lawmaker, I seek out diverse voices to help break down the biggest stories of the day. After listening to the show, I want Up To Date listeners to feel informed and empowered to make decisions in their daily lives. You can reach me at claudiab@kcur.org
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