Another member of the Kansas City Council has entered the crowded race for mayor in 2019.
Councilwoman Alissia Canady, who represents the city’s 5th district, announced her mayoral bid in front of family and religious leaders Tuesday morning at Ilus Davis Park, just north of Kansas City, Missouri, city hall.
Canady said she looks up to Ilus Davis, who was Kansas City mayor from 1963 to 1971.
“Mayor Davis … used his position both as mayor and lawyer to uplift Kansas Citians with diverse backgrounds, so I’m not alone in this undertaking,” Canady said.
Along with her mayoral announcement, Canady introduced an initiative, “Grow KC Together,” to promote equitable growth in all parts of the city.
She said while she is happy to see new development in Kansas City, too often developers are receiving generous tax abatements that divert money from schools, libraries and mental health programs without giving enough back in return.
She says she made her decision to run for mayor after the city negotiated a deal with Cordish, the developer behind the Power & Light district and the One Light and Two Light high rises, to finance a parking garage for the planned Three Light luxury apartments.
According to her research, the city could be on the hook for as much as $80 million for future parking garages under the existing deal without any guarantee for more affordable apartments.
Canady, who is a private attorney, said while she understands a previous council agreed to the contract, the city could have taken a stronger stance renegotiating a better deal. But she said the Mayor and City Manager wanted the Three Light Project to go through — so it did.
“What that showed me was when something is a priority we find a way to make it happen.”
Canady said the city needs to be tougher when it negotiates deals with developers..
“We say we want safe and healthy neighborhoods, we have to take a balanced approach to development. We support development but it has to be fair, we can’t continue to build on the backs of the poor,” Canady said.
Canady enters an already crowded race. Four other councilmembers have already announced their bids for mayor — 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed, Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner, 6th District Councilman Scott Taylor and 4th District councilwoman Jolie Justus.
Quinton Lucas, who represents the 3rd district is rumored to be considering a run.
Businessman Phil Glynn, attorney Stephen Miller, and Rita Berry are also running.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James is term-limited. He will leave office in 2019.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.