Josh Hawley, a former Rockhurst High School graduate

Many Candidates Running for State Office Have Local Ties

Many candidates have local ties, including Josh Hawley, a former Rockhurst High School graduate, who is running for state attorney general.

Josh Hawley and Teresa Hensley, both running for state attorney general, have local ties to Kansas City. So do many of the statewide candidates.

The Ties that Bind Us

SharpJohnBy John Sharp

While most media attention is focused on the presidential race, the August 2 Democratic and Republican primary elections have several hotly contested races and numerous candidates for statewide office with area ties.

There are fewer anticipated close races for statewide office in the Democratic primary, but the races for state treasurer and attorney general appear highly competitive.  There are local candidates in both races.

Pat Contreras who is running for state treasurer grew up in the urban core of Kansas City, served as a foreign service officer in Pakistan and Mexico for the U.S. State Department, and his campaign material notes he is the first person of Hispanic descent to run for statewide office in Missouri.

Teresa Hensley who is running for attorney general received her undergraduate degree from William Jewell College in Liberty and her law degree from UMKC before serving ten years as Cass County prosecuting attorney.  She also served as a Raymore alderman.

And the heavy favorites for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator and governor also have area ties.

Jason Kander, the current Missouri secretary of state, who is running for U.S. Senator was born in Overland Park, graduated from Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park and served four years as a state representative from the Waldo area.

Chris Koster, the current Missouri attorney general, who is running for governor was Cass County prosecuting attorney and a state senator from that area, having formerly worked for a Kansas City law firm.

On the Republican side, there appear to be competitive races for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general.  There are three candidates with local ties in these races.

Bev Randles who is running for lieutenant governor is a Kansas City resident who founded a Kansas City law firm with her husband.  A high school valedictorian whose parents didn’t get past the 9th grade, according to her campaign website, Randles is the first in her African-American family to graduate college.  She represents Clay County on the OneArtsKC Steering Committee.

Will Kraus who is running for secretary of state is a state senator from Lee’s Summit whose district includes much of eastern Jackson County.  A graduate of Central Missouri State University, Kraus served as a state representative for six years from a district that included a significant portion of southeast Kansas City.

Josh Hawley who is running for attorney general is a law professor at the University of Missouri and a graduate of Rockhurst High School.

And another Rockhurst graduate, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, is slated to be on the November ballot as Hillary Clinton’s running mate for vice president.  Kaine’s parents and two brothers still live in the metropolitan area.

With so many competitive races that include candidates whose views stretch across the political spectrum, including many candidates with strong area connections, hopefully the turnout in both parties’ primaries from the south Kansas City area will be high so our views will have an impact.

If we can’t take time to vote, we can’t gripe about the results.


Cerner Changes Name for New Campus

Cerner Corporation has changed the name of its new office complex now under construction at the site of the former Bannister Mall to the Innovations campus, dropping its original Trails campus name.

“The campus name and design features symbolize our commitment to develop solutions and services that will advance and improve the ever-changing health care industry,” said Cerner chief operating officer Mike Nill.

The new name, announced July 18, is nearly identical to the name of Cerner’s nearby campus at the former Marion Laboratories site which was called the Innovation campus.  That facility will now be called the Realization campus.

In a somewhat related talk at the Central Library of the Kansas City Public Library on July 14, Cerner co-founder and vice chairman of its Board Cliff Illig said Cerner invests over 15% of its revenue in research and development, and about 75% of that is done in the metropolitan area.


Wayside Waifs’ Bark Park

The no-leash “Bark Park” at Wayside Waifs, 3901 Martha Truman Road, has a new courtesy comfort station with pet-friendly restrooms, a paw wash and drying station, and hot and cold beverage machines.  It is air conditioned, heated and lighted.

Members can access the comfort station and lighted dog park, which features five acres of lush grass and a separate enclosed area for small dogs, anytime by using a key card.  Annual memberships cost $120, monthly memberships $20 and daily memberships $3.

A ribbon cutting for the comfort station is scheduled for 4 p.m. July 27 when visitors can bring their dogs to use the park for free.  Persons are asked to RSVP to Jessica Earnshaw at

Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-Free Food Pantry

The Community Assistance Council (CAC) and the Food Equality Initiative (FEI) opened what they said was Missouri’s first allergy-friendly and gluten-free food pantry on July 22 at CAC’s office at 10901 Blue Ridge Boulevard.

Appointments are required and all families are screened through FEI.  Eligibility requirements include income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level and a doctor’s diagnosis and signed diet order.

At this time, services only are available to families diagnosed with food allergies or celiac disease (a hereditary autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the small intestine from eating foods with gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye).

A formal ribbon cutting is scheduled at CAC with the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce at 8 a.m. August 2.

CAC is the only social service agency physically located in south Kansas City.  It offers a variety of services to needy area residents including its existing food pantry, a clothes closet and rent/utility assistance.  It will celebrate 40 years of service to the community in September.


RideKC Transit Plan Meeting

Residents and business owners can give their thoughts on how to improve public transit in the area at a meeting on the RideKC Regional Transit Plan from 4:30 to 6 p.m. August 9 at Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Road.

This will be one of a series of meetings in the metropolitan area to get the public’s input on the proposed new plan which will update Smart Moves, the region’s current long-range transit plan.   The new plan will guide transit investment for many years and will include recommendations for specific short-range improvements designed to help double the number of jobs accessible by public transit in the next ten years.

Goals include developing strategies to better connect public transit to other modes of travel and policies to encourage transit-supportive and transit-oriented development.

(Originally, no meeting was scheduled in south Kansas City until I complained about this obvious oversight to MARC.)


Cool Season Plants on Sale

Cool season vegetable plants for fall gardens go on sale starting July 27 at Kansas City Community Gardens (KCCG), 6917 Kensington, in Swope Park.  KCCG is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Even though it is still hot outside, many fall crops need to be planted soon to ensure they can be harvested before the first frost.  KCCG will have the following transplants available:  broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and kale.

Fall seeds are available now.  Lettuce plants will be available starting August 17.

KCCG also is offering a free workshop at its office at noon August 5 on extending the garden season.  Persons may register by calling 816-931-3877 or visiting


Cheap Fare to State Fair

Amtrak is offering $5 fares for children from 2 to 12 years old to go to and from Sedalia on the Missouri River Runner during the Missouri State Fair from August 11 through 21.

The discounted fare applies for up to two children when traveling with an adult paying regular fare.  Reservations must be made at least one day in advance.  Persons should use discount code V523 and book seats through the “Deals” tab at or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.

For area residents, it is much quicker to catch the train in Lee’s Summit rather than going to Union Station.  Persons should be aware that the Amtrak station in Sedalia is about three miles from the Missouri State Fairgrounds.  Taxi information is available on the train and at the station.


Reducing Gun Violence

A lecture on public health models for reducing gun violence will be held at 7 p.m. August 10 in the Alex George Auditorium of Building D at Saint Joseph Medical Center, 1000 Carondelet Drive.

The lecture, preceded by a 6 p.m. reception, is sponsored by the Center for Practical Bioethics and the Medical Center.  It will review common public health approaches to preventing gun violence and the evidence supporting these approaches.

There is no charge to attend, but persons are asked to register at by clicking on Events & Education and scrolling down to the 22nd Annual Rosemary Flanigan Lecture & Symposium.

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