Scott Taylor Speaks Candidly on Kandor, Mayor Race
By Kathy Feist
When former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced on June 23 he was running for mayor of Kansas City for 2020, City Councilman Scott Taylor was as surprised as everyone else.
But after his initial reaction, the south Kansas City representative who is also running for mayor chose two approaches.
One, he was going to remain focused.
And two, it’s anyone’s game.
“We’ll probably have more candidates by the time we’re done in April,” he says. “Everybody has the right to run.”
Taylor sounds unfazed by the announcement at this point. And unlike some of the other candidates, one of whom has already buckled, he probably has the right to be.
Taylor has the largest war chest of any candidate. As of last April, he had raised $351,000, almost $250,000 more than the next highest campaigner, local attorney Steve Miller.
Taylor says the money raised reflects the strong support he has from across the board, especially neighborhood leaders, which would include real estate developers and investors.
One show of support Taylor has not received is from his colleague. In a surprise move, Sixth District City Councilman Kevin McManus, who conducts monthly First Friday meetings alongside Taylor at the the Trailside Center and at community events, endorsed Kander for mayor. Taylor chose to remain mum on the topic until he had a chance to discuss it with McManus.
This is a behavior that Taylor–and the other candidates–must now fight. Those who had their dog in the fight are now dazzled with the glamour of another.
But dogs that win fights don’t look glamorous.
“One thing that sets me apart from the other candidates is my track record of getting results at the community and neighborhood level,” Taylor states, clearly marking his territory. “The result of hands-on work with neighborhoods takes a lot of time and a lot of meetings, but it’s really rewarding.”
Taylor estimates he has hosted over 80 meetings outside of City Hall.
Appointed chairman of the city council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee, he has been a part of south Kansas City’s renaissance and Kansas City’s economic growth, including the expansion of Burns & McDonnell as well as Cerner’s headquarters, which will bring 16,000 new jobs to the area.
“Both of those created confidence for other businesses to make investments in south Kansas City, such as the Red Bridge Shopping Center,” he says. “I would like to continue to grow our city like we have south Kansas City. Quite frankly, I can apply what I’ve learned from south Kansas City’s renaissance to any neighborhood in the city. It’s one of the reasons I’m running for mayor. I want to keep the momentum going. I have the experience and knowledge of how we got it going in the first place.”
Adding a dig at Kander, who recently moved to the Verona Hills neighborhood from the Brookside area, Taylor jokes, “It’s a good sign when we even have people moving back here to run for office.”
Taylor, his wife Kathy Jolie, who also served as city council member for the district, and their teenage son have lived in the Red Bridge area for 20 years. “Residents know us,” he says.
“I have no plans after this,” Taylor adds in another reference to Kander. “For me, this is not just a career move.”