Jackson County Legislator: 4th District
Jackson County Legistor Dan Tarwater reviews his 24 years as south KC representative
By Kathy Feist
Dan Tarwater, age 55, has been the Jackson County representative for the Fourth District for 24 years. If elected, Tarwater will serve an eighth term. In a recent interview, the legislator recounted how he has benefitted south Kansas City.
Drug Treatment and Prevention – Tarwater says he has been able to get drug prevention and treatment facilities into south Kansas City. These include ReDiscover facilities at 6801 E 117th St, 8800 Blue Ridge Blvd and 4111 E 100 Terr.
After-school Programs – Tarwater says the county funds Bridge Leadership Academy in Ruskin and Hope Hangout in Hickman Mills which he says is expanding to many other areas. Hope House, Rose Brooks Center, the Crittendon Center and the school anti-drug program DARE receive support by the county.
Truman Sports Complex – Tarwater says he worked closely with the Royals and Chiefs in 2005 to renegotiate a 25-year contract, “so that one day the Chiefs won’t be in San Antonio,” an option at the time. He will soon be renegotiating the state’s contract with the county for stadium improvements, which ends soon. “If the lease [with the teams] gets violated,” he warns, “it opens up the possibility of the teams leaving.”
Opiate Tracking – Last year, Jackson County was one of the first counties in the state of Missouri to enforces a Prescription Drug Monitoring (PDM) Program. PDM programs monitor the prescribing and dispensing of schedule II-IV controlled substances in order to prevent prescription drug abuse.
Panhandling – Tarwater says the county can intervene with panhandlers at highway intersections at Wornall and State Line Rd. “Those people are being dropped off by a van and split the money with the people who bring them there,” he says. The City of Kansas City does not have an ordinance against panhandling.
Overcrowded Jail – Tarwater says the county has the funding mechanism in place to build a new jail at I-435 and Truman. The current jail, located in downtown Kansas City, was built to hold 640 people awaiting trial. It now holds 1040 people, according to Tarwater. As a result, those who are accused of a crime that does not include violence, such as murder, rape or aggravated assault, are not held in detention for long. “So a burglar might get caught robbing my house, spend the night in jail, get out in the morning and rob my neighbor’s house,” says Tarwater.
Executive Powers– Tarwater says Jackson County is one of the few counties that does not have a sheriff running the jail system. He would like to take the job out of the county executive office and give it to law enforcement. Similarly, he would like to take the anti-drug tax prevention program COMBAT from the county executive office and give it to the county prosecutor’s. He says the program was once the prosecutor’s responsibility, but when county prosecutor Mike Sanders became county executor, it naturally followed him into that role.
Tarwater was born and raised in south Kansas City and continues to live in the Red Bridge area with his wife and three children. He works at Twin Lakes Insurance.