Andrea Bough Runs for 6th District City Council Seat
By Samuel Ast
In her first interview since launching her campaign for Kansas City City Council, Andrea Bough spoke with the Martin City Telegraph about her childhood, her interest in politics, and how she plans to solve some of the city’s most pressing issues if elected to the Sixth District-at-Large seat in June.
Born in southeast Missouri to a rural school teacher and federal employee, Bough grew up in a small community called East Prairie surrounded by farmland where she was taught to care for others and give back to the community. Before she was born, Bough’s parents adopted two foster children, which gave her a unique perspective on what it truly looks like to be a part of something bigger than one’s self. Because her adopted siblings were so much older, she grew up as an only child. Her mother’s service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, her father’s teaching career, and his time working for the state Division of Family Services, all provided a firm foundation of public service on which Bough was determined to build.
After high school, Bough attended Missouri State University in Springfield, where she graduated cum laude in 1993 with a major in political science and a minor in history. Post graduation, Bough and her husband –also an MSU grad– moved to Kansas City in 1994, and soon after, they both became involved in local politics through their volunteer work on various campaigns and their presence at innumerable political events.
After graduating from the UMKC School of Law in 2000, Bough found work at the law firm Lewis Rice. During her time there, she specialized in economic development, land use, zoning, and appeared before local governments on behalf of clients who spearheaded complex redevelopment proposals.
The topic of redevelopment–and Kansas City’s changing economic landscape, writ large– comes up frequently not only during the city’s mayoral debates but also when looking at budgetary issues and the granting of tax incentives for new construction projects throughout the city. Bough says that City Hall can play a more active role in administering and monitoring the use of special taxing programs like Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) or Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) to ensure taxpayer dollars are used appropriately and effectively.
“The role of the Council is to make sure the tools are used as intended, to manage their use across the city, and to make sure that they do not have a harmful impact on the city as a whole,” Bough states.
Bough is quick to point out the positive intent most of these projects have, noting that many are a success and result in nothing more than their desired effects. However, she does submit that some projects have been “questionable” in both intent and management while noting that the attention of both developers and the City Council often centers too much around areas like Power and Light at the expense of large portions of the city arguably more in need of revitalization, like areas east of Troost.
“I think there are certain things that can be done to ensure our city is taking a closer look at whether or not the projects being incentivized are not only viable, but are located in areas that are really in need, as well,” Bough said.
Though much of her professional experience involves urban development, Bough has a keen understanding of government ethics, and a desire to learn more about what the City Council can do to improve public safety.
On the issue of crime, Bough believes that more officers, combined with a better understanding of mental health could help the problem. “I don’t know why people choose to pick up a gun and shoot someone, but I would like to address that if elected. People are using guns instead of words to solve disputes, and we have to figure out why.” Bough also believes that a lack of education and economic opportunities contribute to high crime rates.
To this point, Bough says that she is supportive of expanded access to more affordable early childhood education. She sees solving educational inequities as one way to bring down crime. “I would hope that it would help with the violence, but I don’t know. This is something I am looking forward to exploring further once on the Council.”
Among some of Bough’s other top priorities include expanding the streetcar route and making sure the KCI single-terminal project is completed on time and on budget. Bough is supportive of the direction these initiatives are heading. “These are two issues that have started with previous Councils and will continue through this one,” Bough said while maintaining that the city could do more to keep constituents who overwhelmingly supported both projects informed during the process. “We cannot lose that support. We need to keep the public engaged in a positive way.”
Bough, who lives in Brookside, is one of two women running to represent the 6th District at-large on the Kansas City Council. The seat is currently held by Councilman Scott Taylor, who is a candidate for mayor. Councilman Taylor is barred from running for re-election in 2019, as he has already served two consecutive terms. Kansas City’s municipal general election is on June 18.
Look for an upcoming interview with the other candidate vying for the Sixth District at Large seat, Stacey Johnson-Cosby.