Former KC city councilwoman Alissia Canady runs for Lt. Governor

Initially, the former Jackson County assistant prosecutor and small business owner said that running for a statewide office “wasn’t really on my radar.”

Former city councilwoman Alissia Canady runs for Lt. Governor

By Tyler Schneider

Alissia Canady is the only Kansas City-area candidate running for higher state office in Missouri. She is one of two Democrats running to unseat Mike Kehoe to become Missouri’s 49th Lieutenant Governor. If she wins her primary against St. Charles area upstart Gregory A. Upchurch on August 4, Canady will go on to face the winner of a Republican primary that features Upchurch as well as challengers Arnie C. AC Dienoff, Aaron T Wisdom and Mike Carter.

Known for her plainspoken style and a corresponding boldness, Canady, 40, has made a name for herself as a councilwoman representing Kansas City’s 5th District for one term before she launched a relatively successful attempt at running for mayor in 2019. Canady finished third with 15.24 percent (6,150 total votes) in the April 12 municipal primary election that year, finishing behind the eventual winner, Quinton Lucas (22.10 percent, 8,922 votes) and primary victor and former councilwoman Jolie Justus (23.35 percent, 9,427 votes). 

The showing wasn’t enough to get Canady into the final matchup, which Lucas would later garner 58.56 percent (39,216 votes) to win the office in the general election. While Canady ultimately fell short of remaining competitive in that race, she did so with significantly less resources at her disposal — a quality that can add appeal for a certain demographic of blue collar voters. 

“The money is only to get the message out,” Canady told The Telegraph. “My third place finish was proof that there were plenty of voters who were listening.”

Canady lists her top trifecta of issues she’d like to address in office as violence, access to affordable health care and stabilizing the availability of jobs and educational opportunities. 

Initially, the former Jackson County assistant prosecutor and small business owner said that running for a statewide office “wasn’t really on my radar.”

But then, she was approached or contacted by some members of the Missouri Democratic Party, and she began thinking about the opportunity in terms of providing more representation for women of color in Missouri politics. She decided to run, officially declaring her candidacy on April 16, 2020 — at the height of the novel COVID-19 frenzy.

“I got into the race at the height of the pandemic,” Canady said. “There has been so much anxiety and angst throughout this time. It hasn’t been an easy process, and it’s certainly been an unprecedented time to campaign for office. You don’t get to see many voters face-to-face, in person, and the outbreak has changed the way a lot of people are thinking going into the election.”

Canady, who says that she herself is a registered gun owner, stressed that she values and seeks to protect second amendment rights while also making the firm commitment to “do something about gun violence” in Kansas City. 

If elected, Canady looks to help “elevate black womanhood,” for a group of voters that has long powered Democratic Party politics at the polls but still lags behind significantly in terms of representation in governing bodies — particularly in states like Missouri.

She is also running in solidarity and in some ways in coordination with the most visible campaign of any Democrat or woman in Missouri in 2020: Democratic gubernatorial challenger and current State Auditor, Nicole Galloway.

The two have a lot in common. If Galloway continues to even the playing field against Governor Mike Parson (who was elevated to the role after previously serving in the same position Canady now seeks), the hope is that Canady will also surge. 

It’s a long road ahead, but a best-case scenario would transform Canady — a lifelong Kansas Citian — into not only one of the most powerful women in Missouri politics, but simply one of the most influential politicians in the state, period. The first step begins on August 4. 

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