By Samuel Ast
The winner of the Democratic primary for 3rd District at Large will find themselves face-to-face with the only Republican candidate Lance Dillenschneider.
Tony Miller, a Democrat, is the candidate to beat in just a few weeks. As the incumbent, Miller is defending his seat in the legislature against two challengers.
Miller graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 2001, is currently a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and has served the county as a legislator since 2014. He is the chairman of the Finance and Land Use committees, and has also done work with 911 Oversight, Public Works, as well as Justice and Law Enforcement.
Most recently, Miller introduced an ordinance to double the sales tax provision that goes to the Children’s Services Fund. He is especially proud of his work on that project as well as another called Healthy East Side done in collaboration with his friend Rev. Eric Williams and alma mater UMKC.
As for the increase in property taxes that has become an issue in all the county races, Miller explains that property taxes are a function of the county executive branch. “The county legislators have no control over that,” he explains. “If someone is saying they can do something about it, then he doesn’t understand the county charter.”
Miller, who has been an assistant prosecuting attorney at the city, county and state levels, says his vast experience is a good reason to be elected. “In the past eight years I’ve been on every committee under the sun,” he says. “I plan to keep working on my record of achievement. I have the experience and I have the knowledge.”
Megan Marshall is a former Marine who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as several countries in Central America.
In addition to being among the few and the proud, she also holds a Masters degree in Public Administration. Marshall was elected to the Lee’s Summit Board of Education in 2020, and will remain a member of that board if elected to the county legislature.
For the past several months, Marshall has been actively campaigning, knocking on doors and attending community meetings throughout the county in order to listen to her constituency. “I am going to be as engaged with the community as I am in my campaign,” she says. “Right now we’re not getting that [from the county rep]”.
Marshall has an extensive list of issues near and dear to her, including but not limited to reducing violent crime, lowering property taxes, and helping Jackson County jail inmates be productive citizens.
Regarding property taxes, Marshall says it is the legislature’s responsibility to hold the county executive accountable to the increase of property tax assessments and appeals. “Since 2019, the assessments have had a huge impact with its increase,” she says. “The legislature must be proactive, streamlining the appeal process, so that people aren’t losing their homes.”
Marshall would like to see more programming for inmates in the county jail, such as mental health counseling and skilled job training so they can enter the workforce. Additionally, she would like to see a public hearing so Jackson County residents can weigh in on county jail issues.
Finally, she would like to see the county become more proactive with its municipalities in addressing violent crime. “We have to get creative in how we use COMBAT funds,” she says in regards to how to achieve that goal.
Delmira Quarles, a Democrat, has unsuccessfully run for local office in and around Kansas City. Quarles, who was raised in Brooklyn, NY, graduated from Avila University with a BA in health care. She has been a community activist and an election judge.
Quarles’ reason for running is simple. “A lot of people are losing their homes,” she says. The increase in property taxes is not fair in her estimation. “[The county] keeps saying the reason for the increase is that they’ve never raised taxes. Then they have a misappropriation of funds,” she says referring to the 2019 audit findings regarding misuse of COMBAT funding. She would like to see more transparency at the county legislature meetings.