Get to know your Jackson County Legislative candidates for the 1st District

By Max Goodwin

Two new candidates face off in the 1st District race for Jackson County Legislator, as the Treasurer of the Kansas City Public School Board takes on a first-time candidate for political office in the newly redrawn 1st District that travels from Blue Ridge Blvd to north of river between the state line and Holmes Road.  

The current map for the Jackson County districts. Courtesy the Jackson County Mo GIS

Manny Abarca

Manny Abarca has a lot going on at the moment. 

Of course, there is the race for Jackson County legislator, he’s also currently treasurer of Kansas City Public Schools as a member of the Board of Education. 

If that wasn’t enough going on for Abarca, he is handling the responsibilities of fatherhood for the first time as his wife gave birth to their son this month. It’s a lot at one time the 34-year-old admits.

“I’m challenged, pulling from every end,” Abarca said.

Abarca says he has a lot of disagreements with the current county legislators. The location of the new detention center was a mistake, he says, and he describes the way people who lived at the site were dismissed as atrocious. 

The majority of the legislature will be new members after the election. He says they can be more open and responsive to taxpayers. 

“People have to elect elected officials who have the experience and understanding to not go in and continue what was there before but to create something new that is more responsive, more nimble, more innovative, more efficient.”

In addition to being treasurer of KCPS, Abarca has been District Deputy Director for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and has previously run for state representative. 

While Abarca currently lives in midtown, he is a native of south Kansas City, having attended Martin City K-8 School.

According to his website, Abarca would support new legislation that would:

  • Cap property taxes for seniors
  • Change the December 31 property tax deadline date
  • Offer a 12-month payment plan on property taxes
  • Offer job training through the schools 
  • Establish a Senior Services Fun that helps with home repairs, etc.


Christina McDonough-Hunt

As a resident of South Kansas City, McDonough-Hunt says the area needs representation in the county legislature. 

McDonough-Hunt heads fundraising efforts for Special Olympics Missouri and Calvary Lutheran Church and School. At her church, she is the Director of the Board of Parish Ministries.

She has never served in a government position before but says she’s a fast learner and has mentors to help her grasp the responsibilities of the legislature quickly. 

She has two young boys and wanted to get involved in local politics to help make her community safer and more prosperous. 

“We’re seeing an increase in crime. We’re seeing an increase in drugs in our county. We’re seeing our property assessments and taxes fly through the roof. At some point, we’ve got to say that’s enough,” McDonough-Hunt said. “I just figured I can’t complain about it if I’m not willing to do something about it.” 

She first filed to campaign for the 4th District of the legislature, which would have been a district drawn out of south Kansas City. But after redistricting this past spring, she was drawn into the 1st District which stretches along the state line vertically from Martin City to the Missouri River. Despite that, she remained committed to her campaign. 

McDonough-Hunt realizes the 1st District is a difficult one for a Republican, but she says she offers the voters something different. 

“If there’s still a majority Democrat Party running our county, running our city, then it’s going to continue down the same way,” she said. 

In regards to rising property taxes after county assessments, McDonough-Hunt pointed to the County Executive position as the way to solve the position and said she hopes people vote for Republican Theresa Cass-Galvin. “The county executive has control of that particular issue,” McDonough-Hunt said.

According to McDonough-Hunt’s website, she would support legislation that:

  • Funds community programs that prevent drug use and distribution
  • Funds more vocational, financial literacy and mental health programs for the incarcerated
  • Gives the county legislature jurisdiction over the County Executive and County Assessor offices in order to oversee property tax decisions.  


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