(l-r) Lindsay French, Michael Kelley, Kevin O'Neill, JeNay Manley and Darrell Curls.

Candidate forum for 5th, 2nd and 1st Districts at Large held tonight in Hickman Mills

A candidate forum for the Kansas City City Council 5th District at Large race will be held Thursday, February 23, at 6 p.m. at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 9420 James A. Reed Rd. Candidates running for 1st District at Large and 2nd District at Large will join the forum which is sponsored by the citywide organization Citizens Association of Kansas City. The forum will also be virtual in addition to in-person.

The 5th District at Large candidates who will be in attendance include Darrell Curls and Michael Kelley. Curls is a former union leader while working at the Ford Motor plant, has been a member of  the Hickman Mills School Board and is part of the Curls political family that founded the Political Action Committee Freedom Inc.  Michael Kelley is director of the City’s BikeWalkKC department. A third candidate running for the seat is Theresa Cass Galvin, a former Jackson County legislator, who is unable to attend the forum. The 5th District at Large seat is currently occupied by Councilman Lee Barnes, Jr. whose term has expired.

The 1st District at Large candidate who will attend the meeting is incumbent Kevin O’Neill, O’Neill has been the publisher of the Labor Beacon newspaper for nearly 30 years and is part of a local political family that dates back to 1916. While O’Neill lives in the north KC district, he at one time lived in south KC. He is running for a second term. O’Neill is being challenged by Ronda Smith and Pam Mason who are unable to attend tonight’s forum. Smith is an accountant and wife of a police officer. Mason serves as the Clay County Clerk and was the former presiding commissioner of Clay County.

The 2nd District at Large candidates appearing tonight are Lindsay French and JeNay Manley, with a possible appearance by Mickey Younghanz. French owns her own graphic design firm and is chair of the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce. Manley is a KC Tenants organizer who grew up poor and among housing insecurity. Younghanz is a small business owner and musician who ran for Missouri State Senate District 17 in 2020.

All At-Large District candidates are elected from voters citywide as opposed to in-district candidates who receive votes only from their district.

The candidate forum can be viewed in person or via Zoom. To view the forum virtually, register at citizensassociation.eventbrite.com.

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