As a recent candidate for the Kansas City Council, I was exposed to all the political groups, organizations, committees and so forth that are involved in a city election and in some regards I was impressed.
It was great to see young people with the tenants group mobilize. I saw the Republican Party try and get voters out for their selected candidates. I was asked to come to Freedom Inc.’s headquarters for a Q and A. The Citizens Association held a Q and A with all the candidates. Several neighborhood groups had forums.
All this was super and I was excited to participate. As a non-politician I really didn’t know what to expect when I entered these events. I did my best to be genuine, honest and sincere in my answers.
I was running against others who had coffers 10 times what I had raised and had been in the game for years. This I took as a liability and an asset. As a businessperson, I understood what the small guy in Kansas City goes through on a day to day basis trying to pay the bills, taxes, employees and still pay myself and put a little away for a rainy day. This seems to get harder and harder in Kansas City. Taxes are high and with the amount of infrastructure construction going on access to the business often hinders customers’ ability to access. This leaves the small business owner with one arm tied behind his back.
This exact situation happened to me. I called my councilperson who did not return my call. I threatened to sue the utility company to no avail. In the end, I had to lay off my employees and curb down my business to a one man operation which as of today loses money.
This event is what drove me to enter the City Council race and I tried throughout the campaign to bring it to the attention to others but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.
Participating in politics is something that all should do if they have a genuine concern for their city, their family, their business or just the welfare of others. You don’t necessarily have to run for office but just put a sign in your yard or offer to support a particular candidate. Even in defeat, I feel I did my duty toward positive change.
I tried it. Maybe you should too!