The Jackson County Legislature will have several new members in 2019, though five of the nine incumbents are running for re-election.
Those include Democrat Dennis Waits of Independence, who filed for a ninth four-year term on Tuesday just ahead of the deadline at the end of the day. He said addressing issues such as the jail and improvements in the Assessment Department would benefit from continuity in the Legislature.
“We know that we have a problem with the jail …” he said, adding that getting a new one designed, approved and built is likely to take three years.
He had thought about hanging it up after 32 years in office.
“I did,” he said, “because at some point I want to step away from it, and this would be the last time that I would run.”
Waits faces two other candidates in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary election – Paul J. Wrabec of Sugar Creek and Jessica J. Berry of Independence – both of whom Waits describes as friends and with whom he said he has no major disagreements. They are running in the 3rd District, which covers Independence generally north of Interstate 70 as well as Sugar Creek. Republican Brice Stewart of Independence faces the winner of the primary in the Nov. 6 general election.
Also, County Executive Frank White Jr. of Lee’s Summit is running for a full four-year term in that office and is challenged by fellow Democrats Jeremy Raines and Matthew T. Merryman, both of Kansas City. Richard Charles Tolbert and Nathan Kline, both of Kansas City, face off in the Green Party primary. No Republican is running.
In other County Legislature races:
• State Rep. Jeanie Lauer of Blue Springs in unopposed in the 5th District and will take the place of fellow Republican Greg Grounds, who is retiring after 12 years in the Legislature. That district covers Blue Springs, Grain Valley, parts of Independence and elsewhere.
• Incumbent Scott Burnett, D-Kansas City, is unopposed for another term, as is Republican Theresa Galvin is Lee’s Summit.
• Two Democrats – Jalen Anderson of Blue Springs and Sherwood Smith of Kansas City – are running in the 1st District at-large to replace Democrat Garry Baker of Buckner, who is not running again. No Republicans filed.
• Three Democrats – Sandra E. Jiles, Ron Finley and Arimeta DuPree, all of Kansas City – are running to replace Democrat Alfred Jordan of Kansas City, who is completing his first term but not running again. No Republicans filed.
• Incumbent Crystal Williams is being challenged for an at-large seat by fellow Kansas City Democrat John Burnett. No Republicans filed.
• Incumbent Dan Tarwater of Kansas City is being challenged by fellow Democrat John T. Maloney of Grandview. No Republicans filed.
• Incumbent Tony Miller of Lee’s Summit is challenged for an at-large seat by fellow Democrat Roberta Gough of Lee’s Summit. No Republicans filed.
Filing also closed Tuesday for state legislative races. House terms are two years; Senate terms are four years. Local races:
• Republican Jeff Coleman and Democrat Janice Brill, both of Grain Valley, are running for the Blue Springs/Grain Valley seat in the Missouri House that Lauer is leaving due to term limits.
• Three Democrats – Robert Sauls, Holmes Osborne and Dan O’Neill, all of Independence – are running for the seat that Democrat Ira Anders of Independence is leaving because of term limits.
• Three Republicans – Chris Hankins, Jon Patterson, James L. Lowman, all of Lee’s Summit – are running for the House seat vacated by Mike Cierpiot of Lee’s Summit, who was elected to the state Senate last fall. That district takes in the Lakewood area and some of Independence. The winner of that primary faces Democrat Ryana Parks-Shaw of Lee’s Summit and Libertarian Brad Eichstadt of Independence in November.
• Incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Kidd of Independence faces Democrat Jessica Merrick of Buckner.
• Incumbent Rep. Ingrid Burnett of Kansas City, whose district reaches into northwest Independence, faces Green Party candidate Val Engholm,
• Democrats Rory Rowland of Independence and Brandon Ellington of Kansas City, both of whom have districts with parts of Independence and Kansas City, are running again without opposition.
• Republican Dan Stacey of Blue Springs has a Democratic challenger, Travis Hagewood of Blue Springs, in a district that covers most of the city south of I-70.
• Two Democrats – Pat Williams and Matthew Simmons, both of Pleasant Hill – face off in the Aug. 7 primary, and the winner faces incumbent Republican Donna Pfautsch of Harrisonville, in a district that includes the southeast edge of Blue Springs and parts of Grain Valley and Oak Grove.
• Incumbent Jerome Barnes of Kansas City has a Democratic challenger, Shea Tan Henderson of Raytown, in a district that takes in a small part of southwest Independence. The winner of that primary takes on Republican Jeremy T. Utterback of Raytown.
• Republican incumbent Glen Kolkmeyer of Odessa is challenged by Democrat Connie Simmons of Centerview in a district that’s mostly in Lafayette County but also includes Levasy.
• In Senate District 8 – mainly Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit – there’s a possible rematch from last fall: Cierpiot against Democrat Hillary Shields of Lee’s Summit. But first Cierpiot would have to defeat Leonard Jonas Hughes IV of Blue Springs in the Republican primary.