Much conversation has occurred over the past couple of weeks concerning whether Jackson County can provide program funding for Guadalupe Centers Inc., due to my husband, Genaro Ruiz’s, new role as one of three associate directors within the non-profit entity.

Much conversation has occurred over the past couple of weeks concerning whether Jackson County can provide program funding for Guadalupe Centers Inc., due to my husband, Genaro Ruiz’s, new role as one of three associate directors within the non-profit entity.

On Jan. 5, I initiated a conversation with Assistant County Counselor Jay Hayden on the proper procedures to recuse myself from any and all votes regarding GCI, including funding. I have not voted on a single issue affecting GCI since my husband was offered and accepted his new position. On Jan. 6, I formally recused myself on record from listening in on GCI’s budget hearing and left the county chambers. The following day, County Counselor Stephen Nixon indicated that he would be writing a formal opinion over the weekend and issuing it on Jan. 10.

Prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of the Jackson County Legislature on Jan. 10, I submitted a notarized affidavit detailing these events and stated my continued commitment to transparency and full disclosure.

Guadalupe Centers Inc. is a vital part of Jackson County’s Westside community. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for the Latino communities of greater Kansas City, and it has been doing so since 1919. As a Jackson County legislator, I thoroughly support GCI’s mission as well as the amazing work it does in our collective community. I have supported its funding during the four previous years of my service, as have my colleagues on the Jackson County Legislature, resulting in a contractual relationship, which has existed between Jackson County and GCI since 1989.

Ultimately, it is up to the Jackson County Legislature and the courts of law to determine what action needs to be taken based on the opinion. I am positive that a well-reasoned and fair decision that upholds the highest levels of ethical disclosure will be reached. I will continue to take all steps necessary to alleviate any conflict and refrain from any deliberations or action on this issue.

As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns.