Jackson County Legislator Greg Grounds, a Republican from Blue Springs, is not running for re-election and says during his remaining time in office he wants to focus on County Charter changes that could include term limits and a change to the county executive’s office. Voters could see that in August.
“I’ve been there three terms, and I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s time,” Grounds said Wednesday.
Grounds, 66, was first elected to the Legislature in 2006 and before that was mayor of Blue Springs for 14 years. The Legislature is heavily dominated by Democrats, though Grounds and fellow Republican Theresa Galvin have worked collegially with others, and both have served a year as vice chair of the Legislature in recent years.
Grounds is beginning to wind down his law practice but said his main motivation is family. He has two small grandchildren in Texas, and the late-Sunday flights to be back in town for Monday legislative meetings have begun to add up. (Grounds has lived in Blue Springs a long time, and he stressed that he’s not moving.)
His current term runs through 2018.
“I am going to work on charter changes and other things before I go,” Grounds said.
He’s been trying to reach consensus among legislators about proposed charter changes that could include limiting people to two terms of four years in office. Also, the county might create a position akin to a city manager, working for the elected leaders and carrying out policies set by them. That person would be responsible for day-to-day operations. Ethics, the Combat anti-drug program and the jail might also get addressed in the charter conversation, Grounds said, adding that he hopes legislators can take this up perhaps within a month.
Grounds represents the 5th District, which north of Interstate 70 includes everything east of the Little Blue River, including parts of Independence, plus Buckner, Levasy and Sibley. South of I-70, it includes Oak Grove, Grain Valley, Blue Springs and Independence.
Filing for the August party primaries opened on Tuesday, and so far no one has filed in the 5th. Filing runs through March 27.
There are nine legislators. Five of them filed for re-election on Tuesday: Galvin and Democrats Scott Burnett, Dan Tarwater, Scott Miller and Crystal Williams. County Executive Frank White Jr., a Democrat, also filed.
In the 3rd District – mainly Independence and Sugar Creek – Dennis Waits would be up for a ninth term.
“At this point, I am still anticipating filing,” Waits said Wednesday.
Neither Garry Baker in the 1st District at large nor Alfred Jordan in the 2nd District has filed yet or publicly stated whether he’ll run.