Early candidates for Independence mayor

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

When Independence Mayor Eileen Weir runs for a third term next year, unlike in 2018 she apparently will have competition on the ballot. 

State Representative Rory Rowland, Kenneth Love and Holmes Osborne have all indicated in some form that they plan to run for mayor in 2022. 

Rowland, who has represented the Missouri House of Representatives 29th District in the center of the city since 2015, filed an amended statement of organization for his campaign with the Missouri Ethics Commission late in June.  

Love, who ran for the City Council last year, announced his intention on social media and said he plans to pick up a candidate packet at City Hall in September when prospective candidates can first do so. 

Osborne, who ran for state representative in 2018 and is on the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Community College, said he plans to file his campaign organization Thursday with the Ethics Commission. 

Weir first won election to the City Council in 2012 and two years later became the second woman elected mayor in city history. No candidate opposed her in 2018. Weir announced her third-term intentions earlier this spring and has received an endorsement from the city firefighters’ union. 

Rowland insisted his move is more for legal purposes than officially declaring candidacy, as he’s been talking with citizens to fully consider his decision, and has been handing out new business cards.  

“Under state law, you have to (file) within 20 days of making a campaign expenditure,” he said. “It’s more like the exploratory committee stage, and I have been doing some walking door to door, learning the city issues since I’ve been focusing on state issues. The best way to do that is talk to voters.” 

Rowland said crime, homelessness, high utility rates and various Power and Light issues have been among citizen concerns during his canvassing. He added that he supported Weir in both prior elections, though it wouldn’t be good to have an uncontested mayoral race two straight times. 

“This wasn’t my idea,” Rowland said. “I was happy to finish my term as state rep. A bunch of people asked me to consider it, and I’ve thought about it and am trying to find out if I’d be a viable candidate.” 

“It’s a big decision, both personally and professionally. If I became mayor, I won’t be doing it alone, I’d be asking a lot of help.” 

Love and Osborne both list concerns about police officer shortages and pay and benefits, crime in the city, utility rates, incentive deals that have hurt city coffers and people driving around with long-expired plates as issues they believe need more attention. 

“I try to make sense of all this,” Osborne said, and his desire to help rectify those issues drove him to consider running for mayor. 

Love said he believes he could have won council election last year in District 3, in the southeast part of the city, with better prior name recognition. 

“I won’t be a mayor that sits in the office,” Love said. “I will be out helping the people.”