Blue River Community College
As Legislator, I initiated and led the drive to include my district into the Metropolitan Community College District. I singularly carried the qualifying petitions and presented them to the Independence School Board. I coordinated the meeting that allowed the Blue River Community College campus to be built with levy revenues, as previously, the District had only used levy revenue for operational cost, not for capital expenditures. This cleared the path for building the campus. Enrollment has grown to nearly 3,500 students each fall and the campus is ever expanding.
Fort Osage Athletic Complex
As chairman of the Land Use (Parks) committee I was able to secure funding for the lighted baseball/softball fields for the Fort Osage School campus. I initiated the legislation for the construction of the concession/restroom building and the lighted tennis courts.
Adair Park Girls Softball Complex
I secured funding and conceptually designed the Adair Park Softball Complex. Additionally, I volunteered numerous hours per week for several years to help assure the success of this project. The complex regularly draws teams throughout the four state region, resulting in thousands of games being played there each year. The complex has been host to the Greater Kansas City High School Tournaments, High School State Play Offs, the home field for Truman High School, Chrisman High School, Raytown High School, UMKC and the Big Twelve College Tournament. The Complex has been host to hundreds of youth and college tournaments.
Youth Court now exists in Independence and Eastern Jackson County because I have been able to secure funding each year. Youth Court allows minor cases for young offenders to be adjudicated before their peers. These proceedings are supervised by Independence Municipal Judge, Susan Watkins. Offenders avoid the regular court system and young people serve as judges and attorneys to develop skills in their respective capacities.
I am one of a small group of County Officials that designed the County’s Anti-Drug Program almost 20 years ago. This program has evolved into a national model. Because of this program our community is safer. First time offenders have been helped in turning their lives around, thousands have received treatment, the more serious offenders are prosecuted and thousands of drug houses have been closed.
Renovation of Truman Sports Complex
I worked diligently to support the major renovation of Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums, and to quash any efforts to relocate Kauffman to a downtown Kansas City location. The renovations allowed Jackson County to renegotiate long term leases with both teams – guaranteeing major league sports in our community for many years to come. Additionally, the leases were rewritten to protect the taxpayers from any construction cost overruns.
Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence
I supported and passed legislation to appropriate money for exterior repair and restoration of this historic building. The condition of the building had reached a dangerous level. As a result of the repairs the building has been restored to a safe condition and aesthetically improved. Additionally, more than 70 parking spaces have been added to serve the businesses on the Independence Square.
Property Tax Decrease
I supported and passed legislation to maintain current levy rates that allowed reduced real estate tax appraisals, which resulted in lower county property taxes. (Typically, levy rates are adjusted upward to offset any decrease of property tax assessments.) Many taxpayers will now see their real estate property taxes decrease.
Quad Payment of Taxes for Seniors
I supported and passed legislation to allow senior citizens to pay property taxes in quarterly installments and avoid penalties.
Union Voting Record
As a lifelong Democrat and Union supporter with a 100% voting record over the past 24 years in office, I have supported such issues as prevailing wage, MBE and WBE participation. I opposed right-to-work, voted for (and passed) the responsible contracting ordinance, supported enforcement at the Truman Sports Complex through Colleen White and Tom Wyrsch. I also supported (and passed) the white collar crime initiative of the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, which enforces prevailing wage.
Parks and Recreation
One-hundred percent voting record supporting capital projects and recreational programs in the County.
I supported and passed legislation to unify the Kansas City Municipal Jail and the Jackson County Jail. This is the first step in developing a regional jail solution for the County and City governments within Jackson County, increasing capacity and cutting the cost of operation.
Kansas City/Independence School District-Van Horn High School Boundary
I served as a member of the 11th Senatorial District Committee that facilitated the removal of Van Horn High School from the Kansas City School District and into the Independence School District. I carried petitions throughout many neighborhoods, talked to many citizens personally, and collected signatures for this change.
Cedar Crest/LaFarge Blasting
I introduced and passed legislation opposing the extension of underground blasting that would affect residents outside the City of Sugar Creek. I attended and spoke at meetings confirming my opposition.
I supported and passed legislation that facilitated intergovernmental cooperation thereby improving services and cutting costs.
- Transfer of old Jackson County Public works garage to City of Independence. This allowed the City to improve their facilities and the County Public Works Operation relocated to the eastern, unincorporated area of the County. This has saved tax payers thousands of dollars each year and significantly improved service.
- Transfer of Hill Park to City of Independence. This change led to improved facilities for residents and saved county money.
- Transfer of LaBenite Park to City of Sugar Creek. Significantly improved security at the park making it safer for residents.
- Consolidated the Kansas City Municipal Jail with the Jackson County Jail for operational purposes.
- Jackson County/Independence Animal Shelter. This joint project set for construction in 2010.
- Tri-County Cooperative Agreement for the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office. Allows Jackson County to offset the cost of service by sharing the expense with adjacent counties. By doing this Jackson County is able to afford the highest caliber of medical expertise in the specialty field.
Adult Book Store/Erotic City
I voted for and passed legislation to regulate and closely monitor such establishments by mandating compliance with health and safety regulations.
Companion Pet Spay and Neuter Program
I initiated County participation in low cost spay and neuter programs for low income individuals. K C Spay-Neuter has now performed 17,000 procedures in 3 years. The Kansas City animal shelter has experienced a 35% reduction of animals in the last 2 years. This progressive approach reduces shelter costs and needless killing of homeless healthy animals.
Jackson County Municipal Court
I supported and passed legislation to create this Court. This new court allows traffic fines to be collected and retained by the County rather than being forwarded to the State. This Court has redirected thousands of dollars to provide County services.
New Animal Shelter
This new shelter will be located in Independence. Jackson County is building the shelter and the City will operate and maintain the shelter. This joint project creates a much improved and larger shelter with little increase in spending. With this facility the needless killing of healthy, adoptable companion pets can be significantly reduced. Presently 8,000 animals are received in Jackson County Shelters each year and nearly 4,000 are killed due to lack of space. Most of these are healthy adoptable animals.