Can Jason Kander Do It? Students weigh in on KC mayor’s race

Kyle Vanice

Jason Kander is best known for sending a wave through the nation with a 2016 campaign ad in which he assembled his rifle blindfolded.

He has celebrity support from the likes of Kristen Bell, Olivia Wilde and KC native Jason Sudeikis. He has published a book and is frequently featured as a political commentator on CNN. Now, he has his sight set on running for mayor in Kansas City.

One of the Democratic Party’s rising stars, Kander announced he was running for mayor of Kansas City on June 25. The announcement took many by surprise, since he was rumored to be gearing up for a 2020 campaign for president.

“I hadn’t paid too much attention to him before, or politics in general, but I looked up more about him once I stumbled across Kristen Bell’s post on Instagram about his book,” said senior communication studies student, Emma Woodson.

Kander’s book, “Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage,” details many of the lessons he’s learned, including those from his time serving in the Afghan War.

Many UMKC students are familiar with Kander’s military service, as well as his past with Missouri’s state government.

“I think Jason Kander is a very smart and talented man,” said Carl Falco, a UMKC senior with a minor in Political Science. “Most importantly, a good politician. He served our country honorably, which I’m sure makes him even more well-liked.”

Falco is aware of Kander’s popularity, but he isn’t exactly sure what he would want for mayor of Kansas City.

“In KC, you have to run as an independent, but obviously he is a Democrat at heart. As a Republican, I would rather someone that share my views become mayor, or even a true independent,” said Falco. “I think if Kander wants to get elected mayor, he needs to focus on the big issues, like safety and economics.”

Other UMKC students have supported Kander from the beginning.

“Kander has always caught my eye regarding politics because of his inclusiveness of all Americans,” said UMKC sophomore, Kayla Stokes. “In an interview with The Commonwealth Club he talked a lot about protecting the right to vote, and his statements were especially moving for me, acknowledging the frightening history of voter suppression with the black community throughout history, and that continues on in present day.”

Kander is in a competitive race for mayor, with eight other candidates in the mix. His name is undoubtedly the most recognizable, however, a fact that some students think will give him an upper hand.

“I think Kander being well-known to Missouri and Kansas City will affect the outcome,” said Falco. “He has a large number of young followers, along with face and name recognition, which is huge in winning elections.”

Although he has garnered some celebrity through his past in politics and rise within the Democratic Party, students have not forgotten the issues he is running on.

“Kansas City has had a very high crime rate these last couple of years, and it needs to be cleaned up in collaboration with the police department,” said Falco. “Kansas City also needs to do everything possible to attract businesses and investors to the area to create jobs and wealth.”

It is likely that Kander’s star power will continue to grow. Regardless of whether he wins Kansas City’s mayoral office in June 2019, his supporters still think he could end up in the Oval Office someday.

“Kander going into a higher office would be something I could absolutely get behind, especially with his knowledge regarding gun control,” said Stokes. “Having a president in office that acknowledges that terrorists can also be Americans makes for a better understanding with gun control laws in my opinion.”

Time will only tell how far Kander will go in serving his country. He has served in war and the Missouri legislature, now the question is if he will serve as Mayor of Kansas City.

 

kbv5g8@mail.umkc.edu

1 Comment

  1. Clay

    September 10, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Clay Chastain, who is a conservative and independent-minded, is also an announced mayoral candidate. Why don’t you be balanced and do some commentary on him? P.s. he is probably the only one who has a chance to beat kander.

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