Kansas City Councilwoman Jolie Justus confirmed her intention to seek the Kansas City mayor’s office in 2019. Justus made the announcement during an event supporting Tuesday’s KCI referendum at the UMKC School of Law on Wednesday.
The fourth district councilwoman filed campaign committee paperwork for the 2019 election back in August but has not spoken publicly about a run for the city’s highest office.
“I am putting things in place to run for mayor in 2019,” said Justus. “But, I am focused solely at this point on passing a new single terminal and extending the streetcar to UMKC.”
Justus is the Director of Pro Bono services at Shook, Hardy & Bacon law firm. Before working in City Hall, she represented Kansas City and Grandview in the Missouri Senate.
A third-generation Roo, she graduated from UMKC School of Law in 1998.
Justus was the first openly gay person to be elected to the Missouri Senate and only the third elected to the Missouri General Assembly.
Much of the KCI presentation sounded like a candidate looking forward, and looking to millennials.
She focused much of her appeal on a theme of “Kansas City Rising” and supporting the momentum she feels moving the city ahead.
“We are in the driver’s seat,” Justus exclaimed.
The councilwoman joins an already crowded field of candidates more than 18 months before the election to replace Mayor Sly James, who is in his second term and cannot run again.
At least five other candidates have filed paperwork for the election. Justus is one of four council members running along with a local attorney and a downtown business owner.
Councilmen Scott Wagner, Jermaine Reed, and Scott Taylor have formed committees. The field of candidates is expected to grow larger as more hopefuls make their intentions known. Former Jackson County executive and current Councilwoman Katheryn Shields is widely thought to have interest in the office as well.
Taylor enjoys a commanding lead with fundraising. He had more than $360,000 on hand at the time of his last filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Justus, in second place, had $52,000.
The primary election will be held in April 2019. The top two finishers in the primary will face off in the general election the following June.