Phil Glynn, business owner and alumnus of the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management, believes his experience serving underrepresented communities through housing and jobs qualify him for Kansas City mayor.
Although Kansas City is surging in economic development, Glynn feels that all neighborhoods and sections of the city deserve a fair share of the achievement.
“We can’t be a successful city if we don’t have successful neighborhoods with quality housing that people can afford,” Glynn said.
Glynn and his wife, Elizabeth, who he met at Wake Forest University writing for the school newspaper, own a business called “Travois” that assists in economic development support in American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.
As president of Travois, Glynn was able to successfully provide 5,448 affordable homes nationwide and 5,000 jobs – all in distressed communities.
Glynn was appointed by Mayor Sly James to the Tax Increment Financing Commission, where he questioned every vote to ensure it was for the betterment of the people.
He helped decide whether the city should give money to real-estate investments in blighted communities, such as a grocery store in a food desert. As an activist, Glynn fought against votes that didn’t benefit people. Eventually the mayor pulled him off the advisory board.
Being kicked off the commission made Glynn realize he had reached his limit as an activist, and to have an impact on affordable housing, unemployment and low concentration of communities of color, he needed to have a position of power.
With his experience on the commission and as a business owner, Glynn knows what he can bring to the table to ensure the city is successful.
Glynn says there is pressure in local politics, especially as an outsider. But, he believes sticking to his vote and his beliefs while on the commission qualify him for mayor.
Glynn has served on numerous boards, including as president of the Northeast Community Center, a high-crime, low-income community in a diverse neighborhood.
He acknowledged his privilege as a white man and how he can use it to serve
“Spending time in the northeast let me know that we need each neighborhood to work together in order to be a successful city,” stated Glynn.
Glynn received his BA in English and a minor in French from Wake Forest University, as well as a master’s in public administration from UMKC’S Bloch School.
Glynn’s advice for UMKC students is to pursue their passion, regardless of what others think.
“If you want to be political, be political. If you want to be radical, be radical,” Glynn said. “It’s none of their business—you’re an adult, and you have the power of time to change the world.”
The Kansas City mayoral race is a crowded one, with eight other candidates in the running: Jason Kander, Quinton Lucas, Jermaine Reed, Scott Taylor, Alissia Canady, Scott Wagner, Rita Berry and Steve Miller.
Glynn says his grassroot, volunteer driven campaign makes him different. As he continues to gain supporters in the community, he says he must learn from the other candidates in the race.
Learn more about Phil Glynn at http://philglynn.com/.