Five years ago, the East Brookside neighborhood —just a mile from UMKC—was empty office buildings and vacant strip malls. The only business around was a run down 7/11. Scott Taylor, however, saw East Brookside for what it could be.
Taylor, a Kansas City Councilman and UMKC Law alumnus, encouraged commercial buyers, real estate developers and local mom-and-pop businesses to invest in his idea of the future of East Brookside. Now, five years later, if you drive along 63rd street to Troost you see a local bakery, brand new townhouses opening this year and a bustling street that is still true to its Kansas City roots.
The success of East Brookside is one of the many reasons Taylor decided to run for Kansas City mayor in 2019.
Taylor received an undergraduate degree from University of Kansas and an MBA from Rockhurst University while attending UMKC Law School.
After he graduated from UMKC in 1998 he worked as an attorney, served on the Center School Board and was elected as a City Council member in 2011.
As mayor, Taylor said he would continue to be an advocate for the issues that are important to students, including affordable housing, the expansion of the streetcar and bringing corporations to Kansas City that are looking to hire students out of school.
As chair of the Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee, Taylor played an integral role in securing the new Cerner project, which brought 16,000 jobs to south Kansas City.
Although UMKC is under state jurisdiction, Taylor said there are other ways to impact students’ lives.
“During my time as City Council member, I’ve been an advocate for the new Whole Foods complex, knowing having healthy food options for students nearby is important,” Taylor said.
Fans of the show “Queer Eye” have Taylor to thank for bringing the “Fab 5” to Kansas City for the show’s third season.
“We set up our own KC film office with Steph Scupham and KC local rebate program to attract movies, TV and commercials back to KC,” Taylor said. “Queer Eye is a big deal, as it is a great show and the first Netflix Series to choose KC because we had the local tax rebate program in place.”
Taylor is an advocate for the arts in Kansas City in many other ways as well. He sponsored Mayor Sly James’s task force on arts, which organized the Open Spaces arts festival happening right now around the city. He also helped start the first Artist Microloan Program for emerging artists.
“I was also very vocal about my support for the downtown arts conservatory last year. Not only would that have been important to students who use it, but it would bring UMKC more national prominence.”
His small business initiative, which was the first of its kind in the nation, ensured Kansas City’s economic successes would filter back in to our own city.
Two of Taylor’s campaign platforms are education and environmental issues. Before winning a seat on City Council, Taylor served on the Center school board.
When he joined back in 2007, the board was considering closing some schools due to low enrollment rates. Only years later, however, the Center school district underwent major expansion projects to accommodate larger student populations.
Mayor James appointed Taylor to lead the City Energy Project, and he has been an advocate on the council for environmental issues.
“I sponsored the Energy Empowerment Ordinance, which requires the largest buildings to benchmark their energy usage and output so they can identify how to reduce emissions and output,” Taylor said.
When asked about his time at UMKC Law School, Taylor says the education and experience were both great, but the best thing that came from his time there was meeting Cathy Jolly, a fellow law student who became his wife.
Jolly has worked as an attorney, Missouri state representative, Kansas City Council member and most recently for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. The Taylors are raising their son in South Kansas City
Taylor sees his campaign starting at the heart of it all: our neighborhoods.
Kansas City has undergone a transformation in the past decade, with neighborhoods like the River Market, the Crossroads and many others going from run-down areas to parts of a modern and dynamic city. At the root of all this change are people like Taylor.
The road to the mayor’s office won’t be easy, however. Taylor is one of 9 candidates in the race. His opponents include former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, fellow city council members Jermaine Reed, Alissia Canady, Quinton Lucas and Scott Wagner, local business executives Rita Berry and Phil Glynn, and attorney Steve Miller.
If you would like to find out more about his campaign, including information on how to volunteer, you can find it at http://taylorforkcmayor.com/. For concerns about city issues, he can be reached at email@example.com.
Want to know more about the mayor’s race? Check out page 4 to learn how students feel about Taylor’s opponent, Jason Kander.