Kansas City, MO, elects majority of bike/ped friendly candidates

Bicyclist votes in Kansas City, Missouri, elections--photo courtesy Eric Rogers
Kansas City Coalition for Walking and Bicycling, which includes the Missouri Bicycle Federation and other local KC area organizations, had a very successful experience this year becoming involved with the KCMO municipal elections.

7 of 9 candidates endorsed by the Coalition won seats in elections held yesterday.

According to MBF Board Member Eric Rogers' KCBike.info report:

Yesterday’s election was a good one for cycling. For the first time the bicycle and pedestrian community became organized and asserted itself as an important constituency. Six of twelve incoming City Council members were endorsed by the KC Coalition for Walking and Bicycling. With the addition of Mark Funkhouser as Mayor we will have a majority on the council!

Only two of our endorsed candidates lost, both to opponents who also turned in good answers to our questionnaires. So in total we have at least 9 of 13 council members who are supportive of bike/ped issues.
Due to the Coalition's involvement, for the first time bicycle and pedestrian issues became part of the election, mentioned in candidate's platforms and in news reports profiling candidates.

The Coalition
  • created a detailed briefing paper [PDF] outlining issues and solutions relevant to the city
  • distributed candidate questionnaires [PDF] to all candidates
  • convened a committee of representatives of various organizations and interested individuals that met to collate the results and choose candidates for endorsement
  • published the endorsements and the candidate's detailed responses for both the primary and final elections to thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists via web and email lists
  • organized some volunteers to help with endorsed candidates campaigns
  • in a successful experiment, distributed voter guides [PDF] to voters at polling places.
Particularly important is was the election of Russ Johnson in a closely contested race. Johnson has been a key supporter of bicycle and pedestrian issues on KCMO's Public Infrastructure Advisory Committee and a key ally in our campaign (partially successful already but still in process) to develop the first safe bicycle and pedestrian crossing points of the Missouri River near downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Also important was the election of the Coalition's endorsed candidate for Mayor, Mark Funkhauser, who is a bicyclist and submitted a very detailed proposal for improving conditions for walking and bicycling as part of his candidate questionnaire response.

The complete list of candidates endorsed and outcome:
Mayor: Mark Funkhouser (winner)

1st District At-Large: Deb Hermann (winner)

2nd District: Russ Johnson (winner)

3rd District At-Large: Deborah "Dee" Williams

4th District: Jan Marcason (winner)
4th District At-Large: Doug Gamble

5th District At-Large: Cindy Baker Circo (winner)

6th District: John Sharp (winner)
6th District At-Large: Cathy Jolly (winner)

Races not listed were unopposed and/or had no endorsement.