I have been struck over the past several days at how much you have embraced Kansas City and our World Series-bound Royals. Last week, I traveled to the White House to discuss early childhood education and everywhere I went people were telling me how the Royals are “America’s team.” I couldn’t agree more and you will not find another Mayor in the country that is both as humbled and proud as I am.
You see, I’ve lived in Kansas City all my life. I’ve seen the good and the bad. I’ve seen times when Kansas Citians were proud of their hometown and times when they weren’t. But I have never seen anything like this.
Baseball has made us the darlings of America at this moment, but this is about more than baseball. This is about our City taking its place as a major league city in every sense of the word.
Trust me, I have plenty of statistics about how great our economy is, how lovely our parks are, how efficient our government is, how much safer our neighborhoods are, how cheap our cost of living is. Those statistics would leave half of you rolling your eyes and the other half asleep. So, why bother?
I am all about data-driven strategies and results. But sometimes the most important components of a community’s confidence are things that aren’t easily quantified – like charm.
I have to believe one reason the Kansas City Royals are so popular is because of their charm. Those guys are hardworking, friendly, classy, edgy, and fun. How could all of that rolled up in a single package not be charming?
The same can be said about our City. I love being the Mayor of Kansas City because we don’t pretend to be something we are not. We are hardworking – not needy. We are friendly – not cold (although our winters would suggest otherwise). We are classy – not pompous. We are edgy – certainly not boring. And we are fun – as evidenced by our propensity to combine good music and good barbeque whenever possible (and people flocked here during prohibition, so what does that tell you?).
Our charm isn’t limited to adjectives alone. There are few metropolitan areas in the nation where you can choose to live in a downtown loft or a sprawling farm and still not leave the city limits. You can do that here. Plus, our vibrant neighborhoods make residents and visitors alike feel as if they live in a small town, although our population is over 450,000.
Above all, we are real. We know our strengths (entrepreneurship, arts and culture, medical research, food, music, sports, to name a few) and we know where we can improve (We must lower our crime rate and we must ensure every child has access to a world-class education – and as long as I have any say at all, we will.)
Being real resonates. It’s charming. And it’s Kansas City.
That sound you hear is Kansas City pulling up its chair to the table of great cities. We worked hard to get here. We’re going to continue working hard to stay here. And we’re going to win some games along the way.
I hope you’ll come visit us and I promise your time won’t be wasted. Hit me up on Twitter (@MayorSlyJames) or follow me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mayorslyjames) and let me know your favorite thing about Kansas City and the Royals. And I’ll give you some tips on what to do and see while you’re here – but I won’t tell what my favorite barbeque joint is. That’s like disclosing your favorite child.
Being Mayor means I’m Kansas City’s head cheerleader and that’s my favorite part of the gig. Our boys in blue are giving us a huge stage on which to show people why we deserve to be “America’s City.” Here are some pretty convincing reasons:
Be royal and stay frosty.