With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, now seems like a good time to reflect on all of the things we’re thankful for. Here’s my top ten list (and I’d love to hear from you on yours):
- The patience exhibited every day by my wife of 36 years.
- My amazing children and grandchildren (who wouldn’t be around without the first thing on my list).
- The wisdom of Kansas City voters to continue saying yes to a bold vision that maximizes our potential not just for today, but for decades to come. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Kansas City voters for investing in our infrastructure through our positive GO bond vote in April and making KCI even more frosty through our landslide vote on November 7th.
- The vision of City Manager Troy Schulte, who rarely gets the credit he deserves for his role in our city’s renaissance. He has built a talented and dedicated staff that works daily for the citizens of Kansas City.
- For Kansas City being recognized as an All American City for our accomplishments in improving education outcomes for children age 0-8 thanks to the work of Turn The Page KC and its partner organizations.
- The thoughtful citizens of the Violent Crimes Task Force, who evaluated a very complex issue and developed pragmatic strategies to continue to fight violent crime.
- The continued success of the Streetcar in moving people and spurring economic development downtown with 3.2 million trips and $2.2 billion in new development.
- Our announcement of 50 women (and counting!) appointed to local boards and commissions through the Appointments Project, my office’s collaboration with the Women’s Foundation. Today, 42% of the positions on our boards and commissions are held by women, making city leadership that much more representative.
- Kansas City’s arts and culture assets that continue to be significant economic drivers and have been celebrated at the local and national level. Look for a very exciting announcement, in the near future, about a unique arts experience that will further highlight Kansas City as a vibrant hub of visual and performing arts.
- That here in Kansas City, we continue to build upon our momentum in spite of dysfunction at the state and federal level. We’re still coming to terms with the short-sighted decision of MHDC to not allocate state, low-income housing tax credits this year. State low-income tax credits have been a primary source of gap funding for low income and senior housing development in our most economically distressed neighborhoods. Over the last 10 years, 28 affordable housing developments, amounting to 1,846 units of housing for some of our neediest residents, would not have been built without state low-income tax credits. At St. Michael’s development, alone, 117 units were built for our country’s veterans thanks to those tax credits. Additionally, we’re watching and waiting to see what happens with tax reform at the federal level. Right now, they’re proposing to eliminate Private Activity Bonds and Advanced Refunding Bonds, tools that have been and continue to be essential to critical infrastructure projects in this city and every city in the country. To make matters worse, the Senate tax bill would also repeal the individual mandate, which has been fundamental to the Affordable Care Act’s success in providing health care access to more people.
At the end of day, we continue to see examples from both the state and federal government that show us we would be turkeys to believe any help in solving our local problems is coming from Jefferson City or Washington, DC.
But the good news is, we have it within ourselves to chart our own course, solve our own problems and determine our own future. We’ve done it time and time again.
And that is something to be thankful for.