City Council Candidate Forum

The Raymore Chamber of Commerce offers the community an invaluable service in organizing the candidate forum for the City Council candidates. The City Hall chambers was packed with constituents who wanted to hear what the candidates had to say about why they should be elected. The moderator, Brent Ewert, gave a brief biography of each of the candidates before asking the questions. There were a total of three questions that each of the 11 Council candidates were asked. They were allowed 1 minute responses and were kept to that time limit by the time keeper, Robin Noe. They were allowed an additional  1 minute for a closing statement.

Biographies

John Seimears – A resident of Raymore for 20 years, he has served on the Council for a total of 5 years as well as on the Park Board for 4 years. He is a logical thinker who observes, researches, and forms opinions and actions based on facts.

Reginald Townsend – Currently working on his MA in Business Administration, he has called Raymore home for 7 years. He is retired from the United States Marine Corps and now works as a government contractor in software.

Kevin Kellogg – He has served on the Council for 8 years and has lived in Raymore for 15 years. He served 2 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, is the current president of Lodge 778 of the International Association of Machinist. He believes that the City Motto of ‘dedicated to being a quality community in which to live, work, and play’ is a personal responsibility of his to uphold.

Peter Schultz – A veteran of the United States Air Force, he has lived in Raymore for 9 years. He is a fiscal conservative and expects the city government to use tax dollars wisely.

Joseph Wells – He has lived in Raymore for 8 years and is a retired employee of Kansas City. The potential for Raymore to be one of the leading cities in the KC metro area is great and he wants to be one of the people to help lead Raymore down that path.

Joseph Burke – A teacher at the Ray-Pec high school since 1998, he has lived in Raymore for 17 years. He served 2 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, is currently part of the Raymore Charter Review Commission, is a member of the Sunrise Optimist Club, and is a certified Municipal Officer from the Missouri Municipal League.

Kevin Barber – Born and raised in Cass County, he has lived in Raymore for 17 years. He has served with the Ray-Pec WATCH Dog group, as vice president of the Sunrise Optimist Club, and for 1 term on the City Council. He believes the best people to serve on the Council are those who understand that your ego must be checked at the door and do only what is best for Raymore.

Melodie Armstrong – A physician employed at Quintiles, she moved to Raymore 2 years ago after falling in love with the warmth and authenticity of the people of Raymore. Her life has been about serving and she believes it is the role of government to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to serve all equally under the law.

John Berendzen – After spending 20 years in the Air Force, he decided to make Raymore his home 6 years ago. He loves the small town atmosphere of this community. He deeply appreciates the life we enjoy here and desires to preserve it for future generations.

Bryan Harris – He has lived in Raymore for 12 years and has served on the Park Board for 10 years. He wants to see Raymore thrive and believes he can use what he has learned on the Park Board to help that happen.

Roland Scanlan – Born deaf, he has faced many challenges throughout his life. He is also a heart transplant recipient. He and his wife have lived in Raymore for the past 8 years and are active members of their church.

Question 1 – Where do we stand in terms of attracting retail, industry, and new residents?

John Seimears – He believes we are in a good position. There has been great staff hired. He thinks more focus should be on the millennials who will continue the growth in Raymore. He believes that the land to the south of Raymore is ready for small industrial growth. He believes that the new Cerner complex will start a new growth spurt in the community.

Reginald Townsend –He thinks that the amazing, well trained and knowledgeable staff that are in place are doing great work to advertise the city. He says that Raymore is growing very fast. The North Cass Parkway is an excellent opportunity to be explored.

Joseph Wells – He says that the undeveloped land next to the highway has great potential to increase the tax base in Raymore. There are a lot of employment opportunities along 150 Highway that will only contribute to the growth in Raymore.

Peter Schultz – He believes that the growth needs to be done in a responsible manner and that it needs to include the subdivisions as well as the businesses in Raymore.

Kevin Kellogg – He said that Raymore is rebounding well from the housing crash and that Raymore is leading the Kansas City area in residential new builds.

Joseph Burke – He thinks the City is trying to be pro-active in bringing businesses into Raymore. He said that the land down south is reserved for a business park and light industrial. The Cerner complex will certainly cause residential growth and they will want quality housing and schools and Raymore has both.

Kevin Barber – He reported that 220 new homes were built in Raymore last year and are at 60 so far this year. Companies look at our quality of life and the average income and that determines whether they come to Raymore or not. The economic development team has kind of changed the direction of the city and we are going to see tremendous growth there.

Bryan Harris – He believes that Raymore is a prime location to come to and that our city staff have done an excellent job with the infrastructure of the community. The parks are in phenomenal shape and are a marketing arm to sell the city.

John Berendzen – He said that we are on a precipice of attracting a lot of businesses here, especially North Cass Parkway. He thinks we need to concentrate on all age groups.

Melodie Armstrong – She thinks Raymore is poised for a new growth with Cerner coming in. We have a younger population that has an income that is greater than the Missouri average. The city needs to address the need for entertainment options. Roadways that boarder the county need to also be better maintained.

Roland Scanlan – He does not think that Raymore needs to be advertised because it speaks for itself. It has wonderful parks, schools, and people that make Raymore what it is. Raymore needs responsible government and responsible growth. If it has that, there is no limit to what it can become.

Question 2 – How do we balance new retail and industry with existing businesses and not endanger our existing businesses?

John Seimears – He stated that the city has no control over who comes to Raymore, it is the developers who bring them in. The city needs to encourage businesses to come here and stay here.

Reginald Townsend – He would like to see more diversity of businesses in Raymore. When trying to attract big box businesses to the south, we need to look past some of the retailers who are struggling and encourage the citizens to support the businesses that Raymore already has.

Kevin Kellogg – He said that when new businesses are drawn in, it was a group decision to incentivize. He thinks it will foster a healthy competition. He also stated that he was part of the body that put the 50% TIF in place.

Peter Schultz – He believes that the city has in the past been a bit closed minded when it came to bringing in new businesses. He would like to see more diversity and entertainment options. He believes that offering tax incentives is just something that has to be done to entice new businesses into Raymore, otherwise it will only see residential growth that will have to support the tax burden of the city.

Joseph Wells – He thinks the infrastructure needs to be maintained that serves the current businesses and that those businesses in turn need to maintain their properties.

Joseph Burke – He does not want to see the city brining in businesses that cannibalize areas that have existing products for purchase. He would like to see new opportunities. He also thinks that the city should have loyalty to business that are already here those businesses will in turn provide services that cause customer loyalty.

Kevin Barber – He is not a big fan of TIF, but he believes what the city is doing now is a good formula providing a good mix. Big box likes to be near the highway and the smaller shops land more inside the city. He believes that is comes back to the residents to support the small businesses.

Melodie Armstrong – She said that the practices that encourage small businesses in Raymore would help. There are areas where business can be attracted that are needed so that the new businesses are not driving out businesses that are already here.

John Berendzen – He would like to see more diversity. He believes that while incentives are necessary, they have to be done in a careful manner so as not to disadvantage those businesses that are already in Raymore.

Bryan Harris – He said that a city doesn’t want to turn away tax dollars, but the market cannot be saturated in an area to where one or both fail. Citizens should not bear all of the tax burden. Raymore needs to continue to bring businesses here, big or small.

Roland Scanlan – He believes there need to be more partnerships. There needs to be a happy medium between big and small businesses.

Question 3 – What do you see as priorities for future amenities and/or infrastructure upgrades?

John Seimears – He wants to see a dog park, more trails, and more art in the city. He believes that streets, curbs, and sidewalks are well taken care of.

Reginald Townsend – He thinks the city is doing an excellent job in providing amenities. He would like to see more attention paid to the peripheral streets. He would also like to see the city partner with state of Missouri and surrounding cities to make I-49 into three lanes pass North Cass Parkway.

Kevin Kellogg – He wants to outfit the parks with more up to date equipment like what is going into Hawk Ridge Park. He would like to see a big splash item. He thinks that the infrastructure is being taken care of already.

Peter Schultz – He would like to see more things for the youth of the community to do. He would like to see better maintenance of streets and properties.

Joseph Wells – He does not want Raymore to duplicate what is in neighboring communities. He would like to see more smaller neighborhood parks and a nice hotel.

Joseph Burke – He described the new spray/ice skating park and says that the programming is what is needed for the new amenity. He likes that the city is now building the curbs square instead of rounded to discourage traffic from going over the curbs and making the city look bad.

Kevin Barber – He is excited about the connectivity that Raymore has with neighboring communities and the work the city does to maintain that. He likes that Hawk Ridge Park now has a stocked trout pond.

Melodie Armstrong – She wants to see the emphasis on group activities to continue. She would like to see the roads that connect to the county to be better maintained.

John Berendzen – He would like to see more parks space as the community grows, a dog park, music festivals, and enhanced marketing for the amenities Raymore already has. He would like to have more lighted trails, but overall feels that the infrastructure is in good shape.

Bryan Harris – He says that curbs and sidewalks are the things that need the most attention, but agrees that the city does a good job with its maintenance. He said that there are more park spaces to come, including a dog park. He just wants to keep enhancing the phenomenal park system that Raymore has.

Roland Scanlan – He also would like to see a dog park. He thinks that more attention should be paid to the land to the east of town towards 291 Highway.

Closing Statements

John Seimears – He said there are quality candidates before the people. He thinks the city has good leadership and is in good place and he wants to help continue the growth.

Reginald Townsend – He is not a politician, but simply wants to serve Raymore. He enjoys the prestige of Raymore and he wants to give back and help continue the prosperity of Raymore.

Kevin Kellogg – He is proud of the fact that he was part of hiring the finest City Manager in the state of Missouri. If we did not have him we would not be where we are today.

Peter Schultz – He believes that Raymore is the best kept secret. He is a people person and wants to give the people of Ward 1 a voice.

Joseph Wells – He loves serving people and believes that this would be a great community to serve.

Joseph Burke – He wants to promote job growth and longevity of residence. He wants to continue to see generation after generation enjoy Raymore.

Kevin Barber – After 2 years on the Council he loves the city even more. He believes that Raymore is in the middle of a renaissance. His goal is to make the city an even better place than it already is.

Melodie Armstrong – She fell in love with Raymore when she moved here and appreciates the inclusiveness and small town atmosphere. She wants to help protect that with the growth that is coming.

John Berendzen – He loves the sense of pride that Raymore has. He wants to make sure the city is care with its money and pass on a city that their children can be proud of.

Bryan Harris – He believes that his experience on the Park Board has prepared him well for the position of City Council. He and his family are dedicated members of this community.

Roland Scanlan – He is a simple man who is in the minority because of his deafness. He can identify with the people. He likes what Raymore is doing and where it is going. He is proud of Raymore and would like to be part of the decision making for the city.

 

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