Mayor Sly James


“I don’t know that I ever decided that I wanted to be the mayor when I was growing up. It was a thought that had entered my mind when my band was playing at Volker Park. The KC Star had a reporter out there that was asking a bunch of us, (we were kids at the time) what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him I thought it would be fun to be Mayor of Kansas City. So, that was probably the first time. I thought about doing it before Mayor Barnes second term. I decided it wasn’t prudent at the time as she was doing a good job. I then really made the decision after Mayor Funkhouser was elected. The timing was good. My daughter was going to college about the time that I would be in the campaign and election. It wouldn’t be stealing time from her. She was the last of the kids at home at that point. I had been practicing law for so long that it was time to move on. Plus, I just had some ideas about where we should be as a city. I wanted to see if I could do it. So, I had this really great opportunity I think because, I didn’t have to have the job. I’m not a career politician. I was able to run in the way that I wanted to run. It worked.” “Under the charter you get two terms as mayor. This term ends July 31st 2019. I have not thought about anything else. I do not necessary like partisan politics campaigns. I ran for Mayor and not a legislative seat. I did not want to be a city council person. I wanted to be Mayor. There are only three layers of executive leadership in politics. It’s Mayor, Governor and President. Both of those are off the table. I also happen to think Mayor of a big city is probably the best job in politics. We do things. We don’t spend a lot of time talking. We have to get things done every day. We meet our constituents every day. Governors don’t and Presidents don’t. It’s much more policy ideological, political. Here it is functional. It’s action. I like getting things done. I don’t like talking about it. I’m not a legislative personality per se. I might be able to train myself. It’s not my first preference. I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do after I am done here. Haven’t really spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’ll wait and see what the options are and react to that. The way I look at it is if I start planning out my future, then I start acting now in a way to fulfill that. Which is what people who want to be in politics the rest of their lives do. If I want to get there, I’ve got to do this. That’s not how I like to operate. So, I don’t have any major aspirations. I know that when I leave here, I will try to find something that I can sink my teeth into and that I believe in, am passionate about. How I do that, I haven’t figured out yet. The saying “Stay Frosty” comes from the Marine Corp actually. It was something that we said in boot camp. Really more in infantry training. It’s basically a multi-functional saying. Stay frosty means keep calm. Don’t get nervous, don’t be nervous, be cool, whatever. That is where it started. Staying Frosty you know.” “The people of Kansas City are our greatest asset.”

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