Government Relations Update 11-18-09

by

Kristi Wyatt, Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Policy Development

The big news out of City Hall this week is Mayor Funkhouser’s latest changes on committee assignments.  Councilman Terry Riley is now Chair of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Riley replaces Councilman Russ Johnson.  Johnson now serves only the Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee;  Funkhouser chose to remove Johnson from the Finance and Audit Committee as well. 

Riley’s move opened up the Chair of Planning and Zoning Committee. Mayor Pro Tem Bill Skaggs was tapped by Funkhouser to lead the committee.  Skaggs had not served on Planning and Zoning until appointed Chair of the Committee by the Mayor.

Insiders note that the changing of committee chairs during the middle of a term is highly unusual. Funkhouser has opted to make changes often.  He is on his 3rd Transportation and Infrastructure Chair, his 2nd Planning and Zoning Chair, and his 2nd Housing chair. 

 

Centurions Task Force – Understanding  Poverty & Mental Illness
The focus of the Centurions November Task Force last week was on “Poverty in Kansas City” and during the course of the day they had the opportunity to experience several unique simulations.  The group of young leaders participated in a poverty mock demonstration month and gained a deeper understanding of what it means to live paycheck to paycheck as well as fill out paperwork to get assistance from social service agencies.

No fancy lunches here-lunch was served from a Project Uplift Van (a social service agency) and consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches-some bags had additional snacks and others were missing food, yet another example of the “haves and have nots.”  

In addition to the array of speakers and presentations Centurions had the chance to physically understand what a mental illness would feel like; a headset was available to Centurions to wear which altered their hearing as well as their sight to truly experience what someone living with mental illness would experience.

More information on the Centurion Task Force can be found at http://www.kcchamber.com/Centurion/Update/Index.asp?IdS=004C7C-EDECCF0&Reference=559&~=

Senator David Pearce
Senator David Pearce visited The Chamber last Friday.  As you may well know, Senator Pearce is a freshmen Senator, who previously served in the House of Representatives.  He serves on the ever important Senate Appropriations Committee as well as the Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee. As of the past week with Senator Gary Nodler stepping down as Senate Appropriations Chair, Senator Rob Mayer taking his place—Senator Pearce is now being considered to Chair the Senate Education Committee. 

While the Senator was in town, The Chamber and discussed with him The Chamber’s economic development position. 

Kansas City Leaders will Gather in support of KC BizPAC
Kansas City BizPAC is hosting a special event on Monday, December 1 at Boulevard Brewrey.  Come and mingle with important area legislators and leaders.  More information is available at http://www.kcchamber.com/Calendar/ChamberEvent.asp

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