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  Barnes, Kay
NameKay Barnes
Parkville, Missouri , United States
Born March 30, 1938 (82 years)
Last ModifedPaul
Sep 21, 2015 11:12am
InfoMayor Kay Barnes was elected in March 1999 as Kansas City’s first woman mayor, and was reelected to a second term in March 2003. She brings to the office extensive experience as an elected official, community volunteer, businesswoman and pioneer in women’s organizations.

During her first term, Mayor Barnes oversaw initiatives that doubled the amount of tax dollars dedicated to infrastructure needs and increased the amount of funding for deferred maintenance. Under her leadership, the number of residents living in downtown Kansas City has increased by the addition of 5,000 new housing units in the last two years, and $2 billion of public and private money has been invested downtown, with millions more to be invested in the next four years.

In addition, Mayor Barnes spearheaded the campaign for voter approval of public participation in Kansas City’s new Downtown arena, the Sprint Center, to be located at 14th and Grand. Also the Mayor led the efforts which will bring H&R Block’s World Headquarters to 13th and Main has brought Cordish Company to Kansas City to develop the Kansas City Live! District from Grand to Baltimore, 13th to Truman Road. By the summer of 2006, Kansas City’s Downtown Loop will have been transformed into a thriving entertainment, retail, and restaurant venue for people throughout the Midwest.

The Mayor and City Council have led campaigns for voter approval of millions of dollars in improvements to Kansas City’s police and fire stations and ambulance service, and the addition of 180 new police officers to Kansas City’s streets.

The Mayor has made basic service delivery a priority, introducing ServiceFIRST, a program to examine the delivery of key basic services and, along with city staff members, focus on and discuss in-depth ways to improve service delivery.

Through ServiceFIRST, problems in the towing services division have been addressed, reducing the action time on reported abandoned vehicles; the snow removal program has been redesigned to be more efficient and effective; storm water problems, street conditions and environmental management issues are monitored constantly; and challenges businesses and developers face in doing business with City Hall have been addressed.

In her second term, Mayor Barnes intends to focus on four specific goals: continuing the emphasis on downtown revitalization; maintaining the momentum that has been created in housing development city-wide; encouraging job creation; and significantly improving Kansas City’s basic service delivery.

Mayor Barnes first became interested in public service in the late 1960s, working as a volunteer and then as a paid staff member for the Cross-Lines Cooperative Council in the urban core. She helped found the Women’s Resource Service at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and developed multicultural women’s speaking panels throughout the western United States.

In 1974, she became one of two women on the Jackson County Legislature. In 1979, she was elected to a four-year term on the City Council, serving the Fourth District At-Large. She also served as chairwoman of the Tax Increment Financing Commission from 1996 to 1998.

For 23 years, Mayor Barnes was president of Kay Waldo, Inc., a human resources development firm specializing in communications, leadership development, management and supervision, team-building and time and stress management. Among other clients, she conducted more than 400 public seminars for more than 50,000 attendees through National Seminars, Inc., and served as consultant and keynote speaker for the American Business Women’s Assn. for 14 regional conferences across the United States.

She co-hosted and produced a cable television talk show, “Let’s Talk,” focusing on multicultural issues, and co-authored the book “About Time! A Woman’s Guide to Time Management.” She has taught college-level classes at UMKC, the University of Kansas and Central Michigan University. She is a co-founder of the Central Exchange.

She has served as president of the Women’s Employment Network board of directors and as a member or director of numerous other organizations, including the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas City, Mo., Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center at UMKC. She was named one of seven Outstanding Women in Kansas City in 1977.

Mayor Barnes holds a B.S. degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas and master’s degrees in secondary education and in public administration and organizational behavior from UMKC.

She currently serves as co-chair of the US Conference of Mayors Small Business/Partner America™ Task Force and is a member of the Conference’s Community Development and Housing Standing Committee. She also serves on the National Advisory Council of Fannie Mae.



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  11/04/2008 MO District 6 Lost 36.85% (-22.58%)
  08/05/2008 MO District 6 - D Primary Won 84.54% (+69.08%)
  03/25/2003 Kansas City Mayor Won 59.89% (+19.79%)
  02/25/2003 Kansas City Mayor - Primary Won 46.08% (+12.86%)
  03/30/1999 Kansas City Mayor Won 59.04% (+18.08%)
  03/02/1999 Kansas City Mayor - Primary Won 28.71% (+4.05%)
  03/27/1979 Kansas City Council - 4th District - At-Large Won 61.38% (+22.76%)
  02/27/1979 Kansas City Council - 4th District - At-Large - Primary Won 39.92% (+5.91%)
  11/05/1974 Jackson County Legislature 03 Won 62.56% (+25.11%)
  08/06/1974 Jackson County Legislature 03 - D Primary Won 49.64% (+21.16%)
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