“Make things happen,” says County Executive Frank White


Courtesy Jackson County

Jackson County Executive Frank White in his first state of the county address today made improving  lives his priority.

He also said he wanted to bring together Kansas City and the eastern part of the county, which have sometimes been like two different worlds.

“Join me and let’s make things happen,” he said at the event at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence.

The former Royals star and county legislator was appointed in January to temporarily fill the term of Mike Sanders, who resigned for personal reasons.

White also spoke of firsts in a county where slaves built the first courthouses in the early 1800s.

“I proudly stand here as the first African-American to hold the position of Jackson County executive,” he said. And Legislator Crystal Williams is now the first woman to chair the legislature.

As for his first priority, he said, “I want to improve the quality of life for people in Jackson County – in every part of the county – and to make sure that our county government is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Many don’t understand county government, he said, and some don’t even realize that Kansas City is part of the county.

He wants help from county employees, who he considers associates, to judge success on how their projects affect the lives of citizens, White said.

And he needs help from regional partners, he said, like cities and the state and federal governments.

For instance:

The partnership with Kansas City has resulted in a joint regional corrections facility that serves both.

The partnership with Clay, Platte and Cass counties provides shared medical examiner services.

The partnership with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is leading to the expansion of a major trail system and more.

But too many residents still experience discrimination, he said, and too many die needless violent deaths.

“We need to stay on the playing field,” he said. “And we need to recruit more leaders who will come out of the grandstands to help us.”

Jackson County is poised to build on a strong foundation partly because of the solid financial management of Sanders, White said.

“We will be bold but prudent,” he said. “To use a baseball analogy – because it is expected of me -“we won’t just swing wildly for the fences. We will advance the runner, or as the Royals would say, we will keep the line moving.”

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