Sly James is a household name in Kansas City, but he’s quickly gaining notice on the national stage too. As the Kansas City Mayor, James has been instrumental in the progress the city has seen in technology and innovation, transportation and the revitalization of downtown. On the national scene, James is making waves in his efforts to implement education reform and commonsense gun control laws.
And through everything he does, the Mayor is a champion for our great city and the people in it. On August 6, you will be able to find him at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as the keynote speaker for Grantham University’s graduation.
Lifelong Kansas Citian
James was born and raised in Kansas City, and attended Rockhurst College (now University) in KC. He spent four years in California, the Philippines and Japan serving the country as a military police officer during the Vietnam War. He attended law school at the University of Minnesota and graduated cum laude, but ultimately, he always found his way back to Kansas City.
“I can go to wherever I want to for a few days or a few weeks or a few months even. But Kansas City’s my home. I’ll spend the rest of my life here,” James told local NPR affiliate, KCUR, in a recent interview.
Kansas City Mayor: Not Career Politician
In a recent feature by People of Cowtown, James made it clear that he’s in this job to get things done – not to be a career politician. Though, as a kid, he did tell a reporter that to be Kansas City Mayor was an aspiration of his, he didn’t think seriously about going for the position until his youngest daughter had left for college.
“I…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,” he told People of Cowtown.
His term as Kansas City Mayor goes through July 31, 2019, and he has a lot of priorities he still wants to tackle before then. His top four areas of focus include:
He’s already made great progress in many of these areas, and maintains an open dialogue with his constituents to understand their interests, needs and ideas for making Kansas City the best. As for his plans come August 1, 2019?
“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,” James told People of Cowtown.
A Mayor Committed to Education and Employment
For James, quality education from an early age and gainful employment for all who want it are keys to a successful community. These ideals make him a great fit to be the keynote speaker at Grantham University’s 2016 commencement ceremony. Grantham exists to provide educational opportunities that fit the busy lifestyles of adult learners so that they can move forward in their careers. On Saturday, Mayor Sly James will help us celebrate another class of students who are taking that next step in their lives. Congratulations to all our Grantham Grads!