Election impacts

Lee's Summit JournalApril 11, 2014 

Pointing out the obvious gender-related force that will now be sitting on the Lee’s Summit City Council is a delicate line to walk.

On the one hand, we have to be overly careful (or so I’m told) about headlines that read “Women sweep into office.” OK, I get that.

On the other, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to ignore the fact that our city council will have an entirely new look with three women at the dais.

Council alignments, deal-making and all the other routine politics get a complete shake up.

And that’s not just because three women were elected.

Diane Seif, Trish Carlyle and Diane Forte bring to the council a completely new set of skills, knowledge and experience from different sectors around town.

It’s the first time in more than 20 years that three women have sat on the council at the same time. Before she was mayor, Karen Messerli served as aldermen with Kay Ford and Chere Chaney.

The current trio will have to prove they are immediate leaders, adapt to swiftly changing political climates and personalities while managing to bring individual talents and experiences to the discussion.

Right out of the gate, the newcomers to city council will have to decide on a mayor pro tem, a topic that could prove intriguing early on.

Projects like Summit Place and Park Place are lurking in the wings, too. Both have lofty goals, hefty price tags and could bring in massive appeal to the economic development world in Lee’s Summit.

Of course, each of the five returning council members may want to bend the ears of at least one of the newcomers. And quite possibly all three.

Early games of “let’s make a deal” are going to be ever so delicately brought up. Political back scratching is part of the game, sure. Hopefully that nonsense will wait until these three have at least warmed the seats.

No matter what, the first 90 days for Forte, Seif and Carlyle are going to be a whirlwind.

When you couple meetings with constituent issues and the barrage of “hey, I just want to have coffee with you…” requests, the coming weeks and months may be a blur.

It will be up to our returning five councilmen to help them clear through that haze, not pounce immediately to shift opinions and be patient as the dynamic slowly falls into place.

But let it not be lost that, for at least the night of April 8, the women ruled the roost.

Perhaps another female sitting in the middle of those eight might be in order again in 2016.


John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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