by Mary Rupert
Unified Government Commissioner Mark Holland filed for mayor on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Holland, who is the pastor of Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, Kan., has served as commissioner-at large, District 1, since 2007. He is in the middle of his term.
Previously, Commissioner Nathan Barnes, 1st District, filed for mayor. Mayor Joe Reardon announced Wednesday that he would not run for re-election. No other candidates than Barnes and Holland have filed for mayor, according to the election commission list that is online, as of midday Thursday. The filing deadline is noon Jan. 22.
“I believe in leadership that is ethical and accountable, and I think we have come a great long way with unification in Wyandotte County, and we need to take it to the next level,” Holland said. “We’re really on a great trajectory now, and we need to broaden it to the whole city.”
He said his goals would be to continue to rebuild the community’s infrastructure, to deliver excellence in service – “we have the best employees and need to be delivering the best service,” – and a focus on the Healthy Communities initiative.
Development in all parts of the county, not just on the west side, has been a recurrent theme at some UG Commission meetings.
“We’ve opened four urban grocery stores in the six years we’ve been there, and we need to open four more,” Holland said. “I think Indian Springs redevelopment needs to be a priority. I believe the opportunity to bring business and jobs to other areas of our community is important. We know our community is underserved as far as retail.”
He said he lives and works in the central part of the city and is excited about development along Leavenworth Road and Metropolitan Avenue, and added there needs to be development along those lines in Quindaro, 7th Street and 5th Street, throughout the city.
“These are areas of importance economically for our community and the rejuvenation of these neighborhood centers is really important,” Holland said.
Mayor and CEO is considered to be a full-time job, and Holland said that if elected, he would shift his responsibilities as senior pastor at Trinity church to turn over administrative work to someone else for the day-to-day work, while continuing to preach and lead the vision of the church. He said his church leadership team has unanimously endorsed this plan.
Holland’s filing followed the day after Reardon announced he would not run for re-election.
“It’s been a delight to work with Joe (Reardon) for the last six years,” Holland said.
Holland said he had a broad base of community support, with several community leaders encouraging him to run for mayor. The treasurers of Holland’s campaign are the Rev. Jimmie Banks and Alice Banks.
If Holland were elected mayor, observers expect a replacement for his commissioner position to be appointed.
Holland holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Mo., as well as a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology, Denver; and bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and anthropology from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
He is active in many community organizations, including the Mount Carmel Redevelopment Corp., the Kansas City, Kan., Mayor’s Task Force on Law Enforcement, the Claude Huyck Elementary PTA and the Kansas City, Kan., Rotary Club, and in 2009, received the Emanuel Cleaver II Community Service Award.