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Unified Government Commissioner Ann Murguia has announced her candidacy for mayor.
Murguia, who represents the 3rd District, plans to file formally for the office Monday, and sent out a news release about her candidacy Sunday night.
If elected, she would continue her current program of listening to residents, finding out what they want and then basing her priorities on that, she said. In the past she has supported efforts to fund basic services and infrastructure projects such as curbs and sidewalks, based on what the people of the 3rd District have said they wanted.
During the past few years, she has taken a stand against higher property taxes. “Raising taxes is out of the question,” she said. She added she has seen the impact taxes have on everything from businesses to families living paycheck-to-paycheck. Before making any statements on what might potentially be cut from the UG’s budget, she said she would have to have more information on the budget details and study it. She favors spending the money on the priorities of the people who live here.
“I think I developed a model in my District 3 that can be replicated throughout Wyandotte County, engaging the people, find out what they want for development and the community, setting a list of priorities, going after those priorities and getting things done,” she said.
Some of the successes in the 3rd District area recently have included the 39th and Rainbow project, a new retail store, a new grocery store and a new library, along with many new homes built and replacement of curbs and sidewalks.
She added that she has a lot of experience in working with the community and developers through her job as executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association. She spends a lot of time dealing with the community and also dealing with the private sector in trying to get businesses to locate here. She has seen up close how property taxes affect housing and developers who want to come to an area, she said.
If elected, she would give up her job as ANDA executive director, she said, because mayor-CEO of the UG is a full-time position.
In a news release, she stated: “I announce my candidacy for mayor today so that I can take the success I have had as the 3rd District Commissioner and help the rest of Wyandotte County. This means being accessible and responsive to residents, working with the Board of County Commissioners, the Unified Government staff, businesses, neighborhood groups, not for profit organizations and across political party lines. The goal is to get the residents in Wyandotte County what they need and want. I will continue to take a stand against higher taxes and work relentlessly to improve government services. Public safety is a priority with the residents of this community and it will continue to be a priority with me.”
The news release continued:
Murguia believes that Wyandotte County’s success must include the input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders in order to create a healthy sustainable community. She said “The mayor of this community needs to be able to communicate with all kinds of people. I have spent all of my professional life organizing neighborhoods and listening to everyone from the homeless to the very wealthy. I want to use this experience to help the entire county prosper.”
Economic development has been a big part of Murguia’s success. She is intimately familiar with the impact of high taxes on commercial and residential developments. “Property taxes in Wyandotte County are crippling to all of us. They make our county non-competitive for many businesses. They hamper our ability to retain and grow our population. They are devastating to the family living paycheck to paycheck and it has had a major impact on the foreclosure rate in Wyandotte County. I demonstrated as a UG Commissioner that I will not vote for property tax increases and I will not support property tax increases as mayor.” Murguia said she has never voted for a property tax increase. “As much as tax relief is needed in Wyandotte County, it should not come at the expense of delivering high-quality governmental services and support to citizens. In the 3rd District, we have proven that it doesn’t have to.”
In her second term as UG Commissioner for the 3rd District she has spearheaded many successful development initiatives, including the 39 Rainbow project currently under development and a grocery store in the Argentine neighborhood. “In the 3rd District we have brought together government, the private sector and the non-profit community in innovative partnerships to deliver the infrastructure, new construction and services that most dramatically impact how people live.” Murguia said, The 3rd District has seen millions in capital improvements and private capital investment during a time of great recession. Murguia said it is a formula that can be translated to Wyandotte County as a whole. Murguia pointed to the recently approved plans for a new grocery store in one of Wyandotte County’s food deserts as an example of what is possible with imaginative thinking and cooperation directed to the public good.
Professionally, Murguia is the executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association. Under her leadership, ANDA has created a new model for neighborhood community development and has invested millions of charitable dollars in the development of neighborhood infrastructure and quality housing. She has coordinated blight removal, new construction, rehabilitated existing homes, and major curb and sidewalk repair at unprecedented levels. In this atmosphere of redevelopment, the KCK Library invested in a new branch building which opened last year. Murguia was a huge advocate for the library which would not have been possible without almost $2 million in private donations. Her role was to provide regular tours of the neighborhood and encourage donors to give to the construction of this beautiful library.
Murguia is known for her civic involvement. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is a member of Argentine Activities Association as well as her local neighborhood association. Murguia co-chairs the Frontiers Project at KU Medical Center and has previously served on the Wyandotte County Parks Foundation Board. Because of her civic involvement, particularly in the Latino community, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City named Murguia their Humanitarian of the Year in 2011.
Murguia has been a resident of the Argentine neighborhood, in Kansas City, Kan., since 1997. She is married to lifelong Wyandotte County resident Carlos Murguia, and they have three children: Wyatt, Thomas and Isabella.