Janice (Grant) Witt has filed for mayor and CEO of Kansas City, Kan.,-Wyandotte County.
Her filing brings to five the number of mayoral candidates. Witt, 45, is a native of Kansas City, Kan. She said her main issue was the lack of representation for the residents and the taxpayers of the county. She has avoided party labels.
Known as being outspoken from her previous campaign for Unified Government commissioner, 1st District at large in 2011, Witt said, “Everything is done before we know anything is going on. Even if we try to fight through the system, the information is basically playing keep-away. The people deserve to have a seat at the table.”
Witt said she has spoken with residents and most of them are primarily concerned about their high taxes.
“The history of this county is they give everything away and the citizens have to pay for it on the back side,” Witt said, referring to tax breaks for businesses.
Witt said she lives in the same home that her mother bought in the 1940s in Wyandotte County.
“I don’t live excessively and I don’t think the county should be given away excessively,” she said. “I just don’t think that’s fair to the people.
"We’re going to do what we have to do to dig out if I’m the mayor,” Witt said. “We’re not going to give anything else away.”
One example of taxes going up here was the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) fee that the Unified Government placed on Board of Public Utilities bills, she said. While it is not counted as part of the property tax rate, it is an example of taxes increasing, she said.
“I have serious angst with the fact we paint this beautiful picture of this county, but look at the statistics, we are the least and the worst of everything,” Witt said. She cited the county’s high unemployment rate, the high property tax rates and the county’s low health rankings.
Witt said many of her 1980s school contemporaries have left the county. “They’re missing in the leadership,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere because my heart is here. It’s real. It’s my passion, and that’s why I’m running.”
In the past year Witt has helped start a Civitan group in Wyandotte County and is serving as its president. She said she was contacted and asked to help start the group, which performs community service and helps those in need. She said it has no political connections. She is planning to find someone else to lead the group while she is seeking office.
She said one of the differences between the other candidates and herself was that she is not part of any old political groups.
“I think it’s time for new blood,” she said. She added that she had no agenda and just wanted to make the community the best place it could be for the residents, and to help the middle class.
Witt is a graduate of Washington High School, attended Sterling College, received a bachelor’s degree in human resources, and attended the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where she received a master’s degree in service and hospitality, and management. She is married to retired chiropractor Ron Witt.