Kay Barnes

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Kay Waldo Barnes
52nd Mayor of Kansas City
In office
May 1999 – May 2007
Preceded byEmanuel Cleaver
Succeeded byMark Funkhouser
Personal details
Born (1938-03-30) March 30, 1938 (age 81)
St. Joseph, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceKansas City, Missouri
Alma materUniversity of Kansas,
University of Missouri–Kansas City
OccupationSenior Director for University Engagement at Park University

Kay Waldo Barnes (born March 30, 1938) is a former two-term Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

She was the Democratic nominee for Missouri's 6th congressional district (map) of the United States House of Representatives in the 2008 election against Republican incumbent Sam Graves.


A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, she earned a B.S. degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas and a masters in secondary education from the University of Missouri–Kansas City.[1] She was president of Kay Waldo, Inc., a human resources development firm until her retirement. She is a cousin of famous journalist Walter Cronkite.[2]


In 1974, she was one of the first two women on the Jackson County Legislature. She was elected to the Kansas City council in 1979.

Barnes was the first female mayor of Kansas City. Mayor Barnes has received the most credit for her work in improving Downtown Kansas City and working for beginning the revitalization of the urban core. She is also credited with the Sprint Center arena in Kansas City that opened on October 10, 2007. She was first elected mayor on her birthday in 1999, and re-elected for a second term in 2003. She was succeeded as mayor of Kansas City on May 1, 2007, when Mark Funkhouser took office.

At Missouri Democratic functions, beginning in April, 2007, Mayor Barnes made it clear that she was seriously considering a run for Congress in 2008, and on May 14, 2007, she officially announced her candidacy. She was endorsed by Emily's List.[3] On August 5, 2008, Barnes won against Ali Allon Sherkat in the Democratic primary with 84.5% of the vote.[4]

In late 2007, Barnes announced she would run in the Democratic primary for Missouri's 6th congressional district, held by four-term Republican Sam Graves. She had spent most of her life in the district; she lives in the 6th's portion of Kansas City, and grew up in St. Joseph, the largest city entirely in the 6th. Although the race was initially thought to be competitive, Barnes was soundly defeated, taking only 37 percent of the vote. She even lost the district's share of Kansas City.

She is Senior Director for University Engagement at Park University.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bio information on Barnes, Graves". Fort Mill Times. September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.[dead link]
  2. ^ Cronkite wins Truman neighbor award Lawrence Journal-World, May 9, 2004
  3. ^ Kay Barnes, U.S. House, MO Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine Emily's List
  4. ^ U.S. Representative - District 6 Missouri Secretary of State election results
  5. ^ "Barnes Appointed to New Position at Park University". Park University. July 2, 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-03.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Emanuel Cleaver
Mayors of Kansas City, Missouri
Succeeded by
Mark Funkhouser