Craig Faith made a vote heard ‘round Lee’s Summit back in April when the council and community were battling over whether or not to approve a TIF and development plan for CityScape to build a multi-family complex at Second and Douglas streets in downtown Lee’s Summit.
Councilman Faith was a steady voice of reason in 2016 and 2017 during a massive chasm in our council, a time highlighted by despicable public behavior from a former city councilman, Chris Moreno, who was summarily voted out of office after just one year.
For his demeanor and thoughtful nature, Craig Faith will enter the annals of the Lee’s Summit City Council as one of calm and collection when he wraps up his term in 2020.
Faith last week announced via press release he would not seek a second term on city council. After an unsuccessful District 2 bid in 2014, Faith won an unopposed seat in 2016. During his time, he’s been measured and a voice of reason and rationale during a somewhat contentious period in our city’s political history.
In his release, Faith said, in part, “Being elected to council has always been about representing the citizens and attempting to make their life better. We have worked hard for our amazing city employees to get well deserved raises, we have been able to achieve plans and pay scales that will bring in phenomenal working professionals, we have seen incredible development in many areas of the city…”
Of particular note, Faith left his district, Lee’s Summit and his fellow council members with these words of caution: “As we head into campaign season, I pray Lee’s Summit can stand above the rest of the negative rhetoric sure to come. We have proven that positive results come from healthy debating and maintaining respect for each other.”
That is more than a subtle nod from Faith to whomever will listen that we can and should do better during election seasons here in Lee’s Summit. Faith saw enough negative rhetoric from 2016-17 to last a lifetime. Fortunately, as a community, we addressed that issue and came out better for it.
For a few years I had assumed Faith would throw in for another term, a notion that was heightened this spring when he made strong and worthy declarations supporting the downtown apartment complex project. He would have been a formidable candidate against any newcomer or previous contender in District 2.
Like many of our four council districts, residents are seemingly not kicking the door down to run and face the social media scrutiny that comes with candidacy for elected office.
District 2 is now wide open. We have to be cautiously optimistic in this district.
Not unlike districts 1, 3 or 4, we have to not only expect, but demand, candidates have well thought out platforms and some degree of previous experience in leadership, servitude and/or community involvement. And we cannot idly sit by and hope the right candidate comes around to take on this role.
Council races in all four districts are forming as we speak. Donnie Funk has been active on social media and holding fundraisers in District 4; Hillary Shields has announced in District 1; District 3 has been quiet with no announcement yet from Phyllis Edson on her intentions to possibly seek a second term.
We do lose a steady hand with Faith leaving our council. There is no doubt about that. His departure, however, cannot open the door for a fringe or unprepared candidate to waltz in unwilling or unable to serve to the fullest capacity.
Public office isn’t an easy road. And damn if it hasn’t gotten exponentially more difficult over the last decade.
Be sure to thank Craig Faith for his four years on our council.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.