In his 24-year career in Congress, Kit Bond helped Kansas City time and again. Now as Kansas City's new federal lobbyist, it's Mayor Sly James' hope that the retired U.S. senator still has the pull to steer federal money toward projects like the downtown streetcar.
"We need transportation dollars," mayoral spokesman Danny Rotert said after Wednesday's announcement that James has selected Kit Bond Strategies for the job previously held by the local law firm Polsinelli Shughart.
Although the city gets ample support for its projects from congressional Democrats, Rotert said, that's not enough in today's divided Congress. The city also needs someone with the kind of strong Republican ties Bond has to represent the city's interests in federal matters.
"We need some help on the R side," Rotert said.
While in the Senate, Bond was known for his keen ability to bring home the bacon. That his name is on not one but two Missouri highway bridges is testament to that.
"There are few, other than our current elected officials, who know our needs and priorities as Kit Bond," James said in a written statement. "He has long been a friend of Kansas City and will be a powerful voice in Washington to assist in accomplishing our goals."
Terms won't be revealed until the contract is approved, but Rotert said the amount will be "quite a bit less" than the nearly $200,000 the city was paying Polsinelli Shughart.
Bond retired from the Senate in 2011 after serving four terms. Before that, he served two terms as Missouri governor and one term as state auditor.
He now heads a seven-person lobbying team.