KANSAS CITY, MO.—Both Kansas City, Missouri, mayoral candidates Mike Burke and Sly James say that they have what it takes to lead the city in a new direction. But what roll with the next mayor's wife have a City Hall?
Not much, if Licia Clifton-James, wife of Sly James, has anything to say about it. Clifton-James says that her main loves are the arts - she is working on a Masters Degree in Art History from UMKC - and her family.
"We both absolutely love art any type whether it be performing art or sculpture, painting," said Clifton-James. She and Sly James have been married for 30 years, and have two children together. She also helped raise her husband's two older sons.
She says their children are proud of their dad running for office but she wants no part of it.
"I have offered by services at the campaign office but not in the relm of going door to door or telephoning, that's not my thing," said Clifton-James. She says that her reluctance to take a leading role in the campaign is not because she fears that some people may be offended by their interracial marriage.
"I'm 100 percent behind him but I very much prefer to being in the background," said Clifton-James. "He's the one running for office, not me."
During the course of Mayor Mark Funkhouser's administration, his wife Gloria Squitiro took a hands-on role at City Hall, much to the dismay of some city employees who claim that her behavior was offensive. The battle over Squitiro's role in her husband's office led to a long fight with the City Council that wound up in the courts.
Clifton-James says the only role she wants to play is that of a supportive wife and mother and soon-to-be grandmother.
"There's a perception that the last administration, you got the mayor and you got one for free, and a lot of people didn't want the one for free," said Clifton-James. "Well, these people, if they elect Sly, they are not going to get the one for free either, because that's not my intent."
FOX 4 contacted mayoral candidate Mike Burke's wife, Melinda, for her comments, but she respectfully declined FOX 4's request for an interview. Voters will go to the polls to choose the city's next mayor on March 22.