- Former member of Kansas City, MO city council
- Was elected mayor of Kansas City in 2019
- Supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement
- Advocate of defunding the police
- Was appointed co-chair of Everytown for Gun Safety's Mayors Against Illegal Guns (2022)
Quinton Lucas was born on August 19, 1984 in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2006 he graduated with a B.A. degree in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, and in 2009 he earned a J.D. degree from Cornell Law School.
Lucas worked as a law clerk for Judge Duane Benton of the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Kansas City area from 2009-2010. He then became an “Of Counsel” Attorney with a Kansas City law firm called German May PC in 2010. From 2012-2015, Lucas was a Lecturer at the University of Kansas School of Law, where he primarily taught about contract law, administrative law, and securities regulation. From 2015-2019, he served on the City Council of Kansas City, where he chaired the Housing Committee and was also involved with committees on: (a) Neighborhoods and Public Safety, (b) Transportation and Infrastructure, and (c) Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development.
A member of the Democratic Party, Lucas ran for Mayor of Kansas City in 2019. He was elected on June 18, receiving nearly 59% of the vote to defeat fellow Democrat City Council member Jolie Justus. Lucas was sworn into office on August 1, 2019.
Following the infamous May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd, Lucas participated in a number of Black Lives Matter (BLM) rallies to protest Floyd’s passing as well as the alleged scourge of police brutality against African Americans. During one demonstration on June 2, Lucas knelt during a moment of silence while holding a shirt that read, “I can’t breathe” — the words that Floyd had repeatedly uttered during his fatal encounter with police officer Derek Chauvin. Lucas also exhorted what he described as the crowd of “black men and black women” in attendance to help “change the system” and “fight for justice”; he led the demonstrators in chants of “No justice, no peace” and “Black Lives Matter”; he shouted “We are pissed off” and “We [are] changing the world”; and he encouraged the attendees to “make sure people hear you,” including “the damn President of the United States” (Donald Trump).
At another BLM rally on June 5, 2020, Lucas complained that Jackson County, within which most of Kansas City is situated, was named in honor of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder. Lucas told those attending the rally that “the foundation of what we are built on is the problem” and “we need to shake up” that “rotten foundation.” Toward that end, he heralded a brand-new city policy requiring that any police-civilian encounter in which an officer used physical force or discharged a weapon, would have to be reviewed by an outside agency. Lucas also lamented that the “pain” caused by police abuse “is something that every black person in this audience knows,” because “you know that that could be you” or “your brother, your sister, your auntie, your uncle, your nephew, your niece, your son, and your daughter.” Exhorting his listeners to publicly demonstrate that they had no intention of “accepting the same stuff anymore,” Lucas urged them to use their “power” to “make change” and “demand justice.”
Mayor Lucas revisited these themes on June 5, 2020, when he spoke at a Black Lives Matter-led rally where protesters converged on City Hall in St. Louis and demanded specific changes within the police department. In his address to the crowd, Lucas parroted the Black Lives Matter “systemic racism” mantra, saying: “This ain’t about one officer in Kansas City. What is it about? The foundation is rotten, with what we’re dealing with.” At the end of the rally, Lucas proceeded to sign what KMBC-9 described in an Internet headline as a “list of changes [that] Black Lives Matter leaders want to see made in Kansas City.”
After President Trump in July 2020 announced his plan to dispatch federal agents to help quell the ongoing waves of violent crime that had erupted in the Democratic-run cities of Chicago and Albuquerque in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Lucas condemned Trump’s plan as racist. In an appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, Lucas said that the President: (a) “has gone beyond simple dog-whistling to probably dog-barking,” and (b) “has made it a situation where every battle … is something that is kind of loud about progressives, loud about, I think, black leadership in his constant fight with a black woman in Chicago, [Mayor] Lori Lightfoot.”
Lucas became involved in a dispute that occurred in a July 2020 City Council meeting between white Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar (Chairwoman of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee, or TIOC), and black Councilwoman Melissa Robinson (an avid supporter of BLM). The dispute centered around a vote that would determine whether the reins of Kansas City’s animal-control department would be transferred from the city to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity called KC Pet Project. During the exchange in question, Robinson urged the Council members to vote against the transfer and thereby protect public-sector jobs in the city. Loar, in turn, told Robinson: “That was a very nice speech someone wrote you, Miss Robinson. My guess it was labor somewhere.” While Robinson subsequently responded with anger in her voice, Loar mocked her by placing her hands on her hips, rolling her neck, and bobbing her head, prompting Robinson to later claim that Loar’s decision “to physically mock me as an angry black woman” not only had “racial undertones,” but was indeed “racist.” In August 2020, Lucas ordered Loar to participate in “implicit bias training” as punishment for her treatment of Robinson. Under pressure from leftwing political figures and organizations, Mayor Lucas decided in September to remove Loar as TIOC Chairwoman, at least temporarily, and appointed himself as the interim Chair of the Committee.
Amid the widespread protests and violence perpetrated by far-left groups like BLM throughout the summer of 2020, Lucas, in an effort to combat the alleged systemic racism and police brutality pervading the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD), proudly enacted “radical change” measures like: decriminalizing marijuana possession, forcing the Department to publicize more of its encounter-and-arrest data, and removing supposedly racist language and laws from the city code of ordinances. “I think as we talk about a lot of our reforms on the criminal justice side,” said Lucas, “I have always looked to how do we decriminalize poverty? How do we make sure that the city is fair?”
In May 2021, nearly a year after George Floyd’s death, Mayor Lucas announced that he was “very proud” to put forth a plan to slash the Kansas City Police Department’s budget by approximately $42 million — nearly an 18% cut from a total budget of $240 million. The decision to cut the police budget came after a tumultuous 2020 during which Kansas City had experienced: (a) a city record 176 homicides — up 16 percent from 2019, and (b) a 21% spike in aggravated assaults. In October 2021, a Missouri judge ruled that the decision by Lucas and the City Council to defund the police was in violation of state law. Lucas, in turn, portrayed his detractors as racists, claiming that critics of his police-defunding plan “don’t actually want to say that we can trust a—well, I’ll just say it—a black mayor, blacks on the city council, progressives on the city council, progressive whites, in terms of what we’re looking to do.”
In response to Lucas’ aforementioned proposal to cut funding for police, Missouri’s state-run board of police commissioners sued both the Mayor and his City Council. Moreover, opponents of Lucas organized a “Back the Blue” rally demanding that the Mayor either resign or have his election recalled.
In February 2022, Lucas was appointed as a co-chair of Everytown for Gun Safety‘s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). Appointed as fellow co-chairs were Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott; Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly; former Columbia (South Carolina) Mayor Steve Benjamin; St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones; Mount Vernon (New York) Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard; New York City Mayor Eric Adams; former Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs; Tampa Mayor Jane Castor; and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. The founding chairman of MAIG was former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In March 2022, Lucas, recognizing that Kansas City’s rapidly escalating violent crime rates posed a grave political threat to him, suddenly reversed his stance on defunding-the-police and proposed an ordinance to raise the KCPD’s budget to $269 million – a sum that would include $33 million for a community-policing and crime-prevention fund.