(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- With St. Joseph's mayoral election still 10 months away, it now has its first official candidate.
Whitney Lanning, currently the executive director of St. Joseph's Community Action Partnership officially threw her hat into the ring.
"Really, I just felt like it was the right time and that I can bring good experience and skills to the position," Whitney said in an interview with KQ2 News.
Lanning said she will rely on a lot of what she's learned at CAP over the past eight years should she take over at city hall.
"My experience working with people, working on issues like substance abuse, working on issues like community blight and neglected housing. Infrastructure and how people are affected by sewer bills. workforce development," Lanning said, listing off some of the issues she has worked on while at CAP. "All of those areas are those I've had experience in and that I think are really important in our community right now."
If elected, Lanning said she would keep her job at CAP, citing the fact that being mayor is only a part-time job and that the city manager is there to run the day-to-day business of the city.
Lanning is no stranger to city hall. Through her work at CAP she often comes to city council meetings. Recently, she's been working with the city and the concerns of some residents over the location of a new tiny home village CAP has been working on.
"I've worked in crisis situations and I think leading an organization my background in child abuse investigation. Just bringing calm to the situation and being real pragmatic."
Lanning said her priorities are similar to those she is hearing residents say they are concerned about.
"Community appearance, mental health, homelessness, substance abuse, those kind of go hand in hand, and then job growth and workforce development," Lanning said. "There are issues we all see around St. Joseph that we can work together and overcome. I just really want to be a light of hope or someone who can lead that charge."
Current mayor Bill McMurray is a board member at CAP. When he was running for election three years ago he had said he only wanted to be a one-term mayor.