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While not a part of my "official duties" as the Jackson County Web Content Developer, I have occasionally been asked to draft speeches for County Executive Mike Sanders. Here the openings from three of those speeches. Use the links to read each speech in its entirety.

Celebration at the Station: Memorial Day
May 24, 2015

Celebration at the StationUnion Station has been the scene, no doubt, of many celebrations. None were more joyous, I suspect, than those family moments, when servicemen and women returned to their loved ones here in the Grand Hall—under the clock—after each of the World Wars.

Of the U.S. troops who fought in those great conflicts, pitting liberty against tyranny, half passed through these doors. Trains passing through Union Station carried them to bases all around the United States. Trains passing through Union Station brought them home.

As we gather here this evening, let’s remember and honor those who never made it back home… those who are not with us… those who, in defense of our great nation, gave their lives.

To put in perspective what Lincoln called the “sacrifices laid upon the altar of freedom,” consider the fact that the population of our metropolitan region is, today, about 2.3 million people. Now pause a moment to reflect on this number: In the course of our proud history, more than 2.7 million courageous American men and women have died in conflicts waged all around the globe. From the American Revolution to Afghanistan.

Who can calculate how many loved ones those millions left behind? Loved ones like the son of Edward O’Dell Mullins, Jr.

CLICK HERE to read entire speech.

COMBAT Anti-Violence Canvassing Event
April 23, 2015

Mike SandersJust a few days before her own senseless, violent death, Alexi Kane asked her school principal why people would shoot other people—why would they hurt and kill others.

Alexis’ body, beaten and shot, was found here in The Bay Water Park on January 11. She was 14 years old, an eighth grader at Smith-Hale Middle School—just down the road from here.

We are here this evening because we don’t want there to be any more families suffering the anguish of losing a daughter, a son, a brother, a sister, a mother or a father to senseless violence. We don’t want there to be more victims.

Making the streets safer starts with getting those who do violence to others off the streets.

CLICK HERE to read entire speech.

2015 Inaugural Address
January 8, 2015

As we gather here tonight in this incredibly historic building, it’s fitting to reflect briefly on the life of the man this building was erected to honor for his service to our county and certainly to our nation.

Mike Sanders InauguralThe lives of all of us—of everyone in this room—have been shaped by the decisions that he made—decisions that charted new paths for our county, our country and this world.

The words written behind the Truman presidential statue in the very courtyard where we stand here today honor this legacy by say: “Harry Truman’s decisions set the course of American foreign and domestic policy for generations. They continue to shape American life today.”

Whether in the White House as President, or in the courthouse as Jackson County’s Presiding Judge, Truman believed that government had important work to do in shaping our lives and making our lives better. He also believed it was the duty of each elected leader to make sure that work gets done.

Tonight, just eight days into the new year, 2015, this ceremony reflects, for all of us in county government, an important passage in our democratic process, the swearing in of a new Legislature. Together, the members of the Legislature and I are deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the stewardship of these great offices in our great county.

Everyone here should know our resolve is to govern our great county as one community with one future. As we are one nation under God, we are also one county under God.

CLICK HERE to read entire speech.

Labor Management Council of Greater Kansas City
September 28, 2010

Thank you. I am honored that you would include me as part of your itinerary tonight as the Mid-Level Leadership Program, now a quarter-of-a-century old, begins a new session. I was delighted to accept the Labor-Management Council’s invitation to be here, and I’m excited to learn of the council’s decision to develop an advanced version of the Mid-Level Leadership Program for 2011.

I know how successful the program has been, having worked closely with some of its graduates. Anita Maltbia—just to name one—played a crucial role, soon after I became County Executive, in my administration’s efforts to reform County government, and today she now heads up the Green Zone project that’s seeking to create new jobs through implementing innovative environmental enhancements throughout Greater Kansas City.

Anita is only one of the many great leaders to successfully graduate from this program.

I thought I would start this evening by looking at that word leadership—by examining what it means. Usually whenever I’m asked to speak, I’ll turn to history for inspiration—specifically to another Jackson County elected official, from the 1920s and early ’30s. I turn to former Jackson County Presiding Judge Harry S. Truman, who would later flex his leadership muscles as President of the United States.

But I’m not exactly sure I wholeheartedly agree with Harry this time, though. He once said, “I learned that a great leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it.”

I’m not sure if he was entirely serious when saying that, but I think his point was that leaders move those around them to take action. They don’t push. They don’t shove. They—through their own words and actions—to move those around them to act.

The greatest leaders inspire. The good ones all seek to empower those they lead—to give them the freedom to step forward and just not follow..

CLICK HERE to read entire speech.

ITT Tech Commencement
March 29, 2010

Thank you. I am honored to be here today—to join with your families and your friends and the ITT faculty in applauding you on this special occasion. Let me start by saying to you, the graduates, congratulations.

ITT’s objective is to provide you an “education for the future.” For you, that brighter future starts right now. Remember “commencement” literally means “a beginning.” So, today we are not here to mark the end of your ITT education, so much as we are to commence the next chapter in your lives.

I must admit, upon being asked to speak to you today I was a bit intimidated.

First of all, your focus today is on what you have achieved, not so much what I have to say. You’re eager to move on to bigger and better things. This is your commencement, soon to be followed, I sure, by your celebration.

That’s probably why commencement addresses are usually given and then promptly forgotten. Someone once told me the best way to have your speech at a graduation ceremony remembered is to give a really bad one. Just awful.

So, this is kind of a no-win situation. As my friend put it, “You’re a dead man.”

Along those lines, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo probably said it best:

“Commencement speakers need to think of themselves as bodies at an old-fashioned Irish wake. You are needed to have the party, but no one expects you to say very much.”

I’ll try to keep that in mind.

CLICK HERE to read entire speech.

Health & Environmental Justice Luncheon
January 15, 2008

Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, and I’d like to welcome you to this community luncheon about health and environmental justice. And I want to extend a special welcome to our distinguished special guest, Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., National President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

How appropriate that we meet to discuss justice on this day, January 15th—on what would have been the 79th birthday of a remarkable man who dedicated his life to a righteous cause, promoting understanding and equality, in an era of too much brutality and in too many regions of our nation state-sanctioned bigotry. He courageously waged a peaceful battle to change the world, striving until the day he died for there to be true justice for all.

Today, we honor how great a life Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived, but we are saddened still for how brief that life was. April 4th of this year marks 40 years since Dr. King was taken from us. Forty years. He has now been gone longer than he was alive. Dr. King was taken from us at just 39 years old.

And we are left to ponder what might have been—what more he could have done had Dr. King been given more time. But what a difference he did make in such a short time on this Earth. Of course, it was Dr. King, himself, who once observed, “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

Much progress was made during Dr.King’s life, and much more has been made since his untimely demise. But much work needs to be done still. Dr. King’s dream has not yet been fully realized.

CLICK HERE to read entire speech.

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