Councilman Jermaine Reed
A life story centered on never giving up and always fighting to do what is right for the city that gave so much to him
Jermaine’s upbringing of overcoming poverty and homelessness shaped his core values of resilience and responsibility
Raised by a single mother with five boys, Jermaine learned to navigate the challenges of childhood poverty and homelessness. This experience, combined with his mother’s grit and the support of his elders, taught him how to be resilient, and responsible to others.
For Jermaine, working hard to get a good education was key to overcoming life’s challenges. So after he graduated from Northeast High School, he attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science. Jermaine is the first person in his family to attend college and receive a college degree. Jermaine also attended the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he took courses in the Executive Masters in Public Administration program.
Motivated and inspired to live in our nation’s capital, Jermaine moved to Washington, D.C. to work on Capitol Hill. While there, he worked for a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation devoted to conducting research on issues affecting African-Americans, and was a financial program manager with the local D.C. government.
After leaving D.C., Jermaine returned to Kansas City to help his mother, and mentor his three younger brothers to make sure they completed high school - they did! Back home in the Third District, Jermaine worked with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver to secure federal stimulus dollars to revitalize Kansas City’s urban core.
"I'll never forget how proud my mother was of me when I went off to college. I knew at that point, I couldn't let her, and the community that supported me, down."
-Councilman Jermaine Reed
Jermaine decided to dedicate his life to giving back to Kansas City and successfully ran for City Council in 2011
Jermaine never lost sight of the city that raised him. So in 2011, he ran for city council to represent the residents of the Third District. Jermaine knew that residents felt like their voices were being ignored, and they were frustrated that their neighborhoods continued to be neglected by city hall. Fueled with this knowledge, and dedicated to make a change, Jermaine defeated the incumbent council member by a wide margin, and he became the youngest council member in Kansas City history! Jermaine went on to easily win reelection in 2015.
In his two-terms representing the residents of Third District, Councilman Reed has worked to revitalize the city’s urban core and surrounding neighborhoods. In total, Councilman Reed has brought over $300 million in transportation, affordable housing, business and economic development to the Third District since 2011.
Understanding the diversity of the various communities in Kansas City, Councilman Reed has also worked on city-wide initiatives that remove barriers to economic prosperity for all residents of Kansas City. He has advanced legislation to establish a living wage for workers and banned the box to prevent employment discrimination. As Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, Councilman Reed oversaw the grand opening of the KC Street car, and has worked to improve transportation options throughout the city.
As a board member with the National League of Cities, and the Democratic Municipal Officials, Councilman Reed regularly pushes key policymakers in Washington, D.C. to remove burdensome and unfunded regulations. While President Trump and his allies work to divide our country, here in Kansas City, leaders like Councilman Reed understand that we have work to do, and that nothing will stop us from moving our city forward.