Courtesy photo / City of Merriam, Kansas

When Ken Sissom became the mayor of Merriam, Kansas, in 2008, he knew exactly what he was getting into.

He was on the police department in Merriam for 26 years, serving the last 13 as police chief.

“When I became mayor in 2008, I had attended every city council meeting, with the exception of maybe four or five, since 1992. So there were no surprises for me on the Mayor’s job,” he said.

For a city of its small size — only 4.5 square miles — it has 600 business, which makes it an interesting place to govern.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Some say that local government is the toughest branch, because it’s closest to the people.

For Mission, Kansas Mayor Steve Schowengerdt, it's easy.

“If you're honest and talk straight the people tell you what they want and what they don't like and you adjust,” he says.  

Schowengerdt stopped by KCUR studios to talk with Up To Date host Steve Kraske about the meatiest issues on Mission's table. 

Here are five questions Kraske asked the Mayor:

Courtesy Photo / Dick Berkley

In his 12-year tenure as Kansas City mayor, Dick Berkley met hundreds of celebrities, sports stars, and political figures. Fortunately, he never went anywhere without his camera.

“I’m so lucky. I just can’t emphasize how fortunate I’ve been to have the ability travel and meet these people, and take a little opportunity when it was in front of me to take somebody’s picture,” Berkley told Steve Kraske on Up To Date.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – KCUR is running a series of conversation with candidates in the race for Kansas City Missouri Mayor. We're asking them about crime and how to balance the city's budget during tough economic times. Maria Carter caught up with the incumbent, Mayor Mark Funkhouser, at his campaign headquarters in the city market.