WHY REED WOULDN'T RUN. ~ No Financial Reward in Politics, Says Ex-Mayor.

February 29, 1908

No Financial Reward in Politics,
Says Ex-Mayor.

Does politics pay? If there be someone who has the delusion that it does, let him read this little story about James A. Reed:

When a committee waited upon Mr. Reed and asked him to accept the Democratic nomination for mayor, Mr. Reed made a little speech to that committee which set all of them to thinking. He told the story as one friend would tell a confidence to another.

"When I came to Kansas City," said Mr. Reed, "I had been practicing law for eighteen months. My first months in the law business were lucky months. I made money. With fortune smiling upon me, I succeeded in accumulating $7,000. Then I got overambitious and decided to come to a big town. I came to Kansas City.

"For eight years I struggled in the legal whirlpool in Kansas City. I made only a bare living. I got interested in politics and as you all know, finally got the appointment of county counselor. I saved a little. I was elected prosecuting attorney at a good salary, but I was getting mired in politics by this time and saved no money.

"I served four years as mayor. My salary was $3,600 per year. The ofice cost me $4,000 a year, easily. I left it poorer than when I went in. Still ambitious, I sought the gubernitorial nomination. My campaign cost me money. I made the fight and lost. I quit the contest not only without money, but with debts as well.

"I shook off political ambitions. I plunged into the practice of law on a serious basis. I have been making money and have paid my debts. I now have several retainers, which, if I should accept the nomination for mayor, would have to be returned to my clients.

"I would refuse the nomination for mayor simply because I cannot afford to accept it. No lawyer can perform the duties of mayor honestly and still practice law. He must devote his whole time to the mayor's office. Therefore, the salary to a man who has a good law practice is inadequate. I can't take the nomination because I can't afford to be elected. I am too badly in need of money."