The Mayoral Forum.
Last Saturday, the Shawnee Mission Post hosted a candidate forum for the city council and mayoral candidates. It was a great opportunity for voters to hear directly from each of us, and I think provided some insight into how we view the role of mayor, as well as what our priorities would be if elected.
I approached this forum as I do every campaign event – as an opportunity to have a conversation about how we can build upon Shawnee’s incredible foundation to move our city forward. For me, this includes strategic growth aimed at diversifying our tax base to relieve the burden on residential property owners, while also providing for our long-term needs, including infrastructure and public safety.
As I’ve written previously, I think that it’s extremely important that if we’re asking to lead the city, we come to that role not just with data, but with ideas for how to put that data to work. It’s equally important that we understand that the role of mayor should include working to build collaboration among the governing body and acting as an ambassador for the city at the regional and even national level. We must not be insular, watching the metro pass us by.
You’ve likely heard that the city recently began undertaking a strategic planning process. This is an important and overdue task. The feedback collected at these meetings will be valuable moving forward, and does not belong to any single candidate, as the process is taxpayer-funded. Rather, it is our job to extrapolate from that information how we believe the city should move forward with implementation, and as mayor, to lead the governing body in finding consensus within that setting. We cannot afford to be mere scribes in this task.
I’ve attended several of these meetings and have found that most attendees echo the theme of valuing the community feel, but want to move forward with development to create a thriving local economy (and keep our tax dollars here in Shawnee!).
With all of this in mind, I’d encourage you to watch the footage of Saturday’s forum. If you don’t have time for the entire event, the Shawnee Mission Post put together a useful question/clip timing guide. I hope you’ll find it worth your time.