Focus on Wichita
As Wichita’s District 6 City Council member, I continue to emphasize public participation, collaborative problem solving and the effective use of taxpayer dollars, while promoting a spirit of openness and responsiveness from local government.
These values have served me well on City Council, as well as, in previous professional and civic positions.
Government exists to serve the people. That is why I am committed to ensuring that the work of the City Council is transparent. I believe in consensus building and the power of collaboration. As your City Council member, I work to see issues from multiple viewpoints. Residents of District 6 deserve a City Council member who gives their concerns full attention—and I do.
This is a pivotal time for Wichita. While the Wichita economy continues to recover from the pandemic, it is in better shape than might be expected. Now is the time to think big, create a vision for our great city and advance initiatives to build on the momentum. We must plan for the future and make smart, focused investments that will expand our local economy.
Through my service on City Council, I understand that city government plays a crucial role in building a better life for our residents. I am committed to enhancing the business environment, including working to attract and retain new businesses and increase new well-paying jobs—both of which bring in new tax dollars to the community and help keep tax rates flat. To do this, we must bring together all the players and partners in shaping these investments, including the Greater Wichita Partnership, Downtown Wichita, the Chambers of Commerce, the Workforce Alliance, Wichita State University and other local universities and colleges, small business, entrepreneurs, industry, and most importantly, the residents of Wichita.
It is important, however, that we are good stewards of the resources belonging to Wichita taxpayers. When dealing with investments, I demand accountability and results. To do less would be a betrayal of the trust that I seek from all of you.
I have been an advocate for a strong local economy through involvement in the following:
- Began construction of a new $500+ million water treatment facility financed by low interest Federal and State loans
- Approved 20-year contract for reservation of clean, renewable wind energy generated by the new PonderosaWind Farm
- Approved revised economic development guidelines that encourage small business development
- Approved an agreement for the creation of a downtown education campus for an osteopathic school of medicine and a culinary arts school
- Approved use of Hyatt Hotel proceeds to create a revolving loan program for emerging and small businesses
- Secured a $75,000 economic development grant to support KVC Children’s Psychiatric Hospital’s capital campaign
Continued initiatives to expand our economic base and career opportunities include:
- Support key industries identified in the Regional Growth Plan to ensure innovation in the region
- Support the Export Accelerator program to bring about national and global export trade
- Support programs that ensure talent and workforce development at the Wichita State University Innovation Campus, WSU Tech, and other regional colleges and universities
- Support programs that keep and attract large corporations
- Improve the ease of doing business for small businesses
- Support the efforts of regional entrepreneurs, including encouragement of the growing maker space community
- Collaborate with County elected officials to provide infrastructure for economic vitality of the region
District 6 is diverse. Its V-shape boundaries range from downtown and Old Town, in the heart of Wichita, all the way north to the city limits. It is home to some of the oldest and newest neighborhoods in the city, as well as a variety of cultural traditions and businesses of every size.
My experience working with neighborhood associations, the District 6 Advisory Board, Downtown Wichita, the Old Town Association and the Wichita Board of Park Commissioners has given me a true appreciation for the depth, scope and variety of issues that people in this district face.
Regardless of where you live, you deserve to have your voice heard. I have been an advocate for thriving neighborhoods through involvement in the following:
- Adopted and implemented a $22 million aquatics plan ensuring two renovated pools in District 6 (Orchard Park and Minisa) and a new water playground (Evergreen)
- Developed a plan to create a new community center at the Evergreen campus focused on small business development and career/workforce readiness services
- Saved the District 6 Evergreen Branch Library from closure
- Worked with the Wichita Police Department to create a river path volunteer patrol
- Adopted neighborhood plans for Delano and South Central Wichita
- Assisted Sherwood Glen Neighborhood Association with securing City funding for playground equipment at the new Sherwood Glen Neighborhood Park
- Ensured reconfiguration, reconstruction and repair of numerous streets throughout District 6 for safety improvements, traffic calming and needed maintenance
- Supported funding for various sidewalk improvements, neighborhood improvements and pedestrian crossings in District 6
- Approved CARES Act and City project funds for acquisition and rehabilitation of the 316 Hotel by HumanKind Ministries to create 54 permanent supportive housing units to provide homes for people experiencing homelessness
- Ensured retention of seven police positions in the City’s permanent budget to operate the Broadway Corridor team
- Approved and received Department of Justice’s $1 million Community Based Crime Reduction grant to provide funding for community outreach to reduce homelessness and crime in a one and a half square mile area in our downtown(Waco to Washington, Murdock to Kellogg)
- Approved grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas for food boxes for our seniors living in public housing plusCARES ACT funding to extend program for additional weeks
- Worked with neighborhoods on various zoning cases involving cell phone towers, a doggy day care and business and residential rezoning cases
- Worked for neighbors on numerous complaints related to code violations, water service shutoffs, drainage and gutter issues, pothole repair, forestry issues, bike and pedestrian path repairs, reroute of transit routes and many others
- Approved Social Work Internship Program with Newman University and Wichita State University to provide outreach and other services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness while providing practical experience for social work students
The following activities will continue to help ensure safe and thriving neighborhoods:
- Advocate for neighborhoods on issues of concern to them
- Work with neighborhoods on solutions to their specific challenges
- Encourage affordability and diverse price points in housing
- Advocate for long term solutions to combat homelessness at the root cause, in addition to helping people while they are experiencing homelessness
To attract and retain a highly qualified workforce—one that will keep our largest and highest paying companies in Wichita and draw new entrepreneurial and high-tech enterprises—we must provide the quality of life these employees and families demand. There must be increased opportunities for cultural arts, entertainment, recreation and more, or we stand to lose our best and brightest young professionals to other cities.
I support the vision for downtown—based on the input of engaged residents—to create a more livable, sustainable community with quality of life second to none.
I have been an advocate for quality of life for all residents through the following:
- Opened the Advanced Learning Library
- Opened the Ralph Wulz Riverside Tennis Center expansion
- Secured permanent funding for Civic Engagement Academy, to provide training to residents on how to be civically engaged with local government
- Approved dedicated public arts funding program for Capital Improvement Projects
- Supported Open Streets ICT and Open Streets Nomar
- Worked with Park and Recreation, Stormwater Management and other services to establishriver schedule for coordinated programming and maintenanceon the Big Arkansas River
- Approved Integrated Care Team ICT-1 pilot program to assist people suffering mental health crises to get the treatment they need without going to jail or a hospital emergency room
- Received first shipment of electric buses
- Applied for and received award of $14.4 million Federal Transportation Grant for Delano Multi-Modal Facility
- Approved budget for and naming of Dr. Ronald W. Walters Branch Library
- Added support for Active Transportation to State Legislative Agenda
I will work on quality of life initiatives for all neighborhoods to ensure that Wichita is a place where people want to stay, move to and visit. These types of initiatives include:
- Foster private development in order to continue implementation of the Downtown Master Plan
- Support capital improvement projects for and maintenance of intentional, activated and well-maintained public spaces, such as parks and open spaces
- Continue implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan and the Pedestrian Master Plan to ensure development and maintenance of bicycling/walking trails and connectors
- Promote the arts and their importance to the vitality of Wichita
- Support inclusion of artists in working on solutions to specific challenges
- Develop plan for renovation / replacement / expansion of Century II
- Work closely with organizations to dynamically activate the Arkansas River corridor
- Encourage entertainment and recreation events such as live music, sports and festivals
- Ensure continued low traffic congestion
- Create an environment that appeals to diverse populations
- Instill community pride