First District County Commissioner Ed Peterson, who represents northeast Johnson County, will be running for chairman of the board of county commissioners next year.
Peterson announced today that he will be seeking the seat currently held by Ed Eilert. Peterson’s term as First District Commissioner expires in 2014 as does Eilert’s position as board chair. Peterson has been a county commissioner since 2003 where he has been elected vice-chairman of the board three times.
Peterson served as mayor of Fairway for nine years before joining the county commission and prior to that served on the Fairway City Council. He is an attorney and still lives in Fairway with his wife, Laura. They are parents of two adult children.
“Johnson County faces many challenges if it is to continue to be a premier county. In recent years we have been treading water, and it is time to put the recession in the rearview mirror and move forward with the steps that will preserve our status as a county of choice for working and raising a family,” Peterson said.
“During the past several years, county government stopped doing the things that made Johnson County a great place to live and work, choosing instead to settle for less. We are beginning to see the results of this stand-pat approach: We only fund one-half the maintenance for roads that is needed just to keep up. We have hundreds of acres of parkland that county residents cannot enjoy because we have not developed it. Our popular library system has had to reduce hours. We retreated from a transit plan just as it produced an increase in ridership. We have fallen further behind in overcoming the waiting list of adults with disabilities who are eligible for supportive services.”
Peterson also serves on the board of the Mid-America Regional Council and is co-chairman of MARC’s Air Quality Forum.
Peterson said it is “time for a new approach to leading the county.” He also said there has been a reluctance by county leadership to lead boldly. Eilert, a former Overland Park mayor, is serving his first term as chairman after defeating two-term incumbent Annabeth Surbaugh in 2010.
The election for county chair will be held in November 2014 with a primary in August if needed. In addition to the chair, six commissioners serve on the board. Three terms expire in 2014 and three in 2016.