Prairie Village Mayor Ron Shaffer is looking to take a step up the political ladder.
Shaffer announced late Monday that he is seeking the First District seat on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners in the November 2014 election — the seat being vacated by current commissioner Ed Peterson, who is challenging Board Chaiman Ed Eilert for the governing body’s top position.
First elected in 1999, Shaffer is the longest-serving mayor in Prairie Village history, having won an unprecedented fourth term in April 2011. Prior to becoming mayor, he served as a city councilor representing Ward One for ten years. He’s been active in metro-wide civic organizations as well, serving on the boards of the Mid-America Regional Council and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, among others. Shaffer is an architect by trade who operates his own firm, RLS Architects, which he founded in 1979.
In announcing his candidacy, Shaffer cited a number of challenges facing the county, including the budget pressure on the county’s libraries, parks, human services and infrastructure.
“I intend to address these issues and others with thoughtful research towards solutions that will contribute to the continued success of Johnson County as a great place to live, work and play,” he said in a statement.
Shaffer faced the first serious political test of his mayoral tenure during his last run, when Councilor Michael Kelly challenged him with a campaign that ended up attracting 41 percent of the vote. To date, no other candidates have publicly announced their intentions to seek the First District seat on the Board of Commissioners.
The First District includes all of Westwood, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods, Roeland Park, Fairway, Mission Hills, Mission, Prairie Village and Merriam, as well as a northern section of Overland Park and most of Leawood north of 143rd Street.
The Board of Commissioner controls much of the taxing and spending decisions for the county, controlling an $815 million budget that provides services and infrastructure to a population of more than half a million.