A resident of Prairie Village’s Ward 1 has launched a late-but-aggressive write-in campaign against city council incumbent Jori Nelson.
Though his name won’t be on the November ballot, Dan Solenberger began knocking doors and placing yard signs throughout northern Prairie Village neighborhoods in an effort to unseat Nelson, who he says has upset many Ward 1 residents.
On his website, Solenberger says that Nelson has a “history of claiming nefarious behavior” by the city’s governing body, but has produced no evidence of waste or fraud. He cites Nelson’s involvement in efforts to get the Faith Lutheran Church property turned into a city park as an example of an overreach on her part.
“With high emotions for the remaining members of the church, treating the situation with the upmost respect was very important,” Solenberger writes. “Instead Jori Nelson took it upon herself to distribute a letter to the community insisting the property be purchased by the city for a park and that any development of the property would be denied by city.”
For her part, Nelson said Solenberger’s claims against her are unfounded or unwarranted.
“I’m disappointed that he has initiated his campaign with false, negative, and personal attacks on me,” Nelson said. “I was surprised to learn of his candidacy, given that he has never attended any City Council meetings that I’m aware of or reached out to me to share any ideas about Ward 1. I promise to continue having positive dialogue with my residents and representing their best interest at City Hall.”
Solenberger has lived in Prairie Village since 1974, and attended Highlands Elementary, Indian Hills Middle School and Shawnee Mission East. He holds a degree in economics from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., and a master’s degree from KU. He spent the beginning of his career as an auditor, but now works as a real estate agent.
He applied to be appointed to the other Ward 1 council seat after incumbent Ashley Weaver moved out of the area, but was not selected for the position. (Mayor Laura Wassmer tapped Chad Andrew Herring to fill the remainder of Weaver’s term). Even though the filing deadline for the fall election had passed after he learned he hadn’t been chosen for the seat, he decided to mount a campaign against Nelson. To vote for Solenberger, Ward 1 residents will have to write his name in on the ballot.
“I believe my experience is very relevant to the city of Prairie Village and its future,” Solenberger said. “The main responsibility of the city council is stewardship of our city’s $20-plus million dollar budget, deciding how to use the budget and how much to tax the citizens and by what means. I will take this responsibility seriously. I recognizes that many Prairie Village Ward 1 residents are unhappy with many decisions from the current Ward 1 leadership.”