Shawnee resident Ajay Sood has joined the race for mayor, triggering a primary election Aug. 6.
Sood will face incumbent Michelle Distler and challenger Dawn Tubbesing, who filed for election last month.
This is the first time Sood has run for mayor, but it’s not his first time seeking public office. In 2016, he ran as an independent candidate for president of the United States. He also ran in 2017 as a Shawnee councilmember for a seat in Ward 4, although he lost the August primary with only 13 votes, or 0.76 percent. He’s started a Go Fund Me campaign for a 2020 presidential bid as well.
Sood said he has been a resident of Shawnee for 25 years. He is a professional matchmaker, operating the website loveguru.us. He also handles rental properties, including for public housing. He said he teaches classes in business, gardening and relationships as well as a class called “Experience India”.
Sood said he plans to focus on three goals as mayor:
- He wants to make the city more eco-friendly by addressing issues caused by the landfill. He’d like the city to push for residents and businesses to have compost piles in their yards and gardens.
- Sood wants the city to provide some type of small public transportation for older residents, such as electric covered vehicles or small cars.
- He also wants to see more businesses start and grow in Shawnee “because there’s a lot of land available.”
He also thinks too many buildings “sit idle” and that areas should be revitalized or created, similar to the mixed-use developments in Overland Park or City Center in Lenexa.