Shawnee resident Kurt Knappen has entered the race for the Ward 3 seat on the Shawnee council.
Knappen challenges Lisa Larson-Bunnell, who was appointed by the council in November 2018 to fill the vacancy. She has filed for election to the remainder of term for the seat.
If elected, Knappen said he plans to focus on basic infrastructure and economic development and “be the voice” for current businesses while encouraging growth of new businesses, retail and restaurants in western Shawnee.
“Essentially, I think Shawnee is on a great path already, and I want to continue that good path and ensure that we have good, sound fiscal policy,” Knappen said, adding that he considers himself a fiscal conservative.
He has previously served as treasurer and precinct committeeman for the Johnson County Republican Party. During his time as a resident of Lenexa, he served on the city’s parks board.
Born and raised in Johnson County, Knappen graduated from SM North in 1993. As a 15-year resident of Shawnee, Knappen noted the benefits of having a community center, which would be built in Ward 3, “assuming we can afford it and assuming that it’s put to a public vote; those are my two stipulations there.”
He also wants to encourage strong partnerships with the Shawnee Mission School District and Unified School District 232 “in the form of resource officers” or other ways. He also wants to focus on planning for the city’s green space and trails.
“I also believe that the long-term plan has a fair amount of multi-family structures in the master plan,” Knappen said. “I would much rather see it be built out with homes and neighborhoods because I don’t want to change the feel of western Shawnee.”
Knappen lives in Ward 3 with his wife, Terri, and their two children who attend Mill Valley High School.
Before Larson-Bunnell’s appointment last fall, the Ward 3 seat was previously filled by Justin Adrian who had served on the council for less than a year before resigning in September 2018 amid charges of unlawful sexual contact with a student at the school where he taught.