David Waters, who served eight years on the city’s planning commission before being elected to the Westwood council in 2016, announced today that he has filed to run for mayor this year.
Current Mayor John Yé, who has served in the role since 2012, told the Shawnee Mission Post this afternoon that he does not plan to seek a third term. No other candidates for the race are listed on the Johnson County Election Office website.
In his campaign announcement, Waters said his extensive experience with city issues made him uniquely well suited for the role at this point in the city’s history.
“I have a good sense of where our community has been, what is important for its future, and how to help our City improve and grow while respecting what has always made it special—our unique neighborhoods and our community school,” he said.
Waters and his wife Mandy have lived in Westwood since 2003. They have two sons, both enrolled at Westwood View Elementary.
In addition to his roles on the city council and planning commission, Waters served for five years on the 47th and Mission Road Area Development and Management Committee. He is currently the chair of the NEJC Chamber board of directors.
“I am knowledgeable on the issues, I understand the bigger picture, and I appreciate the impacts our choices and decisions have on our residents, our businesses, our school, city finances, and city services,” he said in the announcement.
A native of Leavenworth, Waters received his bachelor’s degree at Kansas State and his law degree at KU. He is an attorney at Lathrop Gage focused on real estate, healthcare, construction and government relations practices. Waters was recently tapped to succeed longtime Prairie Village city attorney Katie Logan upon her retirement.
Yé said he wants to ‘let others step up to lead’
Yé was first elected to the governing body in 2008, and watched as the Great Recession compounded the struggles of a number of dated properties in the city — struggles that he played a key role in reversing. During four years on the council and seven as mayor thus far, he’s overseen major redevelopment in the city — from the replacement of the dated Apple Market at the corner of Mission and 47th Street with a Walmart Neighborhood Market; to the construction of the Woodside Village mixed-use project on the former YouthFront site; to the city’s acquisition of the former Westwood Christian Church property.
“I was entering office at what could be considered one of the most difficult economic conditions in history,” he said. “And that proved to be a real challenge. In overcoming those factors, we have to be progressive and confront traditional mindsets that were against contemporary changes.”
Yé was quick to credit colleagues on staff, council and partnering organizations, “talented people who were able to work together as a team.”
Though he said he decided against seeking a new term and that it was time to “let others step up to lead,” he believes he’s helped move the city forward during his tenure.
“That is the essence of what’s happened here — it’s where the people and property owners of Westwood wanted us to go,” he said. “The idea was always that we were working to serve Westwood.”