Field for Shawnee mayor grows to 4 as council president Stephanie Meyer joins race

Shawnee councilmember Stephanie Meyer announced today that she has filed to run for mayor, expanding the field in this year’s election to four candidates.

Shawnee councilmember Stephanie Meyer is running for mayor.

Meyer will face incumbent Michelle Distler, challenger and former councilmember Dawn Tubbesing, and Shawnee resident Ajay Sood in an August primary. The top two finishers in the primary will advance to the general election in November.

A councilmember for almost six years, Meyer said she has considered running for mayor for at least the past year.

“I really think we need someone who is going to lead our city and look towards the future,” she said, citing Shawnee’s plans to build a strategic and comprehensive plan that will determine the direction of the city’s future. “I want to make sure we’re doing that while respecting our past but also focusing on what we could be.”

Meyer was first appointed to the council in October 2013 to fill a vacancy in Ward 3. She was then elected to a full term in April 2015. She currently serves as council president. Before joining the council, she served on the city’s planning commission.

If elected mayor, Meyer said she plans to focus on maintaining the quality of core services for residents and working to build relationships with external economic development partners. Her efforts would include a renewed focus on downtown as well as growing the western portion of the city.

“I think that we’re in great financial shape,” she said. “I think we have a really amazing story to tell as a city, and we should be out there competing with other municipalities because I think we can win. I think we can sell it and attract residents and additional businesses, and I want somebody at the helm who’s going to help do that.”

A supporter of the proposed community center (of which voters are considering in a mail-in ballot election this month), Meyer said she would also work to upgrade the city’s fire stations and other public infrastructure needs.

Meyer said the city is financially prepared to address stormwater needs and economic development projects that need public funds to get off the ground. Shawnee can adequately fund its public safety agencies and a community center as well, she added.

A member of the Kansas City Chamber’s 2019 Centurions Leadership Class, Meyer is an alumna of both Shawnee Tomorrow (2013) and Leadership Kansas (2014). She serves as the vice chair of the National League of Cities First Tier Suburbs Council and is a member of the Young Municipal Leaders Steering Committee and Community and Economic Development Advocacy Committee.

Meyer has also served as past president of the Shawnee Rotary Club. She is current chair of the Johnson County Theatre in the Park Advisory Council and a volunteer “Big” with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.

Citing her civic experience and community involvement, Meyer said she is prepared to be an ambassador for Shawnee and give voice to the city at the regional level.

“I’ve really tried to serve my community in a variety of roles, and I think that gives me a good perspective on what all of our residents want,” she said, adding that she’s not from Shawnee and is proud that she chose to move here. “I think many folks are coming into Johnson County for the first time, and they’re trying to decide which city they’re going to live in, and I think it’s helpful to have a mayor who’s been in those shoes.”