Your Overland Park city council primary election primer

Jay Senter - July 29, 2019 11:35 am
Overland Park City Council candidates participated in our candidate forum July 18.

Advance voting in person begins Monday, July 29 in Johnson County and Election Day is Tuesday, August 6. As residents start heading to the polls to cast their ballots for Overland Park City Council, we’re putting together our election primers to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.

Who’s on the ballot

There are three contested races on the primary ballots this summer, with seats representing Wards 1, 2 and 5 in play. You can find a map of the city council’s ward boundaries here, and you can look up your sample ballot via the Johnson County Election Office here.

The candidates for each ward are listed below. We’ve linked to their campaign websites where possible.

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Ward 1

Ward 2

Ward 5

Candidate Questionnaires

Earlier this month, we published the candidates’ responses to the questionnaires we developed with input from our readers. You can find each of the five questionnaire items linked below:

  • Question 1, Public finance incentives: In recent years, developers have become increasingly likely to seek public finance incentives like tax increment financing and community improvement district sales taxes to pay for parts of their private projects. What’s your stance on the use of such incentives? When, if ever, is it appropriate to commit public finances to private real estate projects? See the responses here.
  • Question 2, Adopting a non-discrimination ordinance: Overland Park has thus far declined to take up a non-discrimination ordinance providing legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, with leaders saying they hope the legislature will pass a state law that addresses the issue. Do you support this “wait and see” approach? Do you believe the city council should formally consider a city level NDO? See the responses here.
  • Question 3, Implementing Forward OP: Earlier this year, the council adopted the recommendations of the months-long Forward OP planning process, which called for more modern approaches to transportation and infrastructure; a wider variety of housing options; and development of more spaces and events to encourage people gathering together. Do you support the Forward OP vision? If elected, how would you work to see it implemented? See the responses here.
  • Question 4, Affordable housing: Overland Park has seen an influx of high-end apartment projects in recent years — but rental rates put them out of reach for many middle and lower income individuals. Does Overland Park need more affordable housing? If so, what strategies should the city be looking at? See the responses here.
  • Question 5, climate change: The Metro KC Climate Action Coalition has organized to bring local elected officials together to discuss steps city and county governments can take to address climate change. Do you believe local government has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other environmental issues? If so, what steps would you like to see the city take? See the responses here.

Candidate forum

Earlier this month, we hosted an in-person forum for the candidates running for seats on the Overland Park City Council. You can watch the video of the forum below. Topics covered during the forum included:

  • Planning for “dark store theory” threat to Overland Park budget (discussion starts at 10:00)
  • Whether Overland Park should continue to grant tax incentive packages to developers at its current rate (discussion starts at 23:00)
  • How city council members would take the input of groups organizing to oppose items before the council into account (discussion starts at 36:30)
  • How the city can work to prevent crime like the incidents that took place in the Grantioch neighborhood earlier this year (discussion starts at 50:00)

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