Your Shawnee City Council and Mayoral election primer

Jay Senter - October 31, 2019 4:00 pm
Candidates running for Shawnee City Council took part in our forum at SM Northwest last month.

Advance voting in person began Monday, Oct. 28 in Johnson County and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 5. As residents start heading to the polls to cast their ballots for Shawnee City Council and Mayor, we’re putting together our election primers to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.

SHAMELESS PLUG: No other news outlet devotes as much attention to giving Shawnee Mission area voters a way to find out where candidates running for local office stand on the issues facing our community. If you value having a news outlet provide this kind of coverage, we hope you’ll consider becoming a subscriber if you aren’t already.

Who’s on the ballot

Mayoral candidates Michelle Distler (left) and Stephanie Meyer shared their thoughts on a host of issues at our forum in September.

The mayoral race as well as five city council seat are all contested elections. Note that residents in Ward 3 will be voting in two races. 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.

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

Mayor

Council Member Ward 1

Council Member Ward 2

Council Member Ward 3

Council Member Ward 3 (2 Year Unexpired Term)

Council Member Ward 4

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: What’s the biggest challenge facing the city of Shawnee today, and what should city government be doing about it? Read answers here.

Question 2: Voters soundly defeated a proposed property tax increase to pay for a community center. Do you think a major community center like the one that was proposed is still a project the city should be considering? Or is it time to move on? Why? Read answers here.

Question 3: The city is in the process of conducting its first comprehensive planning process. What goals or themes are you hoping to see in the final plan? Read answers here.

Question 4: Consideration of a non-discrimination ordinance with legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals brought out dozens of residents who voiced both support for and opposition to the idea. Do you agree with the council’s decision to adopt the NDO? Why or why not? Read answers here.

Question 5: In recent months, city officials from across the metro area have been coordinating on ideas that local governments can take to address climate change. Do you support the idea of city government taking steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Why or why not? Read answers here.

Candidate forums

Earlier this month, we hosted in-person forums for the candidates running for seats on the Shawnee City Council and for May. You can watch the video of the forums below. Topics covered during the forum are noted with time codes below.

Mayoral Candidate Forum

  • 1.) What’s your motivation for wanting to be mayor of Shawnee? What do you want to accomplish with the office? Conversation starts at 4:30.
  • 2.) What’s your view on the use of tax finance incentives? Are there difference between incentive requests for redevelopment projects versus green field development projects in your view? Conversation starts at 8:40.
  • 3.) What’s your view on how the city should proceed with the property at 61st and Woodland that was proposed for the community center rejected by voters earlier this year? Conversation starts at 13:45.
  • 4.) Money just named Shawnee the 25th best place in the country to live. What needs to happen in the coming four years for Shawnee to maintain the affordability and quality of life that put it so high on that ranking? Conversation starts at 17:50
  • 5.) What can the city do to ensure that there won’t be the kinds of major delays the city has seen on Nieman Now when it works to reconfigure 75th Street? Conversation starts at 21:50.
  • 6.) What could Shawnee be doing to allow seniors to continue living in the city as they get older? Conversation starts at 25:40.
  • 7.) What hasn’t Shawnee had a new comprehensive plan since the 1980s? What should the new comprehensive plan address? Conversation starts at 30:00.
  • 8.) How can we keep partisan politics from influencing local campaigns and city government? Conversation starts at 34:00.
  • 9.) What do you do for a living and do you have children in schools in Shawnee? Conversation starts at 37:40.
  • 10.) What attributes do you possess that will inspire youth of Shawnee? Conversation starts at 39:30.

Shawnee Council Candidate Forum

  • Council members end up making decisions not just for themselves, but for all the residents of Shawnee. What qualified you to take on that representative role, and how do you take into account the opinions of people with whom you might disagree? Discussion starts at 15:00.
  • Consideration of a non-discrimination ordinance in Shawnee brought out a host of supporters and opponents. One of the critiques of the measure was that such social rights issues are usually left to state and federal governments to handle. Is an NDO in the purview of city government? Discussion starts at 33:45.
  • There’s been a lot of frustration with delays on the Nieman Now project. What’s your take on execution of road work in the city? Are there things that could be done to keep it better on schedule? Discussion starts at 52:45.
  • What could be done to expand access to trails in the city? 1:13:05

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