What do you want Overland Park candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes?

Tuesday marked the filing deadline for candidates seeking local offices this year — and Overland Park residents will have some of the busiest ballots in the area, with primary races for mayor as well as four council seats.

Here’s a summary of the contested Overland Park races that will have primaries this August. A map showing the boundaries of the city council wards is included below as well. (And you can look up what ward you live in here):

  • Four candidates are vying to succeed outgoing Mayor Carl Gerlach. City Council President Curt Skoog, City Councilmember Faris Farassati, attorney Clay Norkey and business executive Mike Czinege will face off in the August primary. All Overland Park residents will be able to vote in this race.
  • In Ward 1, Councilmember Logan Heley is seeking re-election and will face a primary contest in August with challengers Carol Merritt, Michael Czerniewski and Ryan Spencer. Ward 1
  • In Ward 2, residents Melissa Cheatham, Roger Tarbutton and Tony Medina will vie against one another in the August primary.
  • In Ward 4, incumbent Councilmember Stacie Gram is seeking re-election and will face a primary challenge from Scott Mosher and Ty Gardner.
  • In Ward 5, Amy Goodman-Long, Sam Passer and Sheila Rodriguez will compete against one another in August’s primary.

What should the Overland Park candidates be talking about during the campaign?

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working to foster an ongoing dialogue between these candidates and the citizens they seek to represent about the issues that are facing Overland Park  and how they might address them on the governing body.

As we’ve done since our founding in 2010, we’ll be putting together questionnaires and hosting in-person forums for candidates based on the input we get from you, our readers.

One of the main goals of this process is to make sure that local residents know who the candidates are and where they stand before heading to the polls to cast their votes.

But it’s about more than that: It’s about helping citizens reclaim a voice in the debate about how our governments work and what they should be focused on.

Too often, we believe, political parties, sharply ideological think tanks and campaign operatives end up setting the agenda for the issues that dominate election season coverage.

We see it as our role to elevate issues that are most important to everyday Shawnee Mission residents — taxpayers who want to ensure our resources are being used efficiently and effectively, citizens who want to make sure their elected officials are accountable for the things they say and do.

So, Overland Park: What do you want the candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes?

Email us your ideas here. Send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. Give us a call.

We’re listening.