- Current Kansas House of Representatives, District 96
- Adjunct professor at WSU
- Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, minor in Psychology
- MA in Liberal Studies focusing on Cross-Cultural Studies and Public Administration from Wichita State University
- Doctor of Arts in Leadership Studies with a concentration in policy and law from Franklin Pierce University
- Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University
Personal Information: My wife, Chelsea, grew up in Wichita and graduated from Bishop Carroll and WSU. We have three boys, 6, 4 and 2.
What specific Wichita issue deserves your immediate attention and how do you plan to address it?
Wichita’s biggest export is not wheat or airplanes, it’s educated young people under 45. As a father, I want to ensure that my boys have the same opportunities to achieve their dreams in Wichita as I did. That starts by rebuilding trust in City Hall.
Currently, City Hall is run by connected insiders who do not spend enough time listening to the people who elected them. Big decisions are being made behind closed doors without public input. If we want to compete with our sister cities like Tulsa and Oklahoma City, we need innovative leadership willing to talk to the people and put their ideas into action.
How do you propose to grow the Wichita economy?
As Mayor, I would take an active role to ensure that the City is collaborating with the county, state and Federal government to maximize the potential resources we secure. I consider providing a leading transportation, digital, and civic infrastructure to be a top priority for our City leadership, led by the Mayor.
In terms of economic development, I would hope my leadership in office would be marked by a focus on governmental efficiency and an opportunity and partnership-minded outlook. This includes making sure that government stays out of the way of growth in areas where it would likely be more successful in the private sector. A responsible Mayor knows when to step in, making sure that there is transparency and equity in City partnerships.
What is your vision for the east bank of the Arkansas River? What do you want to see happen with Century II?
Downtown is everybody’s neighborhood. Downtown is the beating heart of Wichita’s business, arts, and civic communities, and I strongly believe in continuing the course of strong investment and redevelopment of our urban core.
I think the east bank of the river is the next logical phase of development to set our downtown up to rival our sister cities. The river area is a great opportunity to create a district that attracts people from our entire region to spend their time and dollars in Wichita.
Century II is an important part of our history and I think we must examine all of our options in a transparent manner. It is critical that we build a modern performing arts and convention center, but I think the public deserves the opportunity to review the possibilities of repurposing Century II.
What is your vision for the baseball stadium & Delano?
The baseball stadium is a part of what will drive economic momentum downtown from our entire region. Without reservation: everyone I’ve talked to is excited about the stadium, but is frustrated by how the stadium project came together. It hurt our city’s credibility with its citizens, and I think that’s going to continue hurting our image for a long time, unless we make a change. We need a Mayor who is focused on developing this area and knows the importance of having the community’s buy-in when it comes to achieving big things.
I think Delano is in a great position to capitalize on much of the investment being pumped into downtown and the stadium, and I think it’s setting an example of how vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods can work together to make the city better as a whole, not just a sum of parts. Wichita’s greatness is not derived from its beautiful buildings, it’s derived from its great people and businesses that choose to invest here.
Describe your vision for Wichita’s future and how you plan to achieve it.
Wichita used to be an economic leader for our entire region, however, our leaders have failed to keep up with that momentum. In order for Wichita to succeed and become a regional powerhouse once again, it is critical we have a Mayor that is ready to compete with our sister cities. Innovation is not about becoming the next Silicon Valley or the next Austin. It is about becoming the next Wichita by building upon what already makes us great. Wichita is a fine place to start a career or retire, but we need Wichita to be a great place to build your career. Young families grow our economy and as Mayor, I will focus on making Wichita a place where young families can flourish.
Some citizens have expressed concern about a lack of transparency in city government decisions. How will you work to address those concerns from voters?
In order to accelerate Wichita’s economic momentum, we must prioritize transparency and rebuilding public trust at City Hall. That’s why as Mayor, I will work to form a local ethics commission. Not only will a local ethics commission regulate wrong doing, it will also serve to provide training and guidance to elected officials. I will also publish the City’s checkbook online so it is easily available to the public and end the process of no-bid contracts to restore trust from investors and the public.