Cindy Claycomb – Candidate for Wichita City Council – District 6

Candidates

Responses below are from the candidates and have not been edited. All candidates for a race who chose to respond were asked the same questions.

Biographical Information:

Work History

  • Elected to Wichita City Council, District 6 in 2017
  • Employed at Wichita State University, over 20 years, holding positions of professor of marketing, interim dean of the business school and assistant to the President for strategic planning
  • Employed by Pizza Hut and Boeing, over 10 years in various analyst and management positions

Education

  • BBA Wichita State University
  • MBA Wichita State University
  • PhD Oklahoma State University

Current Boards and Coalitions

  1. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition Board
  2. HumanKind Ministries Board of Directors
  3. Downtown Wichita Board of Directors
  4. Botanica Board of Trustees
  5. Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP) of South Central Kansas (Vice-chair)
  6. WSU Tech Industry Advisory Board
  7. Arts Council Board of Directors
  8. Health and Wellness Coalition Advisory Council
  9. Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WAMPO) Transportation Policy Body
  10. Old Town Association Board of Directors
  11. South Central Kansas Transportation Coalition
  12. Hispanics in Real Estate Board of Directors
  13. Raise My Head Foundation Advisory Board

Prior Community Service

  • City of Wichita Board of Park Commissioner, District 6 representative for eight years
    (elected as President in last term)
  • City of Wichita District 6 District Advisory Board
  • Clean Air Wichita Campaign Co-Chair (resulted in smoke-free workplaces, including
    restaurants and bars)
  • Wichita Bicycle Master Plan Steering Committee to develop a guide for the City of
    Wichita regarding bicycle infrastructure investments, operations and policies
  • Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Regional Pathway System Plan
    Advisory Committee to establish a backbone pathway system to connect existing and
    future bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the region
  • City of Wichita Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (PROS) Technical Advisory Group to
    develop a 20-year strategic master plan that will help attract and retain business and
    industry and the workforce they employ
  • Local bicycle and pedestrian groups to convert the 17th Street rail corridor into a
    pathway, now known as the popular Redbud Trail

Family

Life-long Wichita-area resident. Married to Charlie (husband of 40 plus years). Adult daughter,
son-in-law, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all living in Wichita. Mother, sister
and brother live in Wichita. Father passed away last year. Brother who lives in Texas.

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

CindyClaycomb.com
Facebook: Cindy Claycomb for Wichita City Council

What specific Wichita issues deserve your immediate attention and how do you plan to address them?

Addressing the root causes of homelessness. I will continue my work as a board member
of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition to develop a sustainable, accessible
and integrated system of care that serves people with mental health and substance
abuse disorders who are in crisis, in order to efficiently and effectively deliver services
that create positive outcomes. The efforts of the MHSAC are especially critical for
people experiencing homelessness who are suffering from mental health or substance
abuse issues. Our Coalition of over 30 partners is (1) reducing barriers for patients to
receive services they need when they need them, (2) improving communication,
coordination and collaboration among service providers and (3) identifying programs to
ensure there are enough employees to meet demand in behavioral health professions.

Supporting workforce programs and quality of place initiatives for talent attraction and
retention. I support programs for business growth and new good paying jobs. I serve on
the WSU Tech Industry Advisory Board. WSU Tech trains people for jobs that are in high
demand by employers. They collaborate with industry partners to ensure that workers
have the right skills for high-wage jobs. My work on this board supports these programs.
I support business growth and jobs through the Wichita City Council’s assistance to the
Greater Wichita Partnership. The Partnership is focused on economic development for
the greater Wichita region through attraction and retention of jobs and workers. I will
continue to advocate for small businesses through the City’s newly revised economic
development guidelines.

What are your thoughts on the non-discrimination ordinance (NDO)?

The new ordinance provides protections for marginalized groups in our community while
including protections for religious freedom. Passing this ordinance was the right decision for
our community, and with public engagement, we have now done it the right way.

The passage was delayed for 90 days to gain better community engagement in this process.
Over the 90 days, I met with several individuals and groups, watched the Kansas Leadership
Center convening sessions and the City’s Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights Advisory Board
meetings. This important public engagement helped us amend the ordinance to make it even
better for our community.

What is your vision for the east bank of the Arkansas River? What do you want to see happen with Century II and the old downtown library?

My vision is for Wichita to have large gathering and performing arts spaces that reflect the
values and aspirations of the City of Wichita for generations to come. I am listening to all sides
of this issue. My question about the future of Century II is whether renovation or replacement
makes the most sense? When this question is answered sufficiently, then we can decide if and
how the city’s needs will be best served.

Many of us who grew up here and have frequently visited Century II have a great affection for it
as a landmark building, especially the circular blue roof. But even those of us who love Century
II acknowledge that it not a functional modern facility for meetings, trade shows and
performances.

What should Wichita do about food deserts?

The City of Wichita’s support for the new Food System Master Plan is instrumental in
addressing food insecurity, including food deserts. Local government policy can influence all
parts of the food system. Examples of policies that I support to advance or strengthen a healthy
local food system for all include: food and farm friendly zoning and land use policies;
investment in food system entrepreneurs with loans, grants or other support; support skill and
technical training opportunities in food and farming; and foster purchasing policies that support
purchasing from local farms.

What should be done about violence in the city?

The Wichita Police Department needs continued funding for staff, equipment and facilities to
ensure public safety in our City. We also need to move toward strategies and tactics that help
us re-imagine policing in our community to reduce violence. All citizens benefit when there is
trust established between police and community.

Potential strategies and tactics include: (1) look for opportunities to help community members
rather than punish them (for example, the City’s Lights On program that provides residents with
vouchers to get broken vehicle lights fixed rather than receive a ticket); (2) invest in poor and
lower income neighborhoods because everyone deserves to live in a safe neighborhood; (3)
provide more resources to ensure employment opportunities and activities for youth; (4)
provide resources to discourage recidivism of offenders who return to the community; (5)
increase practice of social workers responding to mental health and substance abuse crises,
with or instead of police (for example, social workers embedded with police, integrated care
team support, violence interrupters); (6) engage the community to help choose new officers,
recommend promotions and identify specialty units needed (for example, Domestic
Intervention and Violence Reduction Program).

How should Wichita address mental health issues and addiction in our community?

Wichita must develop a sustainable, accessible and integrated system of care that serves
people with mental health and substance abuse disorders who are in crisis, in order to
efficiently and effectively deliver services that create positive outcomes. I serve on the Board of
Directors of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coalition. We commissioned a study of
people who are trapped in a cycle of emergency department, inpatient admission, crisis
services and detox. These individuals are high utilizers of our community crisis center,
substance abuse center and emergency rooms for behavioral health issues. Over the years 2015
to 2018, 519 high-utilizer patients received almost $56 million of care from these service
providers. We found that these patients are seriously mentally ill and typically diagnosed with
substance abuse. The Coalition implemented a work plan to address barriers to access to care,
coordination and collaboration among social service providers and workforce shortages in the
behavioral health professions. There are over 30 Coalition partners. Their concerted efforts will
develop and improve systems to address these issues.

How can the city help to grow businesses and create jobs?

It is imperative for our economy to ensure good paying jobs and the workforce to fill them.
Initiatives that have demonstrated success and will continue to address growing businesses and
creating jobs include:

  • Supporting key regional industries to ensure innovation in the region
  • Supporting export programs to bring about global export trade
  • Supporting programs that ensure talent and workforce development at our regional
    colleges and universities
  • Improving the ease of doing business for small businesses
  • Supporting programs for and the efforts of regional entrepreneurs
  • Supporting programs that keep and attract large corporations
  • Collaborating with Sedgwick County elected officials to provide infrastructure for
    economic vitality of the region

These initiatives need to be supported while continuing to spend taxpayers’ money wisely.

Would you change how much the city spends on its different departments (police, fire, parks, transit, etc.)? If so, how?

It is critical to fund the services expected by residents while at the same time controlling the
bottom line. Strategies that support business growth and new job creation will allow the City’s
funding resources to grow and to increase funding in desired areas. We don’t want to outgrow
our infrastructure, but moderate and steady population growth would allow us to expand the
pie to fund areas that could use a boost in resources.

The majority of City funding comes from property taxes, sales taxes and charges for services,
such as water and sewer services. The City Council has not raised the mill levy in 27 years. This
action keeps property tax rates stable. Now in my fourth year of looking at the City’s budget, I
have a good understanding of how funding is allocated across departments. I hear from
residents that they would like to see increased funding in areas such as neighborhood
inspection, parks, libraries, transit and cultural arts; however, without sacrificing public safety
or something else of great importance to our residents, this is a difficult change to make.

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