WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN News sent a questionnaire to each candidate facing a challenger in the November general election. We have not made any edits to the candidate’s answers.


Biographical Information:

(Courtesy Kelli Grant)

Kelli Grant has been involved in local government work for the past twenty-two years. She has worked both directly with clients and in administrative roles in multiple county department offices.

Kelli currently serves on several boards including the Sedgwick County Corrections Advisory Board and the Wichita State University Internal Review Board as the prison research expert. She recently stepped down from the Diversity Inclusion and Civil Rights Board for the City of Wichita in order to run for public office.

Kelli received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Wichita State University where she previously taught courses, and she has taught courses at both Newman University and Kansas State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Criminology and Social Inequalities.

Kelli has been involved with education programs regarding race and implicit bias with her local church and has been a frequent guest speaker for events and classes on the topics of social inequality, policing, corrections, gender issues in criminal justice, and family violence.

Kelli has worked to facilitate policy change through community activism and is focused on system and community improvement. She has also been involved in work related to juvenile justice in rural communities and served as a contributor to a technical report related to improvements in these types of communities.

Kelli Grant is committed to community improvement, especially for underrepresented and oppressed populations, and has a track record of performing transformational work throughout her career.

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

VoteKelliGrant.com

What do you think should be done to help residents dealing with high costs?

We can keep property taxes low by looking for alternative revenue streams with a dedicated grants department. We can also explore and utilize programs from the state to keep property taxes in the local economy, which would help with high costs and the economy.

What can be done to improve the local economy?

We can keep property taxes low and utilize state programs to keep property taxes in the local economy, and should explore these options. Economic development is an important economic driver and with investment in human infrastructure, we can ensure that our community is one where people want to live and work.

What are your thoughts on Wichita’s decriminalizing marijuana and its effect on the County? 

Sedgwick County should follow suit and join City of Wichita. Marijuana charges are a drain on the criminal justice system, and decriminalization does not remove discretion of an officer to use state statutes to charge someone, if necessary. Every state around Kansas has partially or fully legalized marijuana and our lack of action keeps people from choosing Kansas as a destination to settle and stay.

What do you want to see done regarding:

  • Mental health issues in the community?

We must work community-wide to address shortages, and Sedgwick County can lead the way in this area and partner with non-profits to coordinate services and projects. While these partnerships are important, Sedgwick County must address its own investment in a robust workforce in order to be a leader in this arena. We can work to expand types of work in this arena to meet needs, such as adequately paid case managers and part-time work. Incentives for employees to join the public sector and strategic recruitment could all help bolster the workforce in the mental health field. Sedgwick County can be and should be the leader in our community in these areas. Additionally, a diverse workforce is attractive to employees and needs to be a focus of recruitment. Diversity allows for better community response.

  • Fentanyl? Drug addiction?

The County should lobby to decriminalize fentanyl strips. The City of Wichita already took this step. Strips can aid in saving lives from overdoses. When talking about saving lives, we need to follow up with actions like taking efforts to decriminalize fentanyl strips.

  • Homelessness?

The federal government has been working on plans with funds to address this issue and encouraged local governments to use State and Local Recovery Funds to address far-reaching public health and negative economic impacts from the pandemic. Unfortunately, these funds were not prioritized for any housing issues. Instead, the funds were used for the County and its operations. Funds like these need to be examined carefully for missed opportunities such as helping our elderly, young professionals, homeless, and the economically disadvantaged. I would suggest looking for opportunities to use mixed zoning as an option to attract development attractive and affordable for these demographics.

What are your thoughts on:

  • Sedgwick County law enforcement?

Sedgwick County law enforcement have a hard job and are doing positive things in our communities. We need to have high accountability, though. Officers deserve to have everything needed to do their jobs, and we must promote healthier work environments. I would like to see health and wellness initiatives for officers, their job is very high stress.

  • The jail?

The jail is down hundreds of positions and desperately needs staffing to ensure safety of officers and inmates. We can work to improve the staffing levels by investing in talent and ensuring diversity and culture are top priorities in hiring and retaining talent.

  • Juvenile detention?

The jail is down hundreds of positions and desperately needs staffing to ensure safety of officers and inmates. We can work to improve the staffing levels by investing in talent and ensuring diversity and culture are top priorities in hiring and retaining talent.

What are your thoughts on election integrity in Sedgwick County? Across the United States? Would you change the election process, and how?

Elections are run locally by competent people. Elections across the United States are fair. I would like to see Election Day as a holiday to ensure worker access to the polls as a potential change.

What do you consider to be the biggest issues facing Sedgwick County, and how would you address them?

The county has significant concerns related to organizational health with hundreds of empty positions. We can create a dedicated grants department to fund projects and help with budgetary shortfalls. We also need to look at the culture of the county and ensure that our employees have what they need to do their jobs and are not facing toxic environments at their jobs.

Domestic violence is a significant community health and safety issue in SG CO. We can begin to look at funding domestic violence efforts. We can also start looking for opportunities to implement a domestic violence court. With the highest rates in the state, per capita, we must start having this conversation and taking action.

Protecting the August 2 vote is an important priority in terms of protecting access to services for women who have had their babies and need assistance. We can step forward and actively protect access to family planning, health babies, and WIC. We must actively protect this vote at all levels of government.