- Retired Banker
- Business degree from Hastings College (NE)
- No previous political experience, but leadership of many Boards and Organizations in Wichita and throughout my professional career
- Currently Chair of Ascension Via Christi Health, Inc. and on the Board of WSU Tech
Personal Information: Married to Marty for nearly 43 years with three grown children and five grandchildren.
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media: Wells for Mayor
What specific Wichita issue deserves your immediate attention and how do you plan to address it?
I believe the most pressing issue for the city is to bring more integrity and transparency to the issues facing the city. As Mayor, we need to demonstrate to ALL taxpayers that there are not unilateral decisions about direction or projects.
I also believe that Wichita taxpayers deserve a Mayor that will bring an intentional strategic approach to all taxpayer funded efforts – including more funding for law enforcement, engaging to improve mental health in our community and building a welcoming, inclusive community.
I believe we have smart people within the City organization and within our community to work together to provide the accessibility and transparency that taxpayers deserve.
How do you propose to grow the Wichita economy?
First of all, the Mayor cannot grow the economy. The Mayor and City Council can lead efforts to create the environment in which business and the economy are encouraged to grow. Wichita has been working to leverage the investments in Wichita State’s Innovation Campus and WSU Tech to help create a stronger connection for business.
As a Board member of WSU Tech, I understand the critical relationship between workforce training and business needs. I believe our biggest opportunity is to keep younger people in our community, rather than exporting our talent. We can only attract new businesses if we build a welcoming environment that encourages young people to stay. That means we have to show that in our actions and our behaviors to include everyone in our work.
What is your vision for the east bank of the Arkansas River? What do you want to see happen with Century II?
A lack of strategic planning has put Wichita into a losing situation on Century II. First, both conventions and performing arts events are passing our city because of our facilities, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars. Century II has not been maintained adequately or planning for a competitive facility has not occurred. Fortunately the business community has stepped forward, much like they did with the INTRUST Bank Arena, to help engage the public and to be part of the solution for our future.
What is your vision for the baseball stadium & Delano?
There’s clearly no turning back on the baseball stadium at this point. As a community, we need to think about how we determine ways to leverage this asset to our fullest potential, to reap economic impact from outside the community, rather than simply reallocate dollars from residents who live here.
Unfortunately, the baseball stadium project does not have a well-thought-out parking plan – which makes this non-transparent project even less exciting for residents. With so much confusion about developers buying land in advance of the project being announced, the City applying for federal funds for a transit center, and changing locations for a garage, the development remains unsettled. A plan to provide parking and transit for this facility will require a significant public engagement process to find creative solutions to provide a positive fan experience and help us bring more dollars into Wichita.
Describe your vision for Wichita’s future and how you plan to achieve it.
To be a city of choice for young professionals, we need to create ways to encourage the development of businesses and entrepreneurs. Young professionals are looking for career growth opportunities and quality of life amenities. I’m so proud of the work of many individuals and groups in Wichita that serve to create more pride and enhance cultural life in the community.
However, we must be more aggressive in attracting businesses and jobs as we are lagging far behind similarly-sized cities which cause our young people to move to those areas. We also need to promote a culture of inclusiveness and appreciation for ALL Wichitans to contribute to our success.
Some citizens have expressed concern about a lack of transparency in city government decisions. How will you work to address those concerns from voters?
Transparency and integrity are key values that I bring as Mayor. I have heard from many people who strongly encouraged me to run for office that we need a change from the status quo and special projects. We need to bring the work of our tax dollars into the public view.
For me, transparency is not vision, but a daily practice that citizens should expect from their elected officials. I’m not looking to be a career politician, but to make the Mayor’s role to be about service, not politics.
I love Wichita and believe we are at a critical time where we need to come together to make some touch decisions for the future of our community. My hope for our great city is to become healthier, more inclusive and stronger, and to make our South Central Kansas region more competitive.