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.
I am a three time neighborhood entrepreneur, founder of Paxton’s Blessing Box (2016) and mom to Paxton. He’s 11 and recently graduated 5th grade at Riverside Elementary, my alma mater as well. I graduated from North High and went on to KU. Other than my years at KU, I have lived in Riverside all of my life. I’ve participated in the following community organizations: Love your Community
American Cancer Society
Organizing community Sock Drives for the past 10 years
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Taught swim lessons
Dist 4 Citizens Advisory Board for Lacey Cruse
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What specific Wichita issues deserve your immediate attention and how do you plan to address them?
I believe our residents deserve excellent customer service and an active, involved advocate for their needs to help them navigate City Hall. Cutting through all the bureaucracy that exists in local government is difficult, and my entrepreneurial background gives me the experience I’ll need to represent the diverse neighborhoods and businesses that exist in District 6. We need to make sure Wichitans of all backgrounds can thrive and grow in our community, and they aren’t ignored in favor of the interests of connected insiders.
What are your thoughts on the non-discrimination ordinance (NDO)?
I applaud the efforts of Mayor Whipple and the members of the community who fought for this ordinance. This is a common sense policy that will help us compete economically with the other cities in our region. The fact that the process dragged on for months made it more contentious than it needed to be and sent the wrong message about Wichita and our values. There was no reason to spend $18,000 of taxpayer money to tell us that creating a strong ordinance with local protections is the right thing to do. I’m glad that we finally have this ordinance on the books, but District 6 deserves council member who collaborates with their colleagues instead of creating unnecessary road blocks.
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?
It is important for our District to attract large quality of life projects to that area that the whole city and regional tourists can enjoy. However, it is equally important to gain real community feedback and buy-in for these projects so they have the broad support needed to succeed. That’s why I support a public vote on any plans for the riverfront involving Century II and the old library.
What should Wichita do about food deserts?
We must connect with and encourage locally owned grocery stores to open and thrive in our community. Creating incentives for big box stores that send their money outside of our community is not a long term solution. Investing and supporting local investment and sourcing of food will help our community be more sustainable and successful at combating the food desert crisis.
What should be done about violence in the city?
Our City is facing both a mental health and domestic violence crisis that only got worse during COVID-19. It’s time for our leaders to quit talking about investing in the services we need and get the job done.
How should Wichita address mental health issues and addiction in our community?
The lack of access to proper physical and mental healthcare that too many face in our city keeps me up at night. I will make it my priority to fully fund our ICT-1 and our HOT Team so they have the resources they need to be available 24/7. Crises don’t always happen during banking hours and if they aren’t available, they can’t create the relationship needed to get folks into services. The HOT team should be used to identify holes in the continuum of care and bring those needs to the council. Making a secret decision to paint lines and move camps, doesn’t solve the problem. We need more readily available resources and places to stay without a wait list or conditions to see real results.
How can the city help to grow businesses and create jobs?
My experience as a successful small business owner makes me immediately ready to understand the challenges our local entrepreneurs face. It’s hard enough to take a risk and succeed, and we must elect leaders who understand the struggles facing our business community while they offer world-class products and services. The more local neighborhood businesses that succeed, the easier it is to sustain and grow unique and diverse opportunities within our City.
Would you change how much the city spends on its different departments (police, fire, parks, transit, etc.)? If so, how?
I would first invest in our staff to get City Hall back to full strength after COVID-19. Due to job cuts made at the beginning of the pandemic, our city staff is overworked and understaffed, resulting in difficulties delivering services to residents. As a business owner, I know that when you invest in your staff, you provide better service. We also must look ahead and invest in sustainability efforts and public transit in our city. If we want to compete with similar cities in our region, we must provide the same amenities that they offer.