Wichita City Council member Jeff Longwell hopes to be the second elected official in as many elections to move from City Hall to the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
Longwell, a Republican, announced Tuesday that he will run against fellow Republican Karl Peterjohn for the District 3 seat on the county commission.
Peterjohn plans to seek re-election to the seat he won in 2008. District 3 covers the western part of Sedgwick County, including Goddard and Cheney.
If elected, Longwell would join former council member Jim Skelton on the county board. Skelton, a Republican, said Tuesday that he planned to support Longwell.
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Longwell said he was running for the seat because “there are some things we need to do that I can’t accomplish on the south side of Central,” alluding to the street that separates City Hall from the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
Specifically, Longwell said he wants to take more of a regional approach to economic development. He serves as the legislative committee chair for the Regional Economic Area Partnership.
“We don’t need people on the county side to vote against affordable airfares,” Longwell said. “We don’t need to be turning away state and federal dollars just to make a point that aligns with our ideology. Today we need every dollar that we can stretch and get.”
Longwell said he also would push for “functional consolidation” between the city and county.
“We’re going to need someone that can build those coalitions,” he said.
Longwell, 52, has served on the City Council for five years. He was on the Maize School Board for 12 years before that.
“That’s really what got me more interested in local politics,” he said.
Longwell owns Ad Astra Print Resources and is a partner in a company that manages electronic billboards.
If he becomes a commissioner, he said, he would “certainly keep some business interests in them, but the operational side of them I will have to turn over to someone else.”