Wichita City Council member Pete Meitzner will run for the 4th Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Mike Pompeo.
Meitzner, 61, is the second Republican candidate to announce a run this week. Lawyer and businessman George Bruce announced Tuesday that he would seek the seat.
The Republican nominee will be chosen by a convention of 126 party activists from across the 4th District.
Meitzner, who has represented east Wichita on the City Council since 2011, says his background in business and experience on the council make him a qualified candidate for Congress.
After working in banking, he became involved in the telecom business and worked with Pizza Hut co-founder Dan Carney and other partners to start T-Netix, which sold communications, data services and investigative tools to correctional institutions. Meitzner was the firm’s national sales manager and later president.
In 1994, T-Netix went public and was traded on Nasdaq. It was a $300 million to $400 million company with 600 employees when it was sold to H.I.G. Capital in 2004.
Since then, he has led Meitzner & Associates, a small telecom consulting firm. He is a senior consultant for Capgemini, an international government consulting firm.
Helping the city balance its budget, helping Wichita get a new airport, and working with the Kansas Department of Transportation to speed up work on East Kellogg at reduced cost to taxpayers have been highlights of his time on the council, Meitzner said.
In his first year on the council, Meitzner said, he quickly realized that city government could improve with more business influence in its processes.
“I’m not saying it needed to run like a business or like we need to return money to shareholders. I’m saying just making decisions based on real data, questioning processes like, ‘Why are we doing it this way?’ when the answer is, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it.’
“If we wouldn’t have adjusted and changed in our business, we would have been lost.”
He thinks that approach would make him effective in Congress – and that it would fit with the president-elect’s approach.
“He wants to have a fresh look at everything,” Meitzner said.
Meitzner is on the board for the National Center of Aviation Training/Wichita Area Technical College and is chairman of the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. He is a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and a past chair of The Lord’s Diner.