The following are The Eagle editorial board’s recommendations for the Nov. 7 general election for Wichita City Council. Voters in districts with open seats select one candidate and do not vote for candidates in other districts.
We offer this recommendation as information to consider as you make up your own mind about the candidates and issues. Go to Kansas.com for more about each candidate.
Brandon Johnson, 31, is the clear choice for the district that covers northeast Wichita and some of the city’s midsection. In his first attempt at seeking public office, Johnson has experience improving his district while also holding clear views about the issues that face the entire city.
A co-founder of Community Operations Recovery Empowerment, Johnson has worked within his district on job creation and improved relationships between law enforcement and the community. He has been a community organizer since age 19, when he headed a summer jobs program. Cuts to that program, he said, made him aware of the importance of city government.
Though a political novice, Johnson is a veteran of advisory boards on the city and state levels. He would be a council member who brings a needed voice for the millennials that the city has identified as wanting to keep active and enthused about their home.
Mike Kinard, 55, owns a photography business and was a Wichita school board member from 2001-05. He said public safety is his top priority and wants to look for funding within the existing budget before agreeing to increase the mill levy to hire more police officers and staff.
City Council member Lavonta Williams cannot run for re-election because of term limits.
James Clendenin, 43, has been on the Council for six years and has earned a third term in the district made up of much of south and southeast Wichita. Clendenin has been an effective and reasonable council member, fighting for improvements in his district while recognizing needs in the downtown core.
His accomplishments include a Save-A-Lot grocery store on South Broadway that, with a $400,000 block-grant loan, is serving an area that had been without a grocery store since Dillons closed on the same site; improvements to Watson Park; and more street improvements in District 3 than any other district. District 3 needs more of those projects and should be a priority for Clendenin should he be elected to another term.
William Stofer, 57, is a graphic artist and writer who has been a community activist for decades. He has a deep knowledge of his district and thinks District 3 needs a fighter more than other areas. He wants the city to attempt revitalization projects for the Planeview, Hilltop and the Broadway corridor areas through a private-public partnership that includes transitional housing.
This district has a quality political newcomer in Cindy Claycomb, 60. Claycomb is an assistant to the president for strategic planning at Wichita State University, working part time as she nears retirement next year. She has a strong working knowledge of the city through her work as president of the city’s Park Board and chairwoman of the Downtown Wichita board of directors. Claycomb thinks a vibrant core is the key to a successful city. One of her priorities is to grow jobs by working with WSU, Wichita Area Technical College and other schools, improving the number of skilled workers for local companies.
Claycomb has the resume to be a strong Council member. She has been a respected leader on the Wichita State campus and has the potential to do the same on the Council through listening and collaboration.
Sybil Strum, 59, a frequent speaker at City Council meetings, is on the ballot but has not been actively campaigning.
Janet Miller, who has represented District 6 for eight years, cannot run again because of term limits.
Members of The Eagle’s editorial board are publisher Kelly Mirt, executive editor Steve Coffman and community engagement editor Kirk Seminoff.
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 7 was Tuesday. Advance ballots were mailed by the Sedgwick County Election Office beginning Wednesday. Other dates:
Monday: Advance voting in person begins at the election office in the Sedgwick County Courthouse, 510 N. Main.
Nov. 2: Advance voting begins at voting centers.
Nov. 4: Advance voting ends at voting centers.
Nov. 6: Advance voting ends at election office.
Nov. 7: Election Day, polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Advance ballots must be postmarked by 7 p.m.