After finishing his term as mayor of Wichita on Tuesday, Mayor Carl Brewer just wants to go fishing.
At noon, he will take a five-hour car ride to Lake Texoma.
His goal? A 30-pound striper.
But the work will just be starting for Jeff Longwell, who will be sworn in as Wichita’s new mayor during the City Council meeting Tuesday.
Longwell, who has served on the council representing west Wichita’s District 5 for eight years, was elected on April 7. He collected nearly 60 percent of the vote, compared with retired advertising executive Sam Williams’ 35 percent, in unofficial results. Write-in candidates had 4 percent.
During the ceremony Tuesday, a video tribute will be shown for Brewer.
After some pomp and circumstance, he’ll hit the road.
It won’t be a long vacation, though. The following Monday, Brewer will start a new job in government relations at Spirit AeroSystems, he said.
As a new mayor, Longwell will have to define his vision for Wichita and “communicate that to the citizens so everyone understands how they fit into that overall vision,” Brewer said.
Brewer said he and Longwell have been meeting since the election to improve the transition. They’ve talked about developments, export opportunities, infrastructure needs and the names of different community leaders to meet with from businesses, nonprofits and grassroots organizations.
Under Brewer’s tenure, the city is well-positioned to take on future challenges, Longwell said, including the issues – finding a new water supply, creating jobs, repairing streets and improving the bus system – that were left in limbo after the defeat of a proposed sales tax by voters last fall.
Longwell’s first priority as mayor is to establish a permanent funding solution for the city’s struggling transit system, and having an experienced council will help with that, he said.
“I am looking forward to moving the city forward on a number of critical issues, and having an experienced council is certainly going to aid in that path,” Longwell said.
Discussion on the city’s bus system will start next week and will center on reports to the council over the current state of the system and its finances from transit director Steve Spade.
“That’s going to help us say, ‘Here’s one version, now where do you want to see transit go?’” Longwell said.
The community also will need to weigh in on how to pay for the system, Longwell said.
Tuesday’s ceremony will include comments from Brewer, Longwell, vice mayor Jeff Blubaugh and other council members.
Bryan Frye, who won Longwell’s old seat in District 5, will be the only new member of the council.
Brewer was mayor of Wichita during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
“Being on the council for 14 years is a big accomplishment and it’s time to recognize him. He’s done a lot for downtown and helped change the landscape. He’s done a lot for us in aviation and pushing exports,” said Blubaugh, the vice mayor. “He was a good, solid mayor keeping everything under budget and did a very good job considering the economic climate.”
Council members who were elected or re-elected will also be sworn in. That includes Frye, Blubaugh and Pete Meitzner.
A new vice mayor also will be selected and sworn in by council members Tuesday.
Judge Jennifer Jones, municipal court administrative judge, will oversee the proceedings.
The City Council meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 455 N. Main.