Brock Booker - Candidate for Wichita Mayor
Wichitans can choose from nine candidates for mayor in the Aug. 6 primary. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election. Eight of the candidates responded to questions posed by The Eagle. Mark Gietzen did not participate.
Occupation: HVAC Mechanic/Sheet Metal Worker
Education: Occupational and some college
Political experience: I have no formal political experience. I have organized minor events, attended Union functions, but personally believe politics don’t fit in with democracy. Political experience is a measure of aptitude to maintain our friction and disillusionment. Without political experience I can focus on what citizens of Wichita want to improve their day to day life.
Community involvement: I’m not nearly as involved as I was before leaving for K-State. I recently relocated back and have enjoyed catching up with people and places I haven’t seen in a while. I re-introduced my family to the city I grew up in, while carrying my experiences from Colorado Springs, KCMO, and even Emporia Ks.
Phone: None listed
Website: None listed
Social media: Facebook.com/ElectJoshuaAtkinson
Occupation: Retail- Sales, Buying
Education: Friends University, Labette Community College
Political experience: None listed
Community involvement: Labette County Youth Leadership Graduate 2006
Parsons Ks -Arts & Humanities Council 2006-2009
Fairmount UCC GoZones Site Council Member
Friends University FSO
Friends University Singing Quakers
American Library Association Member
Website: None listed
Occupation: Public school teacher
Education: BME, Wichita State University (vocal/instrumental music education)
Political experience: None listed
Community involvement: Starkey, Inc., National Kidney Foundation, GLSEN
Website: None listed
Social media: facebook.com/demoryforwichita
Occupation: Mayor of Wichita
Education: Two years of college attending Wichita State
Political experience: 12 years on Maize School Board, 8 years as City Council member of district 5 and 4 years as Wichita mayor
Community involvement: Member of several civic groups including Rotary Club, former Trans-Net board member, former WSU west-side campus advisory member, former board member for WIBA.
Website: None listed
Social media: Jeff Longwell for Reelection on Facebook and Twitter
Occupation: Product Manager/Software Technologist
Education: Bachelors of Science, Organizational Management & Leadership
Political experience: ACLU Voting Rights & Criminal Justice Reform
Community involvement: Volunteer - KS Director of ObjectiveZero.org, working to end veteran suicide; Habitat for Humanity; Inter-Faith Ministries; YWCA Women’s Crisis Center; Core Gardening; Sunflower Community Action; YMCA Camp and Child Care Board
Social media: @amylyonforwichita
Occupation: I am disabled with rheumatoid arthritis
Education: Eighth grade Hadley Junior High
Political experience: None
Community involvement: Running for public office
How long lived in district: 55 years,,all in district 6
Website: None listed
Social media: Marty Mork for Mayor, on Facebook
Occupation: Retired from a 40 year career in the banking and financial services industry.
Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Hastings College
Political experience: None
Community involvement: WSU Tech, Ascension Via Christi Wichita, Ascension Via Christi Health System, Greater Wichita Economic Development Cmte, Prairie View, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, United Way of the Plains, Greater Wichita Partnership, Business & Education Alliance. St. Stephens Episcopal Church
Occupation: Lecturer at Wichita State University
Education: I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology, and an MA in Liberal Studies focusing on Cross-Cultural Studies and Public Administration from Wichita State University. I earned a Doctor of Arts in Leadership Studies with a concentration in policy and law from Franklin Pierce University. While earning the DA, I picked up a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University.
Political experience: 2012: Elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. 2014: Re-Elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. 2014: Elected to serve as Vice-Chair of the South Central Delegation. 2016: Re-Elected to the Kansas House of Representatives 2016: Elected to serve as Chair of the South Central Delegation. 2018: Re-Elected to the Kansas House of Representatives.
Community involvement: I am an alumnus of AmeriCorps and previously served on the Board of the Southwest Neighborhood Association and Agape Care Cradle. I am a volunteer martial arts instructor for a youth program and a volunteer instructor for free women’s self-defense seminars.
What is the most pressing issue for the city and what do you think city leaders should do about it?
Atkinson: One of the largest most pressing matters is likely the state of our water department as things stand. There are repairs budgeted and a plan laid in motion but a loss of city water could be devastating. We need to have a definite contingency plan for breaks, loss and damage and have primary solutions in place now.
Booker: Since 2015 I have heavily advocated on fixing our Transportation system. I’m Pro Busing on Sundays and offering later routes so if someone who works has to stay at work later one evening they don’t have to worry about missing the Bus.
Demory: I believe the most pressing issue is a lack of transparency and communication between the local government and the citizens. Too many times, it seems like we, the people, are left in the dark on decisions, and that we, the people, don’t have a voice.
Longwell: Public Safety and we must continue to address how we respond to 911 calls using the right mix of talent that includes now mental health personnel with our Integrated care team. With an increase of police officers, community service officers and crime analysts we can continue to see crime drop by double digits.
Lyon: Restoring faith in the leadership of the city - There are many burning issues such as clean water, infrastructure, contract review, city resources closures, aging mill levy, but without restoring trust and having open dialog with the community, we cannot expect the community at large to support city initiatives.
Mork: Cut taxes and stop big spending
Wells: The most pressing issue is to bring more integrity and transparency to the issues in city hall. Wichita taxpayers deserve a Mayor that will bring an intentional strategic approach to all taxpayer funded efforts – including more funding for law enforcement, engaging to improve mental health in our community and building a welcoming, inclusive community.
Whipple: Wichita’s biggest export is not wheat or airplanes, it’s educated young people. I want my boys to have the same opportunities to achieve their dreams in Wichita as I did. That starts with rebuilding trust in City Hall. To compete with our sister cities like Tulsa and OKC, we need a Mayor willing to talk to the people and put their ideas into action, instead of operating behind closed doors.
Why should voters consider you the most qualified candidate?
Atkinson: My overall vision is a city led by it’s people. I believe the way life is structured from infancy through adulthood is outdated. I believe government plays its hand in too much and is not as focused on letting people live a peaceful life they want. I want to empower the generations that will make these changes in the future while reaching and connecting with the people who guide them in life.
Booker: I possess the experience to overcome obstacles and I’m a broad consensus builder. My vision is for one Unified Wichita.
Demory: I feel I’m the most qualified because I feel like I can relate to the people of Wichita. I am not running based on party politics, nor am I running based on agendas. I am a citizen running for the citizens, one who has shared many of the same experiences, and one who truly wishes to be that representative of the people. In short, I am Wichita!
Longwell: I have over thirty-five years of business experience, twelve as a School Board Member, eight as a council member and four as Wichita’s Mayor. In 2017 I was fortunate to be selected as the elected person of the year for Kansas by the Kansas Society of American Public Administration.
Lyon: I have the most extensive business acumen and experience of all candidates as well as my service to country and to the communities I wish to represent and both are key to successful city leadership. I have managed multi-million-dollar budgets and have thorough understanding of fiscal responsibility and oversight. I am the Kansas Director of Objective Zero and I am someone who takes action!
Mork: Because of my Republican conservative values and my fight for the Constitution of the United States
Wells: Over my 40 plus year career in financial services and working on non-profit boards, I’ve learned how to prioritize within a budget and how people can be motivated to accomplish great things. My vision is for a Wichita unified around our shared desire to see our community succeed. We can only achieve this vision by inviting new voices to the table with open minds to imagine what could be possible.
Whipple: While serving in the Legislature, I’ve seen how strong local leadership can work with business and state entities to improve their local quality of life. My leadership and depth of experience will allow me to start work on this critical task on day one by setting specific policy objectives and actively engaging in the process to achieve those objectives from start to finish.
How can the city attract new businesses and create new jobs?
Atkinson: There are a plethora of options to increase revenue, jobs and businesses that American cities have implementes. We should research options and offer them to the people. I find if a person is educated about something enough they will be able to effectively speak on their own behalf. Agreements with large businesses that leave citizens out of the picture only happen without a vote.
Booker: Cutting red tape. Relaxing so many codes and regulations. Filling in the communication gap and letting our Entrepreneurs know that they are able to come to the city and pitch their business plans right in front of city council and be heard etc.
Demory: Wichita is a hub for new ideas and has a community that sees this and loves to . In order for this to happen, we need to advertise to these businesses that Wichita is an area in which they can grow and thrive!
Longwell: We have proven we can accomplish this and the past four years have been very successful because of our collaborative approach with the Chamber, Greater Wichita Partnership along with building a Wichita that companies want to be in. From incubator programs to expanded aerospace Wichita now has more jobs than people.
Lyon: To attract new businesses we need a 3-5 year plan with solid arts and culture offerings. We need to collaborate with mid-to-large organizations to ensure we are attracting complementing businesses and look outside of city limits for talent to fill positions.
Mork: Cut taxes on businesses get it as close to zero as we can, with the farmers growing hemp here in Kansas we need to bring Industrial Hemp jobs to Wichita
Wells: As Chair of the Board of WSU Tech, I understand the relationship between workforce training and business needs. Our biggest opportunity is to keep younger people in our community, rather than exporting our talent. We can only attract new businesses if we build a welcoming environment for young people to stay – making sure we are a truly inclusive community.
Whipple: The City must collaborate with the county, state and Federal government to maximize our resources to invest in transportation, digital, and civic infrastructure. In terms of economic development, we need government efficiency and partnership-minded outlook. The government must stay out of the way of growth in areas where it is more successful in the private sector.
Wichita has experienced an increase in violent crime. What should happen to reverse that trend?
Atkinson: Violent crime is a blanketed term that could include a a step parent spanking a child towards a full on killing spree. I believe in each case there is an issue of decision making and a lifetime of experience and environment that leads to a choice. I believe adults who can pursue personal growth have a chance at positively affecting many aspects of their own lives.
Booker: More counseling, coaching, and mentoring in particular with our youth. We may need to put pressure on pond shop in weapon sales.
Demory: I would like to see an increase in neighborhood stations, as well as a decrease in the amount of time it takes to respond to incidents, especially in the “non-affluent” areas of the city. I feel that we need to have communication with city and community leaders to find out what resources are needed, and we need to do to make sure these resources are implemented.
Longwell: Actually since we have added sixty police officers, Crime analyst, Community Service Officers and now an Integrated Care Team, we have seen crime drop year to date in all major categories and by as much as 30% in some areas.
Lyon: An all out effort to address urban poverty and inequality to start. Ensure our police force has resources to connect to every community by finishing the 2017 Police Study suggestions instead of just adding additional officers. Violent crimes can directly be tied to areas where police are viewed as adversarial and in areas where resources are scarce. Ignore it and it will not go away.
Mork: Arrest those that are committing crimes, one thing that might help prevent some of these crimes is we need things for the Young youth to do, the city has a whole lot of recreational Halls we need to have things in there for kids to do like play pool ping-pong basketball and many other things
Wells: WPD Chief Gordon Ramsay recently said that one-fourth of all police calls are related to a behavioral health issue. ... The City must become an active partner with the County and State to push for more behavioral services. We must develop solutions to address this along with appropriately staffing our police force.
Whipple: I am the only candidate that has released a plan to fully fund our police department to get response time back down to three minutes, from the current seven minutes. However, the police department not only needs additional funding for police officers, we must invest in plainclothes social workers that are trained to de-escalate in situations of a mental health crisis and domestic abuse.
Is there a particular city service that you think needs more resources? If so, how would you pay for that?
Atkinson: Yes, education! One resource I’ve wondered if we could leverage is the 5G mini-towers coming to Wichita for 4G city-wide wifi. This would support an online education center, citywide social network, and allow voter decisions and voices to be heard. I also want to see what state and federal funds can offer to a new public school system, the biggest asset we miss out on are our wandering youth.
Booker: The Animal Shelters and Housing. I would propose shifting thing around in the budget. I would do a Capital fundraiser campaign for the animal shelter and I would look at the discretionary fund and reserves for the Housing part. A variety of funding options would be on the table if elected as Mayor.
Demory: Community education/outreach. I would like to see more resources going toward adult education, a return of neighborhood satellite libraries, mental health services, etc. Now, to pay for it, we would have to look at either the city fund surplus, outside grants, or restructure the city’s budget.
Longwell: We will continue to add to public safety as we evaluate our programs. Funding can come from growth.
Lyon: Bus system needs to be changed from hub to grid system. Public transportation can also hinder business growth or opportunity and if we have to pull from other areas of the budget, then it should be done. For instance, any discretionary or charitable funds left to city council, should be reallocated to fund public transportation. We need to make this a popular and accessible choice.
Mork: The city needs to fix Our traffic lights, fix our streets and bridges and we really need to do something about our city bus rides, maybe extended hours, we already have a tax dollars to do this what we have to do it stopped big spending on big projects, like the new ballpark for example
Wells: We must properly fund our Wichita Police Department. Wichita’s crime rate is double the national average according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigations. Our WPD is understaffed, by about a third, and we are seeing the consequences in increased crime. I will work to prioritize services and with County officials to respond to mental health calls that are draining WDP resources.
Whipple: Training for police officers. Police officers are tasked with a lot of power and with great power comes great responsibility. We must ensure that our officers are adequately prepared and trained to be great community officers prior to being put out on patrol.
What do you see as the proper relationship between city government and private developers and/or private industry?
Atkinson: City government should be able to demand the most of its private sector in terms of what they can offer the citizen. The workforce has to be available, citizens have to be trained, and healthy- mentally, physically, financially, and even emotionally. That is how private industry grows, from its workforce ability. Workforce is just another word for citizens, people. Business wins because of us.
Booker: We need to become more of a destination community/city and not just a stop-over place. Wichita was once a stop over community in the 1870’s. We must move forward into the 21st century with new ideas and innovation.
Demory: I believe they can work hand in hand, especially in areas such as South Wichita, in helping give a boost to the area and economy. However, it can’t be an issue of letting the developers do what they want. It’s something in which the city and developers need find a common ground in which to benefit and help the city thrive.
Longwell: We must work together to help recruit talent, eliminate bureaucracy and create an environment that allows companies to be successful.
Lyon: Private Developers are vendors and not our pals. They should earn the right to develop here and the contracts should be awarded on what we get from the deal possibly assisting our under-served neighborhoods.
Mork: It’s best if Government gets out of the way and let private developers and industries create jobs and cutting taxes will help tremendously
Wells: The lack of transparency on projects and embarrassing headlines demonstrate there is too much behind-the-scenes work on taxpayer funded projects. There must be more transparency, accountability and a fundamental demand for accuracy on business transactions. Projects need to be discussed in public, not through a “consent agenda” rubber stamp or with last minute changes.
Whipple: Tax incentives should only be used in limited, and highly-scrutinized, circumstances. Like with all incentives, City incentives must be tied to concrete economic goals and objectives that act as safeguards for the taxpayer. As Mayor, I will ensure that tax dollars and incentives benefit the whole and not just the best-connected.
What should the city do about Century II?
Atkinson: Century II is a hot topic, I have heard about it nonstop since coming back. I recall events there and took my family by a few times during a PoKeGo outing. I don’t believe it needs to be demoed quite yet, although as a personal citizen I’m not aware of current building code violations it may have. My personal beliefs however, do not outweigh the city’s voice. I have heard great ideas from many.
Booker: Keep it, thus revitalization is key. I’m very pro of a separate performing arts facility however.
Demory: Century II, to me, is a historical landmark and a tremendous facility for numerous conventions and performances. As such, it should continue to be so while the planning/creation of a proper performing arts center is explored.
Longwell: engage the community and allow our citizens to provide the direction for this iconic building.
Lyon: Have it redesigned by Charles McAfee and create an area around the redesigned Century II as the museum or art corridor. Do something amazing with the current building.
Mork: Keep it and give it a big fixing it up
Wells: A lack of strategic planning has put Wichita in a difficult situation on Century II. I am encouraged by the Riverfront Legacy Coalition Master Plan, to set an inclusive, strategic approach for conventions, performing arts and the entire use of our great river front. I will continue to be supportive of efforts that engage residents and are thoughtful and intentional – not simply legacy projects.
Whipple: We must invest in our civic infrastructure. We cannot limit the experiences available to our community due to facility restrictions. I want to work with community and business leaders to get this performance center done right. In my experience, solutions are usually less involved than we’d expect, but require innovative leadership to put the pieces together.
What can Wichita do to attract and retain more young professionals?
Atkinson: Wichita needs to make space for them. Just like phones and cars, there’s always a new update. Young professionals are that update. That is what the intent of education is/should be. Instead industry can be dismissive and when that happens we are effectively denying out upgrades that we paid for. Create new opportunities that match their new skillset, task them with bringing it to life.
Booker: More High Tech Jobs, Reduce Crime. Fixing our Transportation system City wide. More Attractions. Transparency.
Demory: We need to find ways to show them that Wichita is a great place to start/maintain a business, as well as show that it’s a great place to work in their chosen profession, as well as show the local young professionals that they don’t have to leave their hometown when the jobs they desire are right here!
Longwell: Continue building a Wichita that is more attractive. Provide internships and get young people involved in the numerous opportunities that exist in Wichita. Listen to our young professionals and include them in the process of building a better Wichita.
Lyon: Work with the businesses and schools within Wichita and surrounding cities to create regional economic growth plan. By enhancing arts & culture as well as increasing our live-work-play offerings, and work to increase our schools reputations so that young families would not shy away based on reputation of Kansas education issues. Remove the push/pull of county vs. city.
Mork: Give them a chance to start their own business and the best way to do that is very low taxes as close to zero as we can get and the government get out of the way
Wells: Young professionals are looking for career growth opportunities and quality of life amenities. I’m proud of the work of many in Wichita to create pride and enhance cultural life in our community. But we must better value the input of the next generations as we develop the city. We also need to promote a culture of inclusiveness and appreciation for all Wichitans to contribute to our success.
Whipple: Wichita gave me the opportunity to be the first in my family to graduate college and to own my own home. Investing in quality of life, strong schools, our arts and culture, and encouraging the development of small businesses and entrepreneurs will create the perception of Wichita we need to retain our young talent.
What are your thoughts on narrowing Douglas Avenue to enhance walkability?
Atkinson: My thoughts are that many streets have poor walkability and poor lighting. If the state of our water department is any indication, we should perhaps be more thorough when allocating infrastructure funding. We finally have a plan when it’s almost too late is a bad approach to have. We also need to see projects like Kellogg completed for families and businesses to finally settle in.
Booker: Great. This plan is already in the works.
Demory: I feel that, for many who use the area for work commutes, it could end up being an issue in the long run. I understand the idea behind walking around/to the stadium, but I have also seen and heard concerns from citizens who live near that area/use Douglas for commute.
Longwell: We need to engage citizens so that they can fully understand what is suggested. All scenarios should be discussed with options and ramifications.
Lyon: I need to see plans, seek business input, and look at plans before commenting. I would not want to make knee-jerk statement or speaking without knowing which exact areas are under consideration.
Mork: I want the city streets to be where we can get around in our cars, there’s plenty of room to walk on the sidewalks
Wells: After a period of time where many businesses left downtown, we are seeing a resurgence of culture and business activity. I believe the changes to Douglas Avenue will continue to help bolster downtown. We cannot always hold onto “the ways things were” if we are to be competitive and provide the environment to attract residents, visitors and businesses to Wichita.
Whipple: As Mayor, it will be critical for me to review all of our transportation master plans and ensure they are working together. Our public transportation system is expensive and is not easy to use. We have great bike trails and new scooters, but there has been a failure to ensure that our city is easy to navigate for those from all walks of life.
What are your thoughts about availability and cost of parking in downtown and around the new baseball stadium?
Atkinson: It doesn’t seem like there is enough parking nearby but I’m not aware of current plans for parking
Booker: More Parking is definitely needed eventually we are going to have to charge more at the parking meters downtown. Its a luxury tax not a right to park downtown.
Demory: My main concern on this issue is whether or not it will pan out, financially, in the end. Personally, I worry that a lot of money has/is being spent, and attendance may not warrant a possible increase in parking rates.
Longwell: We continue to work on parking solutions that will encourage the community to come down and enjoy all the amenities including the river corridor. We should not start charging people to park in Delano and will encourage more free parking in the area.
Lyon: The parking considerations seem to remain in flux and entirely too far away creating a long journey to ball stadium. It is not well thought out and appears to be quite the journey for those who are elderly, disabled, or those with large families.
Mork: The parking issue is terrible, I believe we should have left Lawrence Stadium there,or let the people vote on things that cost millions of dollars,, this is the big spending I’m talking about, I support cutting taxes and stop big spending, the city is going to force people out of their homes and take over their property from Sycamore Street to Seneca, from Douglas to Maple, this is all bad,
Wells: Having a large-event center in downtown requires intentional planning for both parking and transit. Unfortunately, the baseball stadium project does not have a well- thought-out parking plan – which makes this non-transparent project even more concerning for residents. A plan to provide parking for this facility will require a significant public engagement process to find acceptable solutions.
Whipple: Parking downtown should be accessible and affordable. Business owners shouldn’t have to worry about customers being ticketed for parking in front of their establishments. To add new parking around the baseball stadium will take smart planning, and input from the community. The goal is to add more parking spaces without detracting from other community assets. Good planning can strike that balance.
Do you support releasing the names of Wichita police officers who shoot civilians? When should an officer’s name be released, if ever, following a shooting?
Atkinson: I believe the same protocol that dictates if a civilian’s name is released in a similar situation should be used to determine the answer. No individual or institution serving the people should be treated with a secrecy privelage, unless by law, they are juvenile. It is my wish that firearms can be a lesser used tactic, however I want to make sure when they are used, it is justified.
Booker: After Due process by the courts, judges, and police chief/sheriffs dept. have concluded their investigations. But I believe in the law and the Bill of Rights and some things should not be made public.
Demory: This is a bit of a slippery slope that I honestly believe there is no answer that will appease anyone. I believe that our police are supposed to be trained to uphold the law, as well as how to diffuse situations. However, I also believe they should be fully held accountable for their actions, and the citizens have a right to know what happened and who was responsible, in these cases.
Longwell: I believe we should be releasing all the information regarding any prior incidents and history for officers involved in shootings. If there is a crime committed by an officer then the name should be released .
Lyon: After enough time where police have had their time for investigation (no more than a month) the officer’s name should be released. This eases tension and people are going to find out anyway. In order for the police to be trusted, they need to provide transparency as well and where they can without violating the law.
Mork: I strongly support the Wichita Police, but if an officer does something bad he’s not above the law he should face the consequences,, but too many times people do not cooperate with the police and that should be the first step to cooperate,, and when a police officer shoot somebody I believe they must see a gun first, just saying they reached is not good enough
Wells: I believe as a community we need to build a strong, trusting relationship with our law enforcement partners. The Wichita Police have been understaffed for too long, which puts these dedicated officers under additional stress and strain. I trust our Police Chief, the KBI and our District Attorney to investigate and make decisions about when to release names and under what circumstances.
Whipple: The Court has ruled that police officers are public officials with no right to privacy regarding their official duties. However, we must have transparency while ensuring the safety of our officers. If there is objective evidence of threats showing that the officer’s safety would be at risk, then the city should withhold the name.
How would you ensure transparency in city government?
Atkinson: I would like to become a transparent democracy through a citywide social network on our own WiFi network. I would like for citizens who may have formed groups and ideas to have an equal platform here in Wichita. I want democracy to be as easy as scrolling the newsfeed and doing polls during morning coffee. A place where the people can effectively move government and make the changes they want.
Booker: Using our library systems to make public information public to the voters/taxpayers.
Demory: By continuing the practice of live streams and sharing information with the public before, during, and after decisions are made, and by avoiding “gotcha” revelations to the citizens, transparency can be achieved. I feel that our city government should be open with the citizens, and open to their questions/concerns. We work for the people, not the other way around!
Longwell: Work to improve communications and how we disseminate information on what is happening with local government. It is always difficult when negotiating to bring new business to Wichita because of not alerting the competition to how we are encouraging businesses to come here.
Lyon: Change City Council meetings to a time more convenient for people wanting to attend. Also, remove the consent items. Post topics and updates online, early and in advance and allow for online discussion with forum rules and voting. Then at the time of meetings, there will actually be input and data to refer back to. Give people a voice!
Mork: Keep all records open to the public, when it comes to the Mayor and city council and what they are doing because the city belongs to the people
Wells: Transparency and integrity are key values that I bring as Mayor. I have heard from many people who strongly encouraged me to run for office that we need a change from the status quo and special projects. We need to bring the work of our tax dollars into the public view. For me, transparency is not a vision, but a daily practice that citizens should expect from their elected officials.
Whipple: While serving in the Kansas Legislature, I sponsored the Bi-Partisan Transparency Act to ensure that the people had access to the business taking place in Topeka. Many argued that this would prevent the legislature from making deals. However, the result was quite the opposite. When deals are made in the open, the taxpayers can hold both sides accountable for the promises that are made.
Do you support making the city’s vendor payments available and easily accessible to the public? What specific actions could you take as mayor to make sure taxpayers know where and how their money is being spent?
Atkinson: I do, and Wichita.Gov will look great in social media format. Vendor payments could even be posted live to citizen accounts if necessary. I want taxpayers directing their tax dollars, I want communitcation. I want questions like the ones asked of us “would-be mayors” submitted to the people and formed by them. Transparency is a term used because government has dissociated itself from society.
Booker: Yes. By using Access Wichita to the fullest and making materials readily available city wide by library and city hall centers.
Demory: his goes along with transparency – the citizens have a right to know what decisions their elected officials are making, especially when it comes to their tax dollars. I would propose having information readily available via print, social media, and on-line, as well as sharing information via forums, council meetings, and “State of the City” addresses.
Longwell: We track and share all vendor payments in our quarterly document that can be retrieved online. We should continue working with technical people to make the process easier for the public to find the information online.
Lyon: Post online a simplistic, easy to understand view of the budget highlights, noting contracts awarded and payments. Keep up-to-date and make it available at meetings as well in case a print out is needed.
Mork: Yes, and keep the Books open where every tax dollar goes
Wells: With my business experience, I know that these types of vendor transactions and other processes can be more transparent. While I am not familiar with the specific applications that the City uses for financial transactions, I believe we have smart people within the City organization and within our community to work together to provide the accessibility and transparency that taxpayers deserve.
Whipple: Yes, when the City spends money, those expenses should be easily available to the public. This can be accomplished most easily by utilizing technology. One of my goals as Mayor is not only to publish information, but ensure that we do a better job at advertising the information so average working families can access it easily and stay informed on City business.
What other issue do you feel strongly about?
Atkinson: I feel strongly about many issues but I feel if I can focus on a few of them they will have marked benefits for the people in Wichita. I can’t guarantee mill levy, I can’t tell anyone downtown renovations will save the city, I don’t have a family of politicians, and I don’t have the decades of experience dating back to high school. I have a different American experience and it’s been good enough.
Booker: Ending No bid contracting policy/ordinance. This would open up opportunity by in large.
LGBTQ rights and protection
Local health care
Longwell: Quality of life is critical to building a Wichita that will encourage generations of people to call Wichita their home. From expanding our pools to building better streets we are catching up. Wichita is now an All America City for the first time in ten years and you can see the pride we have in our city by observing how many people are displaying the Wichita flag everywhere.
Mork: Restoring our Freedoms,, the Kansas Supreme Court made a ruling that if an officer thinks he smells marijuana he can do a search in someone’s house without a search warrant I believe this to be communist,, I believe they need a search warrant to do a search and that’s what I will tell the Wichita Police Officers to do and the same goes for flying drones over somebody’s property
I am Pro Life I will fight against abortion
I strongly support the Second Amendment
I will stop tax dollars going to companies that hire illegal aliens, text dollars should only go to the American workers or the people that come here the right way
I am not a politician my political views are similar to President Trump and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
Wells: I believe taxpayers deserve to know their dollars are being properly allocated to the core services provided by the city. When special projects are pursued, they should be appropriately prioritized along with normal operating responsibilities to be sure we can afford the special projects. We must take a longer-term perspective and prioritize expenses be able to balance all needs across the city.