On Friday (Oct. 25, 2019), The Wichita Eagle published a story that highlighted recent partisan support by the Republican candidate on the ballot for the office of mayor of Wichita, even though the ballot will not provide party affiliation for either candidate. Ironically, the other candidate was quoted in the article as condemning the move. Wichita’s mayor should be about a person, not a party.
When I had the privilege of running for mayor in the primary in August and had entered the race, it was in part because it was nonpartisan. I received support and endorsement from leaders in the community who, politically, were members of both major parties. However, the support was for ideas and dreams for the future, not because of party affiliation. While I talked about issues, including the crisis of untreated mental health and substance abuse, public safety and security, infrastructure challenges and many other issues that face our great city, I was framed as a “major” supporter of a former Republican governor by the opponent who just condemned the party affiliation concept.
I recently reentered the race for mayor because I had been encouraged by our community — people of all political persuasions — to offer the voters another choice beyond the two candidates that appear on the ballot. My objectives for the office remained as they were during the primary, and my ideas and leadership experience were what I intended to offer to the voters.
I continue to believe that party affiliation should not define a candidate, and they should be considered for their ideas and experience and not for ideology that may or may not be supported by a party. Wichita has many opportunities ahead, and our dreams can be achieved if we all work together, in an open and transparent way, to collectively decide how best to address our challenges and to create our exciting future. It has been made clear to me that Wichita citizens would like a change in how we do business, and I have been encouraged by the support I have been shown.
I hope all voters will make their decision based on their own hopes and dreams and not because others define how they should think. The important part of the election is that all eligible voters exercise their constitutional right to make their own choice and to do that at the polls on Election Day!