- Occupation: Kansas State Senator; District 25
- Education: Friends University
- Degrees: Bachelors
- Previous Political Positions: City Councilman; Wichita District 4
What specific Sedgwick County issue do you think deserves your immediate attention and how do you plan to address it?
Seniors in our county are being taxed out of their homes and young families are not able to purchase homes – in party because of high property taxes. I promise to oppose any increase on property taxes while commissioner. The current commissioner has voted to raise property taxes, and just last year was the deciding vote to stop a property tax decrease, all the while property taxes continue to burden homeowners in Sedgwick County. As your commissioner, I will support and fight for a property tax freeze for senior citizens in our county.
Aside from my commitment to reducing property taxes on our citizens, we must continue to enhance and support a high quality of life, and that is why my commitment to the Zoo is unwavering.
I believe that we MUST keep our commitment to the Sedgwick County Zoo and work with similar partners that make Sedgwick County a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. The Zoo Board continues to build an incredible organization that is a one of a kind.
Sedgwick County needs to be seen as the premier place to live, work, raise a family, and retire in the Midwest. We are losing families to neighboring states and Johnson County at increasing rates. The best way to change our image is to create an environment in which businesses can thrive, families can enjoy, and students can grow.
How do you intend to work with the Wichita City Council on the issues important to both Wichita and Sedgwick County?
We see broken governments in Washington D.C., Topeka, and even here in our backyard. The County would be in a far more competitive place if we built and worked on relationships with the City of Wichita and surrounding communities. All of these problems can be simplified to the inability to cooperate and work together and that is exhibited by both levels of government.
I will fight everyday on the County Commission for the citizens of Southwest Sedgwick County while working to improve relationships between City and County governments. The county must work toward the reduction of duplicated services in order to focus our spending on core services. I don’t believe the county should be cutting but instead finding efficiencies. The consolidation of Central Inspection between the City and County has proven to be extremely beneficial and it should be replicated in other departments where we see redundancies.
These two entities could be the greatest partners but constantly seem to be competing parties. Having previously served on the Wichita City Council I hope to enhance the relationships with Mayor Longwell and many or my former colleagues. Consolidation of services is the best way in which we can grow alongside each other.
How do you propose to grow the Sedgwick County economy?
From our neighborhood churches and schools to our incredible companies that literally change the world, there is no better place to live and raise a family. However, we can and must do better. We need leadership willing to listen and work with our partners in the community to bring more jobs to our region. We need leaders dedicated to keeping our taxes low and our quality of life high.
After public safety, I have no greater goal than creating a positive business climate so businesses can thrive in our county and so that our economy may grow.
Our region has suffered tremendous job losses over the last 7 years and we must find a solution. Government cannot create jobs, however, government can work with businesses to make sure they have the tools and resources necessary to move here and expand. These past 7 years we have seen property taxes rise and bureaucracy grow larger each day. City Councilman Pete Meitzner says it best when he says that we need more red carpet and less red tape. The County must make it easier for businesses to come, stay, and grow in this region.
The Commission needs a fresh perspective, and 20 years of the same policies from my opponent will not make Sedgwick County more competitive. On the Wichita City Council and Kansas Senate I fought for our citizens and challenged the status quo and I will do so on the Commission.
WEBSITE | Michael O’Donnell