Candidates announce they will run for county commission
Two candidates have announced they will run for positions on the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., Board of Commissioners this spring.
Jim Walters filed Wednesday for the District 7 position on the commission, which covers Bonner Springs and Edwardsville. Harold “Hal” T. Walker announced Wednesday he planned to file for the at-large District 2 position.
Walker retired in 2010 as the chief counsel for the Unified Government, a role in which he had served since the county’s consolidation in 1997. He served in comparable positions with the city of Kansas City, Kan., prior to the consolidation, serving as city attorney and assistant city attorney from 1983 to 1997.
Walker is a 1968 graduate of Turner High School and currently practices law as a solo practitioner.
Walker said he would work for tax relief, solid city services, such as fire and police protection, and a better environment for business and education.
The 2nd At-Large District includes the area south of State Avenue in the county. In the February 2013 primary election, only citizens residing south of State Avenue will cast ballots in the race. Voters countywide will cast ballots for this seat in the general election. John Mendez currently serves in the seat.
Walters is a locally-based architect who lives in Lake of the Forest. A lifelong resident of the county, he has spent much of his career with Populous, a sports arena and stadium architectural and design firm. A 1970 graduate of Bonner Springs High School, he is currently semi-retired as a senior principal for Populous.
Walters has worked on projects internationally as well as local projects like the Livestrong stadium, and he said he will use this experience to promote continued economic growth in the county. In a news release, he said he also would support tax relief, job creation, public education and delivering superb public services.
“The potential of District 7 remains largely untapped,” Walters said. “Fulfilling the promise of District 7 – and making sure that those residents benefit accordingly – should be important to those of us who live here. It certainly is to me.”
Walters also said that he was interested in exploring ways for District 7’s incorporated cities to better work with the UG, and vice versa.
“Few persons in Bonner or Edwardsville, it appears to me, have a clear understanding of the relationship between their city and the UG … and particularly how it affects their taxes,” he said.
District 7 is currently represented by Tom Cooley, who also has filed to run for re-election.
In other county-wide races, Nathan Barnes, who currently serves as a commissioner for District 1, has filed as a candidate for Unified Government Mayor and CEO. Donald Ash has filed to run for re-election for Wyandotte County Sheriff, and John "J.D." Rios has filed to run for re-election to the Kansas City Kansas Community College Board of Trustees.