Update: official candidate filings in Wyandotte County
Many area politicians have announced their intentions to run in this spring’s city and county government elections, and a few have now officially filed.
Jack Knight, currently a Ward 1 Bonner Springs City Councilman, filed Thursday to run for mayor in the April election.
Knight, 61, is retired from Lucent Technology and still has two years remaining in his city council term. But he said he was motivated to run for mayor given his experiences in his first two years on the council.
“I’m a people person, I’m approachable, and I have not seen that with the city,” Knight said. “I want to listen to people; I want to know what their wants and dislikes are.”
Knight said his goal as mayor would be to revitalize downtown area and other older areas, including repairing infrastructure. He said he also wants to bring people into the city by bringing back a Farmer’s Market.
Edwardsville Mayor John “Tiny” McTaggart filed to run for re-election Monday.
“There are some things that I would like to see accomplished finally,” he said. “When mayor the first time, I was pushing for development up north, and I think we’re getting really close to that. I would like to see that happen and I’d like to be here when it happens.”
On Tuesday, Bonner Springs City Council members Tom Stephens, Ward 2, and Rodger Shannon, Ward 3, filed to run for re-election.
Stephens said he has enjoyed himself the last six years on the council and feels he has contributed a lot.
“I think though times change, there’s always going to be new challenges, and I think as we move forward the next four years, as the economy begins to turn around, we’re going to be faced with new challenges.”
He said he would like to help the city navigate through potential growth, how and where to grow, as well as maintaining the older portions of the city.
Shannon agreed growth was an issue to work on, as well as improving things in the city for families, holding the line on taxes, upgrading infrastructure and working hard to bring more business. He said he wanted to make himself available to citizens with concerns.
“If we don’t all work together, if we don’t all look out for each other, our city won’t continue to grow,” he said.
Two members of USD 204 Board of Education also have filed to run for re-election.
Ray Cox, 79, said he filed to run for another term the school board because he enjoys being involved in the community.
Cox was a teacher and coach and then an administrator in the district for years before working in the investment business and serving as a state legislator. He first served on the board from 1979-83 before beginning his current term in 2009.
“I just have such a vested interest in this district,” he said. “I still have grandkids in the district, and all of my children went through the district. I still have an intense interest in keeping up with education in our area.”
Cox said he wanted to remain involved on the board as long as he is in good health and given his past political and education experience, he thinks he still has something to add as a board member.
Board member Jeff Tinberg, 41, also has filed to run for re-election.
Tinberg, co-owner and operater of Advanced Air-duct Cleaning, said he wanted to continue to work on the budget issues the board is facing and help with the transition to a new superintendent, for which the board is in the hiring process.
"Basically, the last four years have been really challenging, and there's a lot of good things the board has done to deal with the budget crisis, but we’re not out of the woods yet — there’s so much more coming," he said. " ... I want to make sure district continues to make right financial decisions to allow for the best possible education for our children."
In other countywide races, official candidate filings include:
• Nathan Barnes, currently a District 1 Commissioner, for mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.
• Harold “Hal” Walker for the District 2 at-large county commission seat.
• Incumbent Tom Cooley and newcomer Jim Walters for the District 7 county commission seat, which covers Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.
• Incumbent Don Ash for county sheriff.
• Incumbent John “J.D.” Rios for Kansas City Kansas Community College Board of Trustees.