Overland Park is one of the best places to live in the country, and we need to make sure that there are opportunities in our city for accessible, affordable homes for people of all ages and backgrounds, including our teachers and service-industry workers, our young people just starting their adult lives, and our senior neighbors looking to retire in comfort. We need to work collaboratively with developers and experts on the city staff to ensure that we are meeting the demand for all kinds of housing, not just high-cost single family homes and high-rise luxury apartments. By examining our building codes and refocusing our development efforts, we can make sure that everyone who works in Overland Park can find the right place to live in Overland Park.
Development and Infrastructure
As Overland Park continues to grow, we must make smart development decisions and investments in our infrastructure to foster healthy and innovative local businesses. We must also protect the much-loved character of our city. We can do both with responsible planning, collaborative public engagement, and wise investments in the economic and social amenities that will make our community even more prosperous and welcoming. Above all, we must ensure that all development projects are focused first and foremost on benefiting the residents of our city.
Transparency and Accountability
We need leaders who are committed to transparency and accountability in our local government. The residents of our city have a right to understand and evaluate the actions and decisions of their government. This is particularly when it comes to matters of public safety, such as the officer-involved shooting of 17-year-old John Albers in 2018. Rather than withhold documents and conceal information, our local officials should address problems head on and be fully committed to prompt transparency. Only by facing these issues directly can we restore public trust in our city government and provide the necessary support to the men and women who dedicate themselves to protecting our community. Let’s work together to improve our officer-involved shooting investigations, update our mental-health crisis response, learn from best public safety practices around the country, and review our law-enforcement oversight policies to keep our community safe and peaceful.
We must recognize that the effects of the changing climate will impact our community in the decades to come, and we must make sure that we are prepared to handle them. This means that we need to prepare our waterways and drainage systems for the potential of more frequent flooding and make sure our roads and equipment can handle stretches of heat and drought. We also need to make sustainability a central part of our analysis for all current and future projects, and we should work with other cities in the region to do our part by finding new transportation solutions and implementing the recommendations of the Climate Actions KC Regional Climate Action Plan.
Serving our Senior Population
As a community, we must recognize all the contributions that our senior residents make to our city, as well as the impact they have on our future generations. The senior population in Johnson County is expected to skyrocket by 2030, and we must be prepared to accommodate that growth by working to identify affordable housing solutions for those on a fixed income, ensure our buildings and facilities are accessible, and create on-demand transportation infrastructure for all who need it. I will work with local and regional partners to qualify Overland Park as a Mid-America Regional Council City for All Ages, a designation that several of our sister cities have already earned. Our seniors deserve a local government that will advocate for their interests and make their voices heard.
Collaboration with Sister Cities
As both the second biggest city in the state of Kansas and in the KC Metro, Overland Park plays a vital role in driving our region forward economically, socially, and culturally. We need a mayor who will use the influence that Overland Park has built to work collaboratively with our sister cities in Johnson County on issues that extend beyond city lines, such as improving our transportation infrastructure and pursuing sustainable environmental policies in the region. We must also use our city’s voice to promote sound governance from our state legislature in Topeka to protect funding for our incredible schools and ensure Kansas is a welcoming place for all.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and the best local government is one that listens to the voices of our neighbors of all backgrounds and viewpoints. We need to continue taking steps to promote equality and inclusivity, not just in Overland Park, but in Kansas as a whole. To maintain a vibrant and prosperous community, we must be welcoming to everyone. Our growing city is becoming increasingly diverse, and we must be proactive about finding new ways to build connections between all the different parts of our city to create an even stronger sense of togetherness, because We Are All Overland Park.
The Covid-19 Pandemic
As more and more of our residents receive their Covid-19 vaccinations and Overland Park starts to return to normal this summer, we need smart, pragmatic leadership to navigate the rest of our post-pandemic recovery. We can learn from the difficulties of the last year and make our city even stronger than before by taking steps to balance the physical, mental, and economic health of the community. We should all listen to the science and follow the latest guidelines from the CDC to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. I urge everyone who can to get their vaccines, as I and my family have, so that we can beat this virus. We’re nearing the finish line, and I’m looking forward to a bright post-pandemic future.
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