The Covid-19 Pandemic

As 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 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. If we work collaboratively with public health officials, our families, and our local businesses, we can make the right decisions to get our economy back to full strength while still protecting the most vulnerable among us. 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.

 

Affordable Homes

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. There are a number of important projects that will be starting in Overland Park in the near future, including the expansion of Highway 69, the redevelopment of the former Sprint campus, and the construction of a new visitor's center at the Arboretum. We must make sure that these projects and all others are managed wisely so that the benefits they can bring to the people of our city are the highest priority, and we must be committed to robust public engagement so all neighbors and stakeholders have ample opportunity to have their voices heard.

 

Transparency and Accountability

We need a local government that is committed to transparency and honesty with the public so that people can understand and evaluate the decisions that our leaders are making. This is particularly true when it comes to one of the city’s most important responsibilities, public safety. To adequately support the men and women who serve and protect us every day, we must build and maintain trust among all of our residents. Secrecy breeds distrust; accountability ensures integrity. Our brave first responders deserve the best training we can provide, and that training must stand up to the scrutiny of the people. We should strive to confront potential issues before they become problems, and if they do become problems, we should address them promptly and directly. Let’s work together to update our training and policies, learn from the best practices around the country, improve upon our mental-health crisis response, and review our law-enforcement oversight policies to keep our community safe and peaceful.

 

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 proactively 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. When I’m mayor, 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 best interests and provide a voice for those who aren’t heard.

 

Collaboration with our 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 like the KC Regional Climate Action Plan. 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 Overland Park.