Winning City Council Candidates Advance

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

For those moving forward and now competing to sit on the Wichita City Council, the overwhelming issue at hand is jobs and the economy.

That's the case for District 3 primary winners Mark S. Gietzen and James Clendenin. Gietzen says he'll cut spending while Clendenin also says he will make sure to stretch the dollar. "You know there's a lot of people that when we go door-to-door and we talk to them they are very concerned or confused about why the council voted a certain way," Clendenin said. "So, I think it's going to be my job to make sure that I'm communicating and advocating for them at City Hall.

Gietzen said, "We need to get our financial house in order. I think that really all of the states to a certain extent are in kind of the same shape as Wisconsin. We've gotten government heavy. We're burdening the taxpayers too much. The taxpayers are getting tired of supporting a government that's bigger than it needs to be."

In District 4, primary winner Joshua Blick agrees there may need to be some change, and he promises to be mindful of the economy with his votes. That's something echoed by fellow candidate Michael O'Donnell. "I think that people are just looking for a more limited local government," O'Donnell said. "Not taking over the trash service, not handing out CIDs, TIFs, IRBs. Just looking for the basics, and that's a strong police department, fire department, infrastructure."

Blick said, "It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback and say you know what the city council has done this wrong or this wrong. It's best to take the information at hand at that time, and then go from there. I think there has been some great things done in the past, and some things we could have worked on. But you know what? We have a bright future."

The winners in the closest primary of the night, District 2, also agree that there can be a bright future for Wichita. But while Charlie Stevens says the city council needs to stay away from funding development, his opponent, Pete Meitzner, doesn't necessarily agree.

"I'm basically a conservative as well. But the rules of the game around the country are that other entities, like other cities and states, are trying to recruit our best and brightest. And if we're not in the game, we need to play in the game. We've got to at least compete," Meitzner said.

But Stevens said, "They're getting involved in development. They're really concerned about certain areas of the city, while neglecting other areas. I'm going to try and get them out of that."

Going into the general election many of the candidates tonight tell us they'll be focusing on getting out the message, and that they will be listening to the voters especially when it comes to jobs and the economy.

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