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Letter from Mayor ReardonMayor Reardon sent this note out today on social media about not running for re-election.
Letter from Mayor Reardon
Mayor Joe Reardon announced today via a Twitter note that he will not be running for re-election.
In a note to friends, he said he would like to spend more time with his family.
Reardon is serving his second term as mayor and CEO of Kansas City, Kan.-Wyandotte County. He was named Kansas Mayor of the Year last October by the Kansas Mayors Association. During his tenure, the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, a $400 million project, opened, and the Cerner office complex, a project that will bring thousands of jobs to western Wyandotte County, was announced.
One candidate had filed for mayor as of Tuesday morning. Nathan Barnes, currently a Unified Government commissioner from the 1st District, has filed for mayor, according to records at the election commission office.
The mayor's message was verified by Pam Curtis of the mayor's staff, who wrote that the mayor was notifying friends of his decision today via social media.
Former State Sen. Kelly Kultala, who is also a former Unified Government commissioner, said, "I think our mayor's done a great job and been a great public servant for Wyandotte County. As we both know it's going to be interesting in the next few weeks to see who files." She added she will not be a candidate.
State Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., a former Unified Government commissioner, stated, "I respect the fact that Mayor Reardon has decided not to run for a third term. I know that KCK/WYCO have profited from his leadership and that we will continue to reap the benefits for years to come. I was looking forward to his leadership for four more years but the life of a good mayor is demanding and he and his family deserve our thanks and appreciation for the eight years they have given us. I am cautiously optimistic to see who will file to be our next mayor. This is a critical time financially . We have made so many gains but the fiscal maneuvers of the state are pushing the cost for services back to local government."
"Mayor Reardon has been a great leader in the past eight years," said UG Administrator Dennis Hays. The UG had faced some tough economic times a few years ago, but since then it has made progress, with a strengthened budget, and the STAR bonds will be paid off in a few years, he said. The UG will move through the transition and this will continue to be a strong community, he said.
State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., the top vote-getter in a Wyandotte County contested race this past election, ran for mayor in 1997. "He’s (Reardon) good for the image of our city, and part of that is the reason we have attracted through him innovative, progressive industry out here, because of his demeanor and his intellect," Haley said.
He also said the UG needs to reduce taxes more, particularly eliminating the Board of Public Utilities' payment in lieu of taxes fee. Haley believes taxes have not gone down here, through use of that fee on utility bills. He also believes there should be more development in all parts of the county. Haley added he believes two terms should be the limit for executive-type public offices, such as mayor.
Haley said he had not been considering running for mayor again prior to the mayor's announcement. Haley may be considering the position, and has been urged to run, but he has not committed to it. "I'm grateful for the vigorous campaign we had last year," he said, "the 17,000 people who have honored me with the chance to serve in Topeka again. I am interested in seeing and hearing who will continue the positives of the Reardon legacy, and who will enhance his vision by including progress for all corners of the county, and would like to first visit with those candidates."
He said a new mayor should have an upbeat positive approach, coupled with genuine concern for making the county a more economically viable place to be.
UG Commissioner Mike Kane, who is not running for mayor, said, "I'm happy for him and his family. I wish him nothing but the best. He's been an extremely good leader."
"It just caught me by surprise," said former Sen. Chris Steineger about Reardon's announcement. Steineger said he is a potential candidate and is looking at running.
"I think we need to continue to try and grow ourselves, but we need to bring more of the growth toward central and eastern Wyandotte County," Steineger said. "We need to make sure more of our own people get into these new jobs that are created."
At this point, City Hall observers are speculating that Commissioner Mark Holland may run for mayor. There also has been speculation that Commissioner Ann Murguia might run for mayor.
Janice Witt has formed an election committee with a treasurer for an unspecified office, but as of Tuesday morning, had not filed for office. When asked today, she did not say she was running for mayor, although she has been considering it.
The spring city elections are on April 2, with the filing deadline at noon Jan. 22.