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Shawnee Mayor

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  • Candidate picture

    Michelle Distler

  • Candidate picture

    Stephanie Meyer

Biographical Information

1. What do you believe are the three critical projects or initiatives that will move your city/district forward?

2. What skills, expertise, or competencies qualify you for this position?

3. What specific actions should your city take or continue to insure affordable housing is available?

4. Shawnee, Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park candidates: Should your city adopt a non-discrimination ordinance that provides legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals?

Personal Biography I am a lifelong Shawnee resident and plan to never leave so the decisions we make for our future are very important to me. I grew up in the Shawnee Village neighborhood and attended Nieman Elementary. My passion for Shawnee's history really ignited when my third grade class took a field trip to 'Old Shawnee Town'. My family had a business in downtown Shawnee for 29 years until my father retired. With three generations of family in Shawnee, I am as passionate about our seniors as I am our youth.
Campaign Address 6408 Earnshaw Street
Campaign Phone (913) 634-5883
Campaign Web Site
Education Master's degree in Human Resource Development and Organizational Development Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Leadership
Community/Public Service City Council 2006-2015 Mayor 2015-Present Awarded Presidential Silver Level Volunteer for volunteering at numerous events every year including with the citizens police academy, community emergency response team, VFW, flags for freedom, visit Shawnee, etc.
Address 6408 Earnshaw Street
Web Site
CampaignPhone 9136345883
We are currently working on our strategic plan, Imagine Shawnee, that includes our parks master plan, updating our comprehensive plan, and reviewing our priority based budgeting. I am very excited about this because our shared purpose is ‘Inspiring our community to create a shared vision for Shawnee’s future.’ It’s not about thinking alike, but thinking together and we can be a better community for everyone if all the residents and businesses are working together in our vision. My leadership has always been a collaborative one for a shared vision and so this is an incredible opportunity for us as a community.
I am a lifelong resident. I have served on the city council since 2006 and as mayor since 2015. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership and a Graduate Degree in Organizational Development. Since becoming mayor I have logged thousands of hours meeting with various individuals, groups, and businesses. This has provided me with real time input from people and businesses at all levels. I am a Founding Member and volunteer of Shawnee's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a Founding Member and volunteer of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association CPAAA, a lifetime member and volunteer of VFW Ladies Auxiliary Shawnee Post 10552, a Senior Member of the Civil Air Patrol of Kansas City Composite Squadron #034, and a Silver level volunteer of 250+ volunteer hours a year. I am also actively involved in Spec
Shawnee currently has many affordable housing options and we are adding more every day with new developments for 55+ living options. We were recently named 4th in the nation for affordable housing.
I firmly believe every individual deserves protection from discrimination. Because there are some legal opinions and current court challenges that ordinances other cities have established cannot be enforced, we were waiting to see how the current court case decisions were decided so we could then move forward with something that made sense and can be legally enforced. The last thing we want to do is have something that is a false sense of protection. It frustrates me that the entities that currently regulate discrimination have not already taken action on this. When there is a checkerboard pattern of ordinances, and some that are more a political statement than something that can be enforced, it creates a false sense of protection and I fear will delay the other entities in taking action. Everyone should have equal rights and protections and I do not feel the individual city ordinances establish that but we are currently working on providing the best protection we can within our author
Personal Biography Beginning as an intern at our statehouse, my background includes more than sixteen years of experience working within the governmental setting, and includes the Shawnee City Council (three terms as president, including current), Planning Commission, Economic Development Council, National League of Cities’ First Tier Suburbs Council Vice Chair, and more. My education, coupled with my professional and community service background make me uniquely qualified to lead our city into the future.
Campaign Phone (913) 626-5916
Campaign Web Site
Education Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas, Dual Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Kansas State University.
Community/Public Service “Big Sister” with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater KCMO; Past President, Shawnee Rotary Club (Currently Assistant District Governor); Chair, Johnson County Theatre in the Park Advisory Council; Board Member, Prairie Paws Animal Shelter; Advisory Council Member and Advocate, National Kidney Foundation; Former Board Member, Rebuilding Together Shawnee; Fundraiser Runner, Girls on the Run and Lungevity.
Address 22510 West 60th Street Shawnee, KS 66226
Web Site
CampaignPhone (913) 626-5916
1. The completion of the Nieman Road project must be our top priority. This is the gateway to our city, and we need to finish the job. Not only the infrastructure, but also working to both assist existing local small businesses, and grow the number of new options that call downtown Shawnee home.

2. An updated plan. Our city’s comprehensive plan has not been significantly updated since 1987. How can we prepare for the future of growth in our city if we have no idea how we want to get there? We must bring together residents from across the community, and create a plan that will identify locations for development, while providing certainty to existing residents.

3.Infrastructure Needs. This is one of the most fundamental roles of government, and as our city ages, we must have a plan in place to provide for this work. Expanding our business tax base and diversifying our economy is the only sustainable means of accomplishing this without adding to the residential tax burden.
Much of my life has been committed to public service. From statehouse intern to Shawnee City Council President, I’ve spent my career working to make our community a better place through multiple avenues – complemented by my Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.

Beyond public work, I’ve also spent several years in the private sector working with organizations and companies interested in growth and expansion. As such, I have a strong understanding of economic development at the local and regional level, and how that works within the public setting. Additionally, I am actively involved in both regional and national organizations, including my current position with the National League of Cities as the Vice Chair of the First Tier Suburbs Council.

I am the only candidate in the race with the unique educational and professional background to manage the traditional functions of government, while also leading our city into strategic and thoughtful growth.
Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the metro today, and Shawnee is certainly no exception. Too often I’ve heard from folks who work in our local businesses – or even for our city – who can’t find a viable living option here; this must be addressed. We have a need for the full spectrum of housing options, but particularly the “missing middle” segment that falls between traditional, single family homes and large-scale multi-family units, as well as additional quality apartment options.

In the last few years, we’ve updated our zoning in the downtown corridor to allow for more non-traditional housing options, such as smaller, cottage-style homes, but there is more to be done. Shawnee’s comprehensive plan has not been updated since 1987. We must change this. We need to work together with the residents of our community to establish areas that are most logical for such developments, while also providing greater certainty to those who purchase a home nearby.
Ensuring our city is a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community should be a top priority for all our elected officials. While I believe this is best-addressed at the federal and state level, it has become increasingly clear that this resolution will not occur in the near-term, and I don’t believe it is appropriate to ask these residents to continue to wait for the pending United States Supreme Court ruling for protection. It is time for Shawnee to join our peer cities and begin the conversation on updating our own internal policies, and well as consideration of a more formal NDO.

As an LGBTQ+ supporter, I’ve watched with great interest the work in other local cities, and around the country. I believe that we can accomplish the goal of providing these important and fundamental protections without creating other administrative or legal challenges to the city, our residents, or local businesses, and I am glad that we will begin this discussion at our upcoming August 13 meeting.