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Shawnee Council Ward 2

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  • Mike Kemmling

  • Candidate picture

    Eric Persson

Biographical Information

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

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

How will you address diversity issues in your city?

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

What do you believe is the ideal relationship between your city and the state government?

Do you support tax incentives in order to bring business to your city?

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Personal Biography My family moved to Overland Park from the East Coast back in 1979. After graduating from Kansas State I moved to Arizona for a few years but ultimately knew that I belonged back in the Midwest. My wife and I choose to raise our children here in Shawnee, specifically we love the diversity and history of the Ward 2 neighborhoods. I'm a husband, a dad, an artist and a businessman. I've known my wife for 22 years and she is my partner in crime, a PTA president, a yoga teacher and an amazing human.
Campaign Address PO BOX 3105
Shawnee, KS 66203
Campaign Phone (816) 217-5102
Education Kansas State University 1992 BS in Business BA in Fine Arts
Community/Public Service I've always been involved in community as someone who cares, always lending a helping hand to my neighbors. I have helped in getting things done such as speed limit signs up, no outlet signs, re-routing industrial traffic, etc. As a resident of the Crossroads in Downtown KC for a couple of years I was on the Crossroads Community association which advocated for the residents while attracting a diverse mix of housing, retail and restaurants.
Continued focus on Downtown Shawnee: We need to attract more businesses to continue diversifying our tax base. We can do this while protecting the rich history of the surrounding neighborhoods and continue providing exceptional services to our residents. Economic and Environmental Resiliency: We have an opportunity to create a better future. Sustainability and efficiency not only save money and have a positive economic impact, but they improve the quality of life for residents. Community Engagement and Government Transparency: Together we can create a unified Shawnee, and as your councilmember I will encourage engagement and welcome feedback, acting with integrity to serve the best interests of our community.
I have strong leadership skills due to my work history. I currently lead a team of 7 sales reps from across the country and I navigate everyone towards one unified goal. I am also part of an executive team that is leading a go to market strategy which takes a lot of critical thinking skills, which will be to my benefit as a council person. I am accustomed to making tough decisions. I am empathetic and have the ability bring people together for the common good. I am very ethical by nature. I am coming into this campaign with no agenda and am truly interested in what’s best for my community. I have already shown leadership in my community by helping with some basic needs such as road signs, traffic issues, etc. Most importantly, I listen intently, I follow up in a timely manner and I show up.
Passing the nondiscrimination ordinance a couple of years ago was a good step. I am running in Ward 2 which is home to some of the oldest and most diverse neighborhoods in Shawnee. As I am out canvassing, I have met people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, gender identity and sexual orientation, disability status, etc. We are a true melting pot. I encourage people to get involved by voting, paying attention to local elections, attending City Council meetings and volunteering in our community any way that that they can. My wife and I have two young children and we teach them about the importance of diversity, inclusivity and equity on a daily basis. We all believe that it’s important for Shawnee to be a welcoming community for all.
Part of Shawnee being diverse and inclusive (and welcoming) is having access to affordable housing. We have a great deal of people who work in our city (service workers, educators, etc.) that can’t afford to live here without such housing and if you work here, you should be able to live here. I think that some people have a ‘negative’ connotation of affordable housing but to be a truly diverse community we can and should have a good mix of housing options, from affordable to high end, that will appeal to all who wish to call Shawnee home.
As I’m out speaking with voters I ask people why it is that they vote in municipal elections. The answer that I get is because it is on a local level that we can truly make a difference in our own community. They want to trust in local government to have the biggest impact on things that are important to them and we do have a large degree of autonomy due to the Home Rule authority. That being said, there does need to be an open line of communication between local municipal government and our state legislators and our governor on certain issues.
Incentives for businesses and developments need to be looked at through its own individual lens. In some cases using tax incentives to attract and/or help local business owners is a good thing. We must weigh the benefits in each case and see if it’s something that will create jobs, provide something that is missing (and needed) in the community but at the same time won’t put other local businesses at a disadvantage.