Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Manhattan City Commission

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Wynn Bulter
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Aaron Estabrook
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Kaleb James
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Rich Jankovich
    (N)

  • Marcus Kidd
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Monica C. Macfarlane
    (N)

  • John E. Matta
    (N)

  • Joseph D. McGraw
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Usha Reddi
    (N)

Biographical Information

Please include a short biography including why you are seeking this office and your relevant experience(s).

What are your three priorities for Manhattan, should you be elected to serve?

What have we learned from the city’s response to the pandemic? Did you support or opposed the mask ordinance?

With the opportunity for federally assisted infrastructure funding and the full opening of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, what would be your priorities for Manhattan’s infrastructure improvements? How should the Manhattan City Commission best engage and consult with residential neighborhoods and concerned citizens who will be affected by these changes?

Given the pandemic’s stresses on mental health and our mental health care services, what programs or projects would you propose or support to address this need in our community?

The Manhattan city mil levy has been held to zero or near-zero for the last three years. As the city and county consider the budget and anticipated revenue for 2022, would you support or oppose a budget increase? If you support an increase, at what level?

What is your position on the costs of benefits of interlocal agreements and shared funding, such as that the city maintains with the Riley County Police and once had with the Riley County Health Department? Should either be severed or resumed?

Personal Biography Wynn attended Pennsylvania Military College and the University of Richmond, graduating in 1973 with a degree in history and a commission as a 2nd Lt. (Infantry) United States Army. Wynn earned a master's degree in education from Kansas State University in 1980. He served on active duty as an Infantry and Logistics Officer from 1973 to 1997. Wynn retired from the Army in 1997 and began a second career as an administrator and faculty member at Barton County Community College Fort Riley Campus.
Campaign Phone (785) 317-2819
Campaign Web Site http://wynnbutler.net
Education B.S. History MA Education Graduate US Army General Staff College
Community/Public Service City Commission 2011 to present
I have served on the City Commission since 2011. This is my second time as Mayor of the City. I have extensive management experience in the US Army and as an Administrator in higher education. My top priorities are taxes, infrastructure and responsible growth. The budget drives everything. Proper and frugal funding opens the door to all possibilities.
Taxes, Infrastructure and Responsible Growth.
I supported the EOC structure. We had a process that said the Emergency Operations Center was in charge of pandemic response. When they ask for a mask mandate I supported the EOC. I did not support mask mandates that were not recommended by the EOC.
Priority for Infrastructure must be focused on core city functions. Water, Sewer, Storm Water, and Roads. The best method to consult and engage with residential neighborhoods is to expand and Implement Neighborhood Manhattan https://cityofmhk.com/2924/Neighborhood-MHK.
I do not believe the city can currently finance any new project in terms of a mental health facility. We should continue to use what SSAB and SAF funds that are available to support Pawnee Mental Health. Exploring additional partnerships with local and regional hospitals is also in order. Parks and Rec, in terms of Quality of Life can play a big role in stress. We need to ensure full operation and staffing of our three newly built rec centers.
100% against any mill levy increase. It will Stifel economic recovery. We need to invest in economic development, grow the sales tax base, save our current local businesses and bring in new business.
The Riley County Health Department should remain a County Agency. The RCPD statue needs revision, but the concept of the County Police Department is fine. It has served the community well. We just need to relook funding formulas and the Law Board appointments.
Personal Biography He is a K-State graduate that served in the U.S. Army from 2008-2012 with a year-long combat deployment to southern Afghanistan in 2009-10. He has worked as a Case Manager for Veteran families facing homelessness across Kansas. Estabrook served a 4-year term on the USD 383 Board of Education. In various capacities he has served on numerous boards and committees in the community advocating for youth, housing, and health care.
Campaign Phone (785) 341-7591
Campaign Email team@electestabrook.com
Campaign Web Site http://electestabrook.com
Education Aaron received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Kansas State University. He received a Certificate in International Mediation and Conflict Resolution from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University while studying abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus. Estabrook also studied Foreign Policy and Counterterrorism at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er-Sheva, Israel.
Community/Public Service • Vice President of National Alliance on Mental Illness – Kansas Board of Directors • Governor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families • Konza Prairie Community Health Center Board of Directors • Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board • Manhattan Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee Member • Chairman, Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency Board (aTa) • Board member of UFM Community Learning Center • Coalition for Equal Justice – Manhattan • Former Vice President of Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 Board of Education • Former member of Manhattan Parks and Recreation Advisory Board • Former member of Early Learning & Head Start Policy Council
It’s been a wild two years. Not at all what I expected when I sought a seat on the City Commission two years ago, but I can’t help but be proud of the accomplishments we achieved in uncertain circumstances. I’m excited to keep working to make Manhattan an even better place to live for all our citizens. I pride myself on being a pragmatic problem-solver. In these times more than ever, our community needs a steady hand. Despite the chaos and complexity of the global pandemic I found ways to get stuff done for you. I was successful in dedicating 10% (about $6.5M) of the Economic Development sales tax, that citizens passed in 2020, toward future Workforce Housing Initiatives in Manhattan. I worked with the MLK Committee to make it possible to officially rename 17th street and recognize the historic connection Martin Luther King Jr has with K-State and Manhattan. I am seeking reelection because I know there is more work to do, and I have a unique capacity to get it done.
The outcomes and goals of the Crossroads MHK strategic plan will weigh and inform my decision making for the community as whole.

However, on a personal level, Housing, Food, and Veterans are the issues that motivate me to serve Manhattan.

Housing Solutions: I will continue leading Workforce Housing Initiatives and building teams to tackle our housing crisis, so we align goals with the needs of our community.

Food Systems Planning: We must find ways to incentivize healthier food access. I will continue working with stakeholders to build a system-wide food plan for the community.

Veterans Initiatives: Everything from suicide prevention, homelessness, post 9/11 Memorials, veteran owned business growth, to establishing a Veterans Treatment Court I am dedicated to working for Veterans.
We are still too close to the event to truly appreciate the impact it has had on all of us and our systems of response. Science and technology were used in a way that humankind had never seen before. Locally we have proven to be resilient, adaptive, and innovative. However, our limits have been stretched in ways that nothing will ever be returned to the way it once was.

Technology has evolved to accommodate our public meetings. COVID testing and vaccine distribution has set new expectations on how quickly healthcare can be delivered and where it can be accessed. We have learned that the guardrails of democracy are stronger than some may have thought, but more vulnerable than we liked to believe. We learned that an absence of leadership at the federal or state level does not excuse an absence of action on the local level. I supported the mask ordinance each time it was brought to a vote. I will continue to support the decisions and authority of the County Health Officer.
We must repair the Airport runway and ensure the levee and flooding issues are priorities. Broadband is a big driver for job growth and there are areas of Manhattan that are underserved. We need to follow the City’s plans for sewer and stormwater upgrades. The infrastructure underground is critical to the operations of the city and the safety of our community.

Neighborhood meetings in addition to required notices are critical to keep busy citizens aware of the infrastructure changes that happen in their backyards. There are ways for citizenry to be informed about pending projects but it’s highly unusual for someone busy to seek out that info. Therefore, it is critical to elect people that will bring issues to your attention when they arise. I see the role of a commissioner as a objective problem solver – the information interested stakeholders present to me is very useful and important but I also strive to contact and listen to the less engaged individuals that will be impacted.
The Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) is a miracle for Manhattan. I am deeply engaged with people living with serious mental health diagnosis. Ever since the CSU opened, I have met so many folks who describe their experience at the Crisis Stabilization Unit as a “good experience”. That is incredibly rare and speaks to the dedication of our community to pushing forward toward solutions rather than waiting on outsiders to solve our problems for us.

The Co-Responders with RCPD are another success. I am encouraged to know RCPD Dir Butler submitted a letter of support to NAMI KS for a grant that would fund a NAMI Support group for inmates at the Riley County Jail

When considering if I would run for reelection, a major factor was that I want to see the City Commission work with the City Attorney to develop a Veterans Treatment Court at our Municipal Court. We have an opportunity to be a leader in the region and the need exists, if reelected I will ensure the political will exists as well.
Cue Sarah McLachlan emotional ballad background music [narrator says] “for $5 a month you can adopt a City Employee” All jokes aside, the obsession by the City Commission to have a zero mil (property tax) for the last decade has created an organization that is cannibalizing itself, unable to retain talent, recruit new staff, fill positions, upgrade 90s technology, or staff the programs & buildings that taxpayers funded with ballot initiatives & sales taxes. We are a decade behind on wages in terms of comparability of salary to our peers in the region, we are three decades behind on finance technology that “talks” to all the City Departments. The inefficiency & duplication necessary to operate the organization in this manner is embarrassing. The blame should be squarely placed on the commission for not being able to articulate these needs to taxpayers for the previous decade. As your commissioner, I will not neglect this issue. I support an increase to properly fund the city operations.
I am in favor of revisiting the way accountability is applied to the Law Board and the appointment process. I would support a joint effort between the City and County to improve the budgetary and accountability language in the state law that consolidated our police & sheriff offices into RCPD.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, I believe we should revisit our interlocal agreements as they relate to emergency management, public health, planning and zoning, policing and EMS, etc. We have learned a great deal and need to make sure our policies and inter local agreements in the future reflect best practices and remove any negative unintended consequences that have come to light.
Personal Biography Army veteran, husband and father. I coach youth track and enjoy taking young kids to the Junior Olympics each year. I am heavily involved in the community serving on different committees and helping with food distribution.
Campaign Phone (913) 416-2122
Army veteran, husband and father. I coach youth track and enjoy taking young kids to the Junior Olympics each year. I am heavily involved in the community serving on different committees and helping with food distribution. I am running for office because I feel that the tax burden on the average citizen is untenable. Local government should be the closest to the people and constantly be listening and governing in the way the people wish to be governed I feel that is lacking. In my day to day job I manage business efficiencies and streamline processes and procedures. In the military I led soldiers and managed logistics. Those skills I believe are of great value when looking to run and manage a government efficiently.
My three priorities are 1.) Decrease Taxation 2.) Increase Representation 3.) Transparent Leadership
We learned that we should have a system in place where there isn't as much guess work and competing governmental ideas as to what direction we should follow. The city and counties should be aligned in their approach even if one is acquiescing to the other to limit confusion. I supported the mask mandate when the vaccine was not readily available.
The priority should be ensuring that water lines are viable and maintained, and that we have the ability to bring fiber internet into business hubs and new residential areas. We should also look at ensuring that any new roads that are constructed in residential zoned areas are bike friendly. Notices should be hung on the doors of affected residents 60 days and 30 days before the decision is to be made so that the residents have adequate time to educate themselves and comment to the commission if they so desire.
It is a struggle in most cities to maintain an adequate amount of mental health professionals. I would like to see a tax abatement for new mental health clinics who agree to operate in the city for a minimum of three years. Easing the financial burden of essential small businesses is key to maintaining a vibrant economy and healthy citizenship.
I would not be for any tax increase.
The city's agreement with the RCPD isn't one that can be severed easily it would take an act of State Legislature. I do not feel either should be severed at the moment but I believe that they both need to be reassessed and ensure that the monetary burden is equal across the serviced areas.
Personal Biography My family now has four generations in Manhattan, retired, working and putting down strong roots. I have 36+ years in commercial banking, with 17 years working in Manhattan in all aspects of our economy. I am committed to our community and have worked hard to strengthen our economy and appeal to new businesses and the military to bring additional assets to our region. I have developed very strong regional, state and national relationships to support and strengthen and grow Manhattan.
Campaign Phone (219) 730-9378
Campaign Email rbjankovich@gmail.com
Campaign Web Site http://www.richjankovich.com
Education Graduate Manhattan High School BS Kansas State University MBA University of Central Missouri
Community/Public Service Rich currently serves the community on the City of Manhattan Audit Committee and as the Chair of the Airport Advisory Board; KSU College of Arts & Science Dean’s Alumni Council, immediate Past-Chair; Manhattan High School Business Finance Department Advisory Board; Manhattan Konza Rotary Club, past president. He serves the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce in the following roles: Military Relations Committee, immediate past-chair; Little Apple Brigade; Kansas Military Alliance; Transportation Committee; and Region Reimagined steering committee and as a member of the Governance and Advocacy Committee. Rich also serves the Mercy Health Foundation Board asTreasur. He is a former member of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, former chair of the Workforce Board, former member of the Chamber Audit Committee and ex officio member of the Business Advocacy Committee. Rich is a past Chairman and board member of the Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce and served on its membership committee; serves on the board of directors for the Flint Hills Chapter of AUSA as president-elect; and is a Trustee of the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation (GMCF) and a member of the GCMF’s Guardian Angels. Rich also served on former Congressman now Senator Roger Marshall’s Military Affairs Advisory Council and is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors and serves on its executive committee. Rich is a former Schools of Hope and 20+ year Junior Achievement volunteer (Omaha and Hastings, NE and Monon, IN). Rich and his wife, Caroline, served as co-chairs of the United Way Dinner by Design in 2012 and for the Mercy Health Care Foundation Crystal Gala in 2017 and 2018. Rich has previously served as a past chairman for the March of Dimes Walk America in Manhattan; Chair of the Omaha Corporate Cup Run; Founding board member of the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association; Chaired the Hastings, NE Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council; Hasting, NE Community Theater Board; Past President of the Hastings, NE Lions Club. Rich was recognized as the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year for 2009, the Konza Rotary Rotarian of the Year for 2012 and First Infantry Division/Fort Riley Distinguished Trooper in 2013.
I made the decision to run again after leaving office in 2015, after four years on the City Commission, because I believe there is a need for Positive and Responsible Leadership in our city. I have been integral in several aspects of Manhattan and seen in my community service and leadership. Our fiscal responsibility is becoming even more critical and I believe I possess the skills and relationships to bring positive economic growth and fiscal responsibility to our community. I have been a commercial banker for most of my professional career working with all forms of businesses very large and small. I have also worked directly with many government agencies to find sound practices in safety and efficiency of operation. Our revenue stresses have been tremendous since COVID began and many more stresses have been added requiring sound, responsible leadership.
Focus on sustainable economic development and growth adding a broader tax base for revenue, to lessen the tax burden on all citizens. We need to keep an eye on how we maintain the improvements and how they are paid for over time. Streamline ways for developments to move through to the approval process, lessening costs to developers. Support and celebrate our local businesses that invest in our community. Maintain focus on fiscal responsibility. In 2023 sales tax will be captured throughout the entire city, which will help with several projects waiting in the wings. The push for net neutral budgeting mandated by the state and dark store efforts by major retailers will stress our city’s revenues to maintain our overall infrastructure. Be a positive voice for our community by improving our relationship with Ft. Riley and KSU, which contribute approximately 65-75% of our local economy. Provide better overall regional leadership to enhance relationships with our regional partners.
I believe our response was chaotic, poorly planned, overreaching and lacked cooperation with our partner government agencies. The fiscal side was appropriate as hiring freezes were implemented, holds on projects that were not already started and expenditures that were not critical were made. Initially the decision to close down was made mostly due to fear and lack of knowledge of transmission and the looming threat of spread. The misinformation and lack of cooperation at all levels over masks and social distancing made this even more difficult. In addition, there was very little thought put toward how to keep businesses open, safe and viable. Any new changes should be coordinated, simple to follow, focused on a safe and open economy. I pose the question, how does anyone feel when a loved one is denied medical assistance because there are no beds at the inn, within seven states? Our family had to live through that. We had four family members infected with COVID and it was/is no joke.
The infrastructure related to NBAF was committed and spent to bring NBAF here several years ago, I believe $5MM. The infrastructure funds you refer to have many strings and requirements and that makes the use much narrower than typical grants that are funded by the federal government. We have still not heard the final ruling on our ability to use the funds awarded and what they may or may not be used for. We have a major project coming in 2023, runway reconstruction has federal funding and local match and those funds could be beneficial. How to engage the areas that are impacted by any infrastructure improvements is difficult. My past experience is public meetings with stakeholders, normally ignored by the majority. I believe the use of web based meetings, appointed citizens on each planning effort are possibilities. There are so many ways citizens can be involved and informed. We need to continue to ask for that engagement on large projects and enhancing that effort is a good start.
That is a great question. Mental Health is something that has been ignored and considered unimportant at many levels of government. We have instituted better policing with trained officers on duty for disturbances involving individuals with significant issues. Finding ways to assist in the support of our community's mental health professionals, provide group gatherings that promote connectivity to neighborhoods, communities, and extended family. We have to find ways to limit isolation. It is critical to be creative as we have limited and declining financial resources due to the changes in our economy and legislative efforts to limit government revenues and spending. Many service organizations can assist with the efforts that they have in play as well as KSU/Ft. Riley's efforts to integrate into our community. Communication will be the key.
Making wise decisions is critical on how the revenue from property tax is used. The baseline of how the mils are appropriated: 64% is completely out of the control of the City Commission (RCPD/Library). Another 5.4% is for employee benefits for city and MFD employees. A very small percentage is for fire equipment reserve, which I view as infrastructure or essential and is critical to maintain safety within our city. General fund and bond and interest funds are the two most controllable. We now are faced with net neutral budgeting, which requires a public hearing to go above the same revenue as the previous year. Therefore we don’t keep up with inflation and if RCPD and Library funding continues to rise we are net negative with a real deficit. Larger retailers have been successful pushing the DARK STORE THEORY, which revenue loss will be devastating. I have never been in favor of mil increases but at the end of the day we have few revenue sources, which are tighter than ever.
Interlocal agreements can be a positive way for regional partners to share assets and capabilities. RCPD was established by state statute in the early ‘70’s, unwinding it would be difficult and costly. It is my belief that the RCPD Law Board should be composed of elected officials accountable to the voters/citizens, always mindful of the overall budget impact to the city/county, as it is fully funded by property tax. The Riley County Health Department was moved to the county due to a lack of oversight and loss of control by the board at that time. I would make that vote again based on the facts at the time. The agreement with Ft. Riley lowers cost, adds salt storage capacity, lower cost, guaranteed access and efficiencies to both entities. It strengthens our relationship with the Fort but also ensures our ability to handle winter storms effectively.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Personal Biography For the past ten years, my family and I have lived, worked, and studied in Manhattan. I am a K-State graduate with a Master’s in Public Administration and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership Communications. I have over 10 years of experience providing administrative support in both private and public organizations. I am passionate about promoting meaningful and collaborative community participation. As a military spouse of 22 years, I have a deep and rooted respect for public service.
Campaign Phone (912) 220-2867
Campaign Email monicamac4mhk@gmail.com
Education Doctor of Philosophy Leadership Communications, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS - Expected May 2025; Master of Public Administration, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS - May 2018; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS - May 2016
Community/Public Service Community Organizations: • Habitat for Humanity, Front Porch Conversations Note Taker – Manhattan, KS • Kansas State University Support Staff Senate, Vice President 2021-2022 – Manhattan, KS • Manhattan Arts Center, House Manager – Manhattan, KS • USD 383, Exam Proctor – Manhattan, KS • Cub and Boy Scouts of America, Fundraiser Chair & Treasurer – Williamsburg, VA and Manhattan, KS • 2020 Kansas State University Grain Science Flour Give Away – Manhattan, KS • St. Thomas More – Manhattan, KS • United Way – Williamsburg, VA •Pooler Elementary PTA, Vice President – Savannah, GA; City of Manhattan: • Developed and provided training to City of Manhattan supervisors on the best practices of conducting employee annual reviews, and hiring guidelines and laws • Developed surveys for City of Manhattan employees regarding health plan preferences, wellness benefits, and employment satisfaction • Created training products for City of Manhattan employees on non-discrimination ordinances; City of Hutchison and Reno County: • Developed community outreach program for Reno County to survey community spending priorities associated with the federally disbursed American Rescue Plan funds.
I have a unique set of life experiences that I have given me a grounding respect for public service and its importance in people’s lives. As a result of my husband’s military career, I have lived in various communities overseas, as well as on the East Coast. My experiences in these various communities brought to my attention the impact of local governmental policies and services on residents’ everyday lives – when people’s needs are being met, they feel a sense of belonging within their community.

Since moving to Manhattan, I have gained experiences in my various roles--as a student, an employee of both the university and the City, as a parent of a child who attended USD 383 schools, as a community volunteer, and as a military spouse--in this community. My experiences while working as an intern for the City of Manhattan, in addition to various local policies and demonstrated needs within our community inspired me to run for City Commission.
1. Embrace Manhattan's River City identity through responsible flood mitigation and riverfront development strategies. 2. Foster embodiment of participative democracy and responsible governance through transparency in all actions. 3. Development of an inclusive community through efforts such as safe and affordable housing, and equitable and effective social services.
I think the City staff worked hard during the pandemic to maintain as many operations as possible and provide for the multitude of exigencies that the pandemic presented. The pandemic highlighted some inequities in the community and areas of concern for future sustainability – such as food insecurity, communication infrastructure needs, importance of social and mental health services within the community, and uniform communication of related policies. The City’s transition to broadcast of all segments of commission meetings made these planning and operational discussions open to many segments of the public that had not previously had the opportunity to attend due to transportation or family-work commitments.

I supported the City’s mask ordinance. I entirely understand the perspectives that were in opposition to the ordinance as a violation of their personal rights, however individual and collective freedoms must be held in balance for the greatest good of all citizens.
As I see it, the City’s biggest infrastructure need is flood mitigation and storm-water management. We are a river city with watersheds that flood. Our current infrastructure is insufficient to mitigate our flood risks. Responsible flood mitigation strategies would reduce city expenditures related to repairs from habitual flooding cycles. Additionally, responsible flood mitigation could draw more economic development investment opportunities to our city.

The City Commission should hold neighborhood meetings to co-develop locality specific solutions with the residents and stakeholders of each affected neighborhood.
I propose near-and long-term efforts to address this particular need in our community. In the near-term, I would support the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the increased service costs incurred by Pawnee Mental Health and local social service organizations. The COVID pandemic has led to detrimental levels of social isolation. I would support community efforts that promote neighborhood communication and connection efforts, such as Habitat for Humanity's Front Porch Conversations.

In the long-term, I would propose increased participatory relationships with stakeholders like the Department of Veterans Affairs, Kansas State University, Riley County Health Department, and other social service providers to ensure the maximal amount of mental health and community wellness coverage can be achieved.

Any spending decisions require informed and careful consideration. I will always carefully consider any spending or taxing request that comes before me. I do not believe in raising taxes without exploring all possible revenue or cost-savings options or without carefully weighing the service or need that the proposed tax is supposed to fill. Furthermore, I believe in responsible governance and transparency when making decisions. I believe the City Administration should provide a detailed projection of the services that will be provided and/or cut at each point level of a requested mil levy tax increase. I have reservations with the requested budget increase for 2022 due to an incomplete consideration of all the funds available to the City for current use.
Governmental entities structured through interlocal agreements and shared funding partnerships are potentially beneficial to the communities they are designed to serve. In an effort to ensure these partnerships are beneficial, their governing bodies should be comprised of elected officials. Furthermore, these governmental entities should be structured or modified to report and return funding overages to their funding municipalities. This should require that oversight committee decisions regarding changes in funding of these agencies be ratified by the component city and county governments. These agencies work to provide the best solutions to the needs of the community, even if uniquely constructed.

Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Personal Biography Manhattan has been my home for over 28 years. I am a public-school teacher and was a classroom teacher for over 16 years at Ogden Elementary School. Currently, I am on a leave of absence to serve more effectively as an elected city commissioner. I have always been involved in the community at some level whether it’s in the school district, the community, or organizations at the local, state, and federal level.
Campaign Phone (785) 313-1531
Campaign Email ulr12345@gmail.com
Education Bachelor of Arts - Ohio State University, Developmental Psychology Bachelor of Science – Kansas State University, Elementary Education Master of Science – Kansas State University, Educational Leadership
Community/Public Service •Rotary Club of Community Action Against Human Trafficking, President – Present •Kansas State University President Search Committee - Present •National Association of Mental Illness Board of Directors, 2015-Present •Justice Involved Youth and Adults Governor’s Subcommittee, 2015-Present •Riley County Mental Health Task Force, 2017-Present •Friends of McCain Board of Directors, 2015-Present •American Association for University Women Executive Committee, 2014-Present •League of Women Voters, 2010-Present •Manhattan Public Library Board of Directors ex-officio, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2016-2017, 2020 •Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors ex-officio, 2017, 2020 •Riley County Police Department Law Board, 2015-2019 •Ogden Elementary School Site Council, 2012-2019 •Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2015-2017 •Flint Hills Regional Transit Administration, 2015-2017 •Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau Steering Committee, 2016-2017 •Manhattan Housing Authority, 2012-2014 •President of National Education Association Manhattan-Ogden, 2008-2010
I am serving my second term on the Manhattan City Commission and was mayor in 2016-2017 and 2020. My background as a public-school teacher gave me insight to the challenges our families face in our community. I work with families from a variety of backgrounds, socio-economic conditions, ideologies, and resources and I know policies cannot be based on a one size fits all approach. As a teacher, I strive to set students up for success based on their needs and circumstances. I use this same philosophy and training to set up our community for economic growth and improve quality of life.

Civic Responsibility and Community Engagement - This includes civil discourse, communication and transparency, and putting community first.

Efficient Government and Improved Intergovernmental Cooperation - This includes partnerships with Kansas State University, Fort Riley, Manhattan_Ogden USD 383 and other entries in Manhattan and the Flint Hills Region. Collaboration between the public sector and the private sector in essential for growth and to ensure a welcoming and safe community for all.

Economic Development and Work Force - This includes recruiting and retaining businesses locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. We need to grow our own talent with education and technical institutions in our community and invest in quality of life, housing and infrastructure.

Last year was extremely challenging but I think the city did as best it could under the continuous unpredictable day-to-day information. Kansas State University asked students not return to campus after spring break and changed to remote instruction and USD383 switched to remote instruction as well. Sports and other activities were canceled. As mayor, I was on Zoom meetings nearly every hour of every day with the Governor’s office, Via Christi Hospital and medical leaders, the medical task force, the emergency office command, the city manager, businesses, the president’s pandemic task force and community residents. We all were making difficult decisions. After many conversations with professionals, I proposed the mask ordinance for the city which put us in line with Kansas State University, the school district, Ft. Riley and other entities. I learned that when all of the local partners work together, we are all safer, and the community outcomes are better.
The infrastructure funding bill has not passed yet, but there are many components related to climate change, sustainability, connectivity, brownfield sites and roads and bridges. These would be the primary areas of focus for our local community. Before decisions are made however, meaningful and timely community engagement and communication are necessary to make sure we are addressing the needs in Manhattan. It would be best to make door-to-door visits and take a survey of needs, as well as have round table discussions in several neighborhoods and offer an online survey for additional feedback. Some of our neighborhoods have had fewer resources invested where they live and therefore have fewer opportunities for their health and mental well-being. The information gathering process could last 3-6 months to plan how to utilize the infrastructure funds.
Mental health has been one of my top priorities as a public-school teacher as well as a public official. I worked closely with Robbin Cole from Pawnee Mental Health and RCPD to implement the co-responder program as well as the crisis stabilization center. Both have helped tremendously with individuals who are living with mental illness. Tele-therapy during the pandemic helped people keep their appointments and provided easy access for others who were feeling lonely, suffering from depression or anxious because of the dramatic changes that took place last year and still exist today. The Recovery Task Force was instrumental in providing a space for businesses and community organization leaders to discuss common challenges they were facing. I am on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness as well as the Riley County Mental Health Task Force. The Task Force stakeholders continuously discuss and work together on solutions to address the needs in our region.
No one wants to raise the mill levy, but we must consider all the information when making that decision. The city of Manhattan is growing and the expectation by the city commission and its residents is for city departments and staff to always function at a high level and provide quality service. For this to take place we need to balance employee workload by either doing fewer projects, programs and initiatives or hire more staff and spread the workload. The Riley County Police Department (RCPD) as well the Manhattan Public Library are funded by property taxes and this year RCPD’s portion of the budget increased by 2.5 mils. I supported another mill in addition to the 2.5 to support our city staff because of the daily demands and challenges they are facing and for funding CIP increases which are necessary for staff retention and maximum effectiveness.
Community partnerships and the Interlocal agreements are extremely important. Manhattan is the most densely populated city in Riley County therefore we have a larger tax base and more needs. It’s imperative that we have oversight and have a voice in the decision-making process when developing policies and budget. The safety of our community is at stake if we are not at the table. Past city commissioners decided to separate Manhattan from the Riley County Health Department interlocal agreement and this hampered our ability to do anything during the pandemic and created friction and confusion when Manhattan decided to move forward with recommended mitigation steps provided by Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and medical experts in our community.