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Topeka City Mayor

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  • Leo Cangiani

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    Mike Padilla

Biographical Information

What do you think the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) can do to support services to workers such as transportation, living wage, affordable health insurance, paid sick and family leave, or childcare support? How would you propose to facilitate your position?

What policies do you think should govern the use of money from the Topeka Housing Trust Fund?

What is the most important issue facing Topeka and how do you propose to address it?

When the City Council draws new election districts for the Council, what criteria will you take into consideration in determining whether those districts are fair to the voters?

What community support services are needed to reduce crime and gun violence (including suicide)? What is your proposal for ensuring availability of those community support services?

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Personal Biography Married to Veronica for 53 years and counting. Two grown children, a son and a daughter and 5 grandsons. I am a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parrish, the Knights of Columbus and other civic groups. My wife and I love to travel, hanging out at home around the pool with family and friends, trying different restaurants and going to the movies.
Campaign Phone (785) 259-0839
Campaign Email
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Education Hayden High, Washburn University, courses from Wichita State University, University of Kansas Extension, United States Army, US Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI Firearms Instructor
Community/Public Service US Navy Reservist, co-founder of Safe Streets, Momentum 2022, Midland Care Board, Salvation Army Board, Meals on Wheels Board, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging, Kansas Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Committee, Governor's Task Force on Racial Profiling, Mayor's Council On Diversity, YMCA Metro Planning Board, Civil Service Board, League of United Latin Americans (LULAC), Leadership Greater Topeka, Topeka Police Citizens Advisory Board Harmony Cultural Diversity Foundation
JEDO had a committee working on workforce transportation issues. Most of the effort was to address issues of getting workers from the city neighborhoods to the complex of manufacturing, warehousing and distribution businesses. The MTAA does not run a route to that area. Cost studies have not shown to MTAA that a route to that area would be cost effective or sustainable. A pilot program was initiated by GTP. In short time there were problems of riders not being ready to be picked up thereby delaying others for work. Some employers did not participate in the program. The primary provider gave notice that they would no longer participate. No other providers stepped forward. JEDO works to attract or expand capacity for employers to provide living wage or better jobs with benefits. I will continue as a voting member of JEDO to support the needs is developing a trained and ready workforce.
I believe that reasonable and achievable qualifications must be instituted to ensure access in a way that serves our diverse community in an equitable and inclusive way. Across the board from intake of participants, education and follow up mentoring professional and timely reinforcement of the goals of the trust fund must be stressed. Working for something gives value to a person's accomplishments. Sustainability is paramount. Finding an funding stream that is a combination of resources is imperative. The city or no one agency can meet all the needs intended by the creation and implementation of the trust fund.
Well, lack of a growing population has always been a concern. More recently, a report from the Census 2020 indicated that only two cities in Kansas lost population, Salina and Topeka. So, less population the smaller are tax base is. But beyond taxes Topeka still faces an "image" problem. When I talk to people who have moved here they very good things to say about our city. The cost of living is lower so their money goes further, ease of getting around (and they don't mention the potholes!), activities are good year around, the Topeka Zoo, Washburn University, Evergy Plaza, the Topeka Public Library, friendliness of the people here, diverse population and so forth. But, some very vocal residents constantly try to bring Topeka down. We have to continue to work hard at attracting new residents but we have to do everything we can to take care of the population we have. Addressing their needs as a priority will make them our best advocates. Economic growth and inclusion are also a priority.
I have not been involved in this before or since coming on the council. I am concerned that intentional carving out of populations that are hindered by access to voting locations would be of a high concern for me.
From my experience in law enforcement focus always seems to be on what can the police do alone. For years working in the community I saw the need for mental health services as a partner in working to combat violence and suicide. Many times a person who needed counseling could work through their conflicts without going to jail. In take services were invaluable both to the adult and juvenile population. Politics and funding ended those resources. So, those who encountered domestic violence and other violent situations often ended up going to jail. Serve time with no follow up. A think a better understanding of what the community does have in place and coordinating those resources would be a challenging task but a worthwhile one. We talk of crime summits but do we have a wholistic understanding of how we got here, what we have and how to do better with what we have. Of course recognition of our capacity may help identify were we need effective change.