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Mission Council Ward 4

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    Ben Chociej
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Ray Ruecker
    (N)

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?

Personal Biography Ben and his wife, Betsy, are proud Mission residents of just over four years. They purchased their first home together in Ward 4 near the Gateway site and the old Mission Bowl building in 2017. Ben stays active in city happenings, serving on the Parks, Recreation, and Trees Commission, regularly council & committee meetings, and keeping up with municipal projects and development efforts in the area.
Campaign Phone (816) 332-7985
Campaign Email ben@benformission.com
Campaign Web Site http://www.benformission.com
Education Bachelor of Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mathematics. Vanderbilt University. 2011.
Community/Public Service Mission Parks, Recreation, and Trees Commission, 2020-Present.
Mixed-use & density development. Johnson Drive has experienced significant transformation in recent years. With projects like The Locale raising the bar, it’s clear that mixed-use development in our “main street” areas will help Mission thrive and grow its tax base.

Improvement of parks, recreation, and trails. Many of Mission’s parks are in need of improvements and repairs. During my tenure on the Parks, Recreation, and Trees Commission, we have seen a wonderful new director & technician join the department. We are doing master planning for the city’s parks, as well as major maintenance to the community center. I aim to expand parks & rec amenities, including better trail connectivity, an outdoor dog park, and restrooms & shelters in all parks.

Infrastructure maintenance and improvements. City streets and stormwater assets are in poor condition. We must prioritize proactive maintenance, continuing the city’s recovery from decades of underfunding and deferred maintenance.
Above all, I am deeply interested in the well-being of our community and its residents. I enjoy keeping myself informed and involved in city happenings, both to help improve the community for my family & neighbors and to ensure that the place we live is welcoming to all and strongly rooted to face the challenges of the future. I dutifully attend many council & committee meetings, and so I am well prepared to continue doing so from the other side of the dais.

Aside from a passion for community, my engineering and mathematics background gives me critical tools for evaluating and understanding the projects and processes that Mission undertakes. That understanding enables me to communicate issues of importance to friends, family, and neighbors, and it will certainly aid me in keeping Ward 4 residents informed of issues that matter to them while also allowing me to be a reliable representative for their interests.
This morning, KCUR reported that Johnson County’s diversity continues to grow significantly. Mission is uniquely positioned to address a number of issues critical to diversity. Our prime location in the metro, coupled with a relatively low cost of living, gives Mission the opportunity to address issues of diversity & accessibility in housing, transit, and city & community amenities.

A core part of ensuring that Mission remains welcoming & accessible to all people will be adding housing through dense, transit-oriented development. This will enable us to keep housing costs low, build our tax base, keep mill levies in check, and reduce expensive car dependence.

Aside from development, I am a great proponent of efforts like the 2018 nondiscrimination ordinance championed by Councilmember Sollie Flora. It’s critical that we proudly and firmly tell the world that Mission is a place committed to welcoming all people and protecting groups who face discrimination and hate.
I’ve hinted at it in my other answers, but the number one factor in housing affordability is supply. Recent density development projects are exciting because they address this issue directly. And it’s even better that the city has made strides toward requiring affordable housing as part of these projects. My approach to affordable housing is therefore not surprising: continue to support and encourage density development, requiring projects to maintain a high proportion of affordable units. Additionally, bolstering transit connectivity to our neighborhoods, and especially dense multi-family housing units, will help eliminate transportation costs, further lowering the effective cost of living in Mission.
In my time living in Mission, attending council and committee meetings, I’ve seen city staff do an excellent job of keeping ahead of the curve in relation to state legislation and potential risks and changes at the state level. On that facet I find that Mission is doing a great job keeping itself engaged in state happenings. On issues where the city would benefit from state level action and “strength in numbers”, I want to continue using our legislative consultant resources to represent our interests in Topeka. Key issues including taxation, school funding, public health, and utility company fairness & accountability.

I think it’s also extremely important for city-level elected officials to form relationships with their state (and federal) counterparts. I am pleased to say that Rep. Rui Xu and Sen. Ethan Corson have both shown themselves to be extremely communicative, welcoming, and open to engaging with local leaders, and so I aim to continue developing those relationships.
Only when the incentive package is truly a “win-win”. Free giveaways that serve only to ensure the financial viability of private projects are a net loss for our community for decades. But through carefully structured incentives, we can leverage many critical benefits, such as affordable housing ratios, LEED certification, utility and right-of-way improvements, and so much more. And at the most basic level, we should only support incentive arrangements where both the developer and the city stand to benefit in terms of revenue derived from the project.
Personal Biography Born in Vietnam, adopted at the age of 1 in California. Moved to Kansas and grew up in Silver Lake, Kansas. Graduated from Washburn University and resident of Mission, Kansas since 2005. Small business owner of 15 reps.
Campaign Phone (913) 432-5852
Campaign Email rruecker@connect5000.com
Education Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and Management
Community/Public Service Usher and Emergency Response Team at Village Presbyterian. Financial contributor and volunteer at certain food pantries.
Bringing a fair and quick resolution to the Mission Gateway. Ensuring our streets and roads are fixed and functional. Creating favorable conditions so that families and businesses will want to put roots down in our city.
As a small business owner since 2010, I've never taken outside funding or debt to run my firm. I have been resourceful, flexible and creative on building and maintaining my firm. I would apply my experience as an entrepreneur to help make the city more effective and efficient and help the city be a better resource of it's resources and tax dollars
Diversity is important but I believe there are more pressing issues that the city has.

People wake up thinking about dog parks, roads, streets, buildings, etc., not how to fix diversity.
The city shouldn't take specific steps. Let the law of supply and demand regulate itself by keeping housing competitive. If prices are too high, potential will look elsewhere in the surrounding area which ensures affordable pricing.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Yes I do. But only if they are a win win for the city and the business. Long drawn out 16 year projects aren't worth it.