Races on for City Council, school board, JCCC seats
The filing deadline for positions on the Shawnee City Council, local school boards and Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees was Tuesday. Following is a recap of those seeking election to seats representing local voters.
Shawnee City Council
Ward 4 Shawnee City Councilwoman Michelle Distler saw the noon filing deadline pass without a challenger.
There will be April 2 general election races for the other three seats on the ballot this year and a Feb. 26 primary in Ward 2, where four filed.
• Ward 1: John Patrick Segale said he filed for a Ward 1 Shawnee City Council seat on Tuesday after seeing no one else had filed. Incumbent Dan Pflumm, however, filed shortly thereafter.
Pflumm has served on the council since 2002. A Shawnee native, he owns DanCo Systems Inc., which engineers and sells instrumentation and control products to major manufacturers.
Segale is a senior engagement leader for Cerner Corp. and no stranger to local government. He served as a Ward 1 Councilman from 1997 to 2004, then served on the Board of Johnson County Commissioners from 2005 to 2009. Segale has also twice run for Shawnee mayor, in 2004 and 2012. Segale said he is running again to ensure older parts of the city remain viable.
• Ward 2: Four candidates filed for the Ward 2 seat currently held by Alan Willoughby, Mayor Jeff Meyers’ uncle by marriage.
Willoughby’s July 9 appointment to his seat without public comment and after private discussions among council members prompted a pending open meetings act investigation by the district attorney. But Willoughby, a retired engineer, wants the race to focus on qualifications.
“As those who know me well will tell you, there is a lot more to who I am and what I have done than the fact that the mayor just happens to be married to my wife’s niece,” Willoughby said.
He will be opposed in the primary by Trishelle Miller, an employee of Kids TLC, which provides shelter and social services to youth facing abuse and other issues; Michael Kemmling, a Shawnee dentist who lost a Ward 2 race with Neal Sawyer by 11 votes last April; and Jill Reed, an administrative assistant for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a technical director for General Electric’s transportation division.
• Ward 3: Gordon Herron, an expert information engineer with Swiss Reinsurance, filed Tuesday against Jeff Vaught, a commercial broker and current City Council president. Herron’s wife is organizer of Political CHIPS, which stands for Conservative Heritage Institute for Principled Strength.
De Soto school board
Position 4, covering the cities of De Soto, Lenexa, Olathe, a portion of Shawnee and unincorporated areas:
• Scott Hancock of Shawnee
Hancock has three children in the De Soto school district and is the owner of Hancock & Associates Inc., selling engineer and industrial equipment.
• Calvin Hayden of De Soto
• Jeff Hopkins of De Soto
Position 5, covering the city of Shawnee:
• Dick Dearwester of Shawnee
Dearwester, director of counseling at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, was first appointed to fill the vacant Position 5 seat on the board in 2010. He then was elected in April 2011 to complete the unexpired term of that seat.
Position 6, covering the city of Shawnee and a small area of Lenexa:
• Tammy Thomas
Thomas formerly worked as a department head at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, Texas. She has served on the De Soto school board since 2009.
• Rachele Zade of Shawnee
Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees
Four at-large positions are up for election. The candidates are:
• Jerry Cook of Overland Park
Cook, who has served on the JCCC board of trustees since 2009, is a former school superintendent and is currently president of the Overland Park Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
• Lee Cross of Overland Park
Cross is a civil litigation and personal injury attorney and currently serves on the legislative committee of the Kansas Association for Justice.
• Robert Drummond of Olathe
Drummond serves as the CEO for KidsTLC in Olathe, among other community leadership roles. He has served on the board since 2009.
• Melody Rayl of Olathe
Rayl, a former Overland Park police officer, is an attorney who has served on the board since 2009.
• Stephanie Sharp of Lenexa
Sharp, who also has served on the board since 2009, is a former state representative and owns a consulting business focused on constituent communication for state and local elected officials.
• Richard Schroder of Lenexa
Shawnee Mission school board
Position 6 (at large)
• Cindy Neighbor of Shawnee
Neighbor has served on the Shawnee Mission school board for 16 years and recently ran for a seat on the Kansas State Board of Education.
• Mark Read of Overland Park
Read formerly ran a sales team with Oracle, the second largest IT company in the country and located in San Francisco. He currently serves as treasurer on the Trailwood Elementary PTA and also is treasurer on the Shawnee Mission Area Council of PTA.