Shawnee Dispatch

Distler becomes first woman elected as Mayor of Shawnee

Michelle Distler. Enlarge photo

April 7, 2015

— Michelle Distler is the first woman to be elected as Shawnee Mayor, and it's still sinking in.

Distler narrowly defeated her fellow city council member Dan Pflumm, earning 3,081 votes to Pflumm's 2,622, according to the county's unofficial final results.

Distler said one of the first people to call and congratulate her was Pflumm. The call represented a fitting ending to a respectful race between the two candidates.

"It's bittersweet," Distler said. "Dan Pflumm is a good guy and it's never fun to win against a friend."

Distler watched the results come in as she picked up her nine-year-old daughter Jeydan from Tae Kwon Do class. Her daughter seemed to be able to process the history made Tuesday evening better than Distler, who said she was still trying let the results sink in.

"(Jeydan) started yelling, 'Mom is the first girl mayor! You're going down in history,'" Distler said.

Distler is a lifelong Shawnee resident and was first elected to the City Council in April 2006 to represent Ward IV. She is a Founding Member of Shawnee's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a Senior Member of the Civil Air Patrol of Kansas City Composite Squadron #034, and a volunteer for the Shawnee Police and Fire Departments.

In a general election that has carried a respectful tone ever since the March primary in which Jeff Vaught and John Segale were eliminated, Distler has championed open government and economic development.

"My record already shows that I'm very responsive to constituents," Distler said in a recent mayoral debate. "I'm always going to listen to them."

Pflumm, who watched the election results with his family at Johnny's Tavern in Shawnee, said the election was not only a positive experience for the candidates, but for the city.

"I don't know if we've ever had an election like this," Pflumm said. "I'd just like to thank everyone who helped me in my campaign and everyone who went out to vote."

Distler will replace current Mayor Jeff Meyers, who has served as Mayor since 2004 but didn't seek reelection, later this month.

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