‘It is time for change’: Newcomer challenges incumbent for seat on Fairway City Council

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FAIRWAY, Kan. — In the race to fill a seat on the Fairway City Council, local educator Susan Leonard is challenging incumbent David Watkins for a chance to represent the 3rd Ward. 

Ahead of the general election on Nov. 2, FOX4 is working to help voters get a better idea where candidates stand on issues impacting residents in the metro. FOX4 sent out a questionnaire to candidates in more than 50 races in Johnson County.

FOX4 did not receive a response from Watkins. Here’s a look at what Leonard had to say: 

Q: What is your top policy issue for the City of Fairway?

Leonard: I am not seeking office with a specific policy in mind, but rather because it is healthy and natural for leadership to change. It is time for change. I believe in transparency and in considering multiple perspectives and in serving the needs of my community by seeking and listening to input from all of our residents. Fairway has important upcoming development projects and ensuring that we make good and sustainable decisions that align with the values of our community is very important.

Q: What changes, if any, would you like to see in the city budget?

Leonard: I am interested in learning more about the upcoming development projects and how they will be financed, and also about how we can be sure to maintain large capital projects and maintenance. It is important to be prepared for unexpected expenses, like those that inevitably come from (more and more common) violent storms in the “city of trees” and to have a vision for the future to help us to make financially sound decisions.

Q: What is your view on the use of tax incentives for new development? What criteria would you use when determining if incentives like Tax Increment Financing (TIFs), tax abatements or the creation of a Community Improvement District (CID) should be granted to developers wanting to build within the city?

Leonard: I have spent most of my career in public education and so I am naturally opposed to any tax incentives that favor investor profit over the community’s needs. While I understand the need and allure of incentives, I believe an investment in Fairway, KS is a good one. I have not seen anything that convinces me that our community’s tax dollars need to be spent subsidizing upcoming development projects.

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