Wichita City Council, School Board Candidates Turn Out For Voter Empowerment Forum

Sep 25, 2017

The Voter Empowerment Committee held a political forum on Sunday with candidates running for Wichita City Council and the USD 259 School Board.

The forum gave voters a chance to meet and hear from candidates ahead of the election in November.

USD 259 Board of Education candidates Betty Arnold, Ben Blankley, Julie Dedrick, Trish Hileman, Debra Washington, Mike Rodee, Walt Chappel, Shirley Jefferson and Ron Rosales.
Credit Hugo Phan / KMUW

In attendance were Wichita City Council District 1 candidates Brandon Johnson and Mike Kinard, District 3 candidate William Stofer and District 6 candidate Cindy Claycomb. School board District 1 candidates Betty Arnold, Ben Blankley, District 2 candidates Julie Dedrick, Trish Hileman, Debra Washington, District 5 Mike Rodee and District 6 candidates Walt Chappel, Shirley Jefferson and Ron Rosales made an appearance as well.

BOE candidates discussed their support for new Superintendent Alicia Thompson, and the disparity between the success rates among white students and students of color. Topics for Wichita City Council candidates included business experience and community revitalization.

Wichita City Council candidates James Clendenin and Sybil Strum, as well as school board candidate Peter Grant, did not to attend the forum.

Pastor Pamiline King-Burns said she was very happy with the knowledge that she heard from panelists, including their connections with city government and school board candidates' willingness to aid the new superintendent. She said it may be difficult to choose when she gets to the ballot box.

"Well, if I were to say anything, I would say that we have a very awesome panel of candidates," King-Burns said after the event. "We have experience on the panel, we have passion on the panel, we have compassion...I heard all of that."

Another political forum focusing only on school board candidates will take place on Monday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Wichita Public Library Central Branch. It's hosted by Kansas Appleseed.

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