Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Mayoral Candidates Share Vision for City

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Mayoral Candidates Share Vision for City

Article excerpt

A standing room only crowd packed downtown Topeka's 91-year-old Jayhawk Theatre Wednesday evening to watch a forum featuring the five candidates for mayor.

About 230 people attended, said Jeff Carson, president of the board of directors for the theater at 720 S. Kansas Ave.

Candidates Michelle De La Isla, Spencer Duncan, Chris Schultz, Clark Trammell and Mark Weiser each wore suits as they sat beneath bright lights on a stage decorated by red, white and blue bunting.

Carson said audience members filled more than 180 chairs that were set out on the concrete floor of the theater, which is being renovated.

Wednesday's 90-minute forum came 13 days prior to the Aug. 1 primary election, in which the field of mayoral candidates will be narrowed to two. Topeka's next mayor will then be chosen in the Nov. 7 general election.


Incumbent Mayor Larry Wolgast has opted not to seek re-election to the mayor's office, which pays $40,000 a year.

Representatives from The Topeka Capital-Journal, KSNT-TV, WIBW-TV and WIBW Radio posed questions at Wednesday's forum. Eugene Williams, general manager and CEO of KTWU/PBS, was moderator.

The program began with media members taking turns asking one question to be answered by each of the five candidates. It then continued with those panel members posing individual questions to specific candidates.

In response to the first question, each candidate said they considered serving as mayor to be a full-time job. All five said they planned, if elected, to treat it as such.

"It cannot be done on a part-time basis," Trammell said.

"You cannot work 8 to 5 and still serve as the mayor of this city," Duncan said.

Weiser said he would be taking a pay cut to become a full-time mayor, but he's willing to do that.

De La Isla talked about how the mayor's position is theoretically not supposed to be full-time in the city council/manager form of government Topeka has maintained since 2005.

Still, she said, "When you take a political office, you end up embodying that position."

The five candidates also agreed that whoever Topeka chooses as its next city manager must be required to maintain a permanent residence here. …

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