Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

County Commissioner Proud of Work to Boost Quality of Life

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

County Commissioner Proud of Work to Boost Quality of Life

Article excerpt

When Shelly Buhler reflected this week on her proudest accomplishments as a Shawnee County commissioner, those that came to mind involved long-term benefits to the community.

Her first big vote was tied to major upgrades to the Bettis Family Sports Complex at Lake Shawnee that brought tournaments and revenue into the community. After several years of discussion, a public-private partnership with Waste Management made curbside recycling standard. Just last month, she celebrated completion of the new Willard Bridge, a hard-fought victory that followed years of safety concerns and pleas for funding to replace the deteriorated structure.

Through three terms as a commissioner, Buhler said, she has enjoyed "working on (constituents') behalf for things that are important to us, not just today, but in the future."

Buhler will be honored for her community service Wednesday, Sept. 20, at GO Topeka's 2017 Women of Influence Awards. The awards banquet recognizes women who have influenced decisions on issues and enhanced the quality of life in their community, as well as serving as a role model for inspiring others to change their community.

Buhler grew up in Junction City in a family that instilled in her a commitment to community. Faith, family and community were top priorities, and she looked for ways to contribute.

She graduated in 1987 from Benedictine College -- where she met her husband, Steve -- with a bachelor's degree in community services, an interdisciplinary degree combining sociology and human ecology. At the time, she said, she had no idea she would later use it as a politician.

"I think I have used a lot of what I have learned in just being a community volunteer," Buhler said. "That definitely has been helpful."

After graduating, Buhler worked as community outreach director for Community Action in Atchison County, where she worked with low-income families. She later worked as assistant director for a regional food bank. …

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