Issues facing Sedgwick County

I love Sedgwick County and Wichita and have made ongoing service to the community a priority in my life. While I was employed with the county, I saw several opportunities for improvement, and many of those opportunities still exist.  As your County Commissioner, I will apply my experience in public service to solving the challenges we face.

Public Safety

Our community is safer when our first responders are given proper working equipment, are fully staffed, and have all the necessities and training to do their jobs. With proper leadership and oversight, we will get a better return on our investment. We all benefit from improved EMS, fire, and police response times.

Cannabis Decriminalization

We need to stop negatively impacting the lives of people for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Adopting an official county policy of confiscating and ticketing those in possession of cannabis will allow those in possession to still use student loans and prevent the incident from hurting their job prospects.

Mental Health

Our current system is underfunded, suffers from unacceptably long wait lines, and fails to treat the individual through support services. Sedgwick County and other counties, stakeholders, and mental health organizations in the region should work together to consider a regional mental health hospital that would be available for adults with or without insurance

There is a significant overlap between our criminal justice system, homelessness, and mental health issues. Addressing the root cause of the issue rather than the symptoms will free up our first responders.

Long-term solutions to address mental health issues are a must. The criminal justice system and our homeless population are jammed with people suffering from mental health issues. The current waitlists for care, and the short-term nature of services, must be addressed.

Grants to address community mental health exist but, unfortunately, we do not have a county department researching and applying for these grants.

Whistle Blower Protections

County whistleblowers should experience full protection through the county reporting systems, at all times.

I uncovered misuse of public funds while employed by the county and findings supported my report. I reported these violations anonymously, but employees are very hesitant to do this. The whistleblower program information should be easily accessible, every employee should know about it and what to report, and investigations need to be timely.

Criminal Justice Reform

We need to look at adopting a domestic violence court modeled after the overwhelmingly positive results we’ve seen with our drug court. Sedgwick County has the state’s high incidence of domestic violence, it is a crisis that must be addressed. This type of court alllowes for judges to ensure follow-through, aid victims, and hold those who commit the crimes accountable, with the assistance of justice and social service agencies

Grants Funding

A county grants department where staff research and write grant applications for project funding full-time will better everyone’s quality of life while bringing funds into the region to fund projects.

The City of Wichita is doing this at the municipal level with great success. At the county level grants have already funded secure outdoor drop boxes we use in our elections. We can’t afford to continue letting non-tax funding opportunities continue to pass us by.