My name is Steve Shute, current Gardner City Council President, and I’m running to be your Mayor.
As I’m knocking on doors talking to people, I’m frequently asked, “Why are you running?” The answer is simple. For far too long, this community has been divided – within our city, between our city and surrounding entities, and regarding our future. In short, our city is a fast-growing community, but we haven’t figured out what we are growing up to be – and, worse yet, we haven’t been able to agree on what we can agree on to get there.
That’s precisely why my campaign slogan is, “United We Rise.” It’s more than just a catchphrase to me; it guides my entire philosophy of the role of government. I believe that government works much better as facilitator than as dictator. People say that the machinery of government is slow, and for the most part, I concur. However, I believe it’s not because government itself is slow. As the space race showed in the 1960’s, when synergy is created between elected leaders, staff, and citizens around a common vision, things can happen with breathtaking speed. But we must be willing to place our differences on the back burner and focus on what we can all agree on to make this happen.
So, what CAN we all agree on? I have focused my campaign all along on five priorities:
• ANNEXATION: We need to annex land – not only for future development, but also to protect the integrity of our city’s borders.
• TRANSPORTATION: Our gateway interchanges need to be fixed, and a new interchange added at I-35 & Moonlight Road.
• INNOVATION: Attracting an anchor manufacturer or corporate headquarters to our town must be a priority, and we cannot be left on the other side of the high-speed Internet divide.
•COLLABORATION: Our outside entities and partners (school district, fire district, surrounding cities) need to be seen as partners, not as outsiders.
• DETERMINATION: We must unite on our strengths – and move with bold resolve to make our shared vision for the future a reality.
However, we must have someone in the Mayor’s seat who is trusted, who will move boldly, and will have the strategic vision needed to guide our community from here to that bright future. That, more than any other reason, is why I am running for Mayor.
Gardner is one of the fastest growing cities in Kansas, and we will continue to grow whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Our population is growing by nearly 1,000 citizens annually. The only question now is whether we will choose be in charge of our own destiny, or whether we will cede that to surrounding communities, as we have with the Intermodal.
History favors the prepared, and the bold. We now have a plan; it is up to all of us to see it through. With your support on November 7th, I will bring my strengths as a visionary leader to the table to help make it happen.