Insurance executive Mike Lesser announces candidacy for city council in west Topeka’s District 9

City Councilman Richard Harmon announced Friday he won’t run again

Mike Lesser, a 47-year-old Topeka insurance executive, has filed as a candidate to fill Richard Harmon’s City Council spot. (Submitted)

Hours after Topeka Councilman Richard Harmon said Friday he wouldn’t seek re-election to that post, a 47-year-old Topeka insurance executive filed as a candidate to fill Harmon’s place.


In an interview, Mike Lesser, 4417 S.W. New Forest Court, said issues he is focusing on include the city’s infrastructure, bringing new companies to Topeka and continuing redevelopment downtown.

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“I share everybody’s concern about our roads,” Lesser said of the pavement condition.

Lesser said he wanted to continue to bring new businesses and employees to Topeka. Lesser said he is excited about redevelopment of the downtown area. He said he wants to be part of the city’s leadership.

“I’m a lifelong Topekan,” Lesser said. “This is home. This is why I chose to have my business here. I want to leave it better than when I got here.”

District 9 runs roughly from S.W. 6th to S.W. 21st Street and from S.W. Gage to S.W. Urish Road.

Lesser was born in West Virginia but grew up in Topeka. He graduated from Seaman High School in 1988, then graduated from Washburn University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

In the summer of 1993, he interned for U.S. Sen. Robert Dole, R-Kan.

He joined the People Insurance Group in 2001 and was a partner with Ron Lutz until he bought Lutz’s share of the company three years ago. Lesser is president of the insurance company, which is a locally owned, independent insurance firm.

Lesser filed to fill Harmon’s position about 11 a.m. Friday after he learned Harmon wouldn’t seek re-election.

This is the second elected position that Lesser has sought. Lesser was elected to two four-year terms on the Seaman school board but resigned that post about two years into the second term when he moved out of the district.

Lesser and his wife, Erin, have two sons, Dylan, 16, and Parker, 14, and a daughter, Ashley, 18. A stepdaughter, Lauren, 16, died four years ago.

Contact reporter Steve Fry at (785) 295-1206 or @TCJCourtsNCrime on Twitter.

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