Topeka City Councilman Richard Harmon won’t run for re-election

Topeka City Councilman Richard Harmon, center, speaks during a committee meeting. (File photo/The Capital-Journal)

After a dozen years on the Topeka City Council, Richard Harmon is done.

 

In an email to reporters, the 60-year-old announced he will not seek re-election to west Topeka’s District 9 seat on the council, which he has held since 2005.

“The principles of good government, and the values of participatory democracy, are furthered by a change in office after a moderate length of time,” he said. “For those reasons, I have decided not to seek re-election to the City Council.”

Mike Lesser, 47, of 4417 S.W. New Forest Court, became the first candidate to file to run in District 9 on Friday at the Shawnee County Election Office, where he paid a $20 local filing fee and $50 state registration fee. Lesser is president of Peoples Insurance Group, LLC, in Topeka.

The deadline to run for seats on the city’s governing body is noon on June 1.

“I will always be grateful and appreciative of the trust reposed in me by the voters of the 9th District,” Harmon said Friday.

Harmon sought unsuccessfully to win appointment to the District 9 seat when it was vacated in 2004 by the resignation of then-Councilman Gary Price. Harmon won election to that seat in 2005 over incumbent Tiffany Muller. He won re-election in 2009 and 2013.

Harmon is tied with District 3 Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz, who also took office in 2005, as the longest-tenured current member of the council. Ortiz hasn’t announced if she’ll seek re-election.

Harmon has been a practicing attorney for 34 years in Topeka, the last 17 as a sole practitioner. He practices in the areas of estate planning (wills and trusts), probate, estate and trust administration, and elder law.

The city will hold primary elections Aug. 1 and general elections Nov. 7 for the mayor’s office and seats in Topeka City Council districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9.

A list of candidates who have filed to run can be found on the website of the Shawnee County Election Office.

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