2017 primary mayoral candidate: Chris Schultz

Topeka mayoral candidate Chris Schultz responds to a question at July 19’s mayoral candidate forum. (July 2017 file photograph/The Capital-Journal)

Why are you running for mayor?


I want the residents of Topeka to feel enough confidence in their leadership to agree to stand together, as a team, to overcome the challenging obstacles we currently face.

Through my volunteer efforts with TalkAboutTopeka.com, I have met many Topekans — homeowners and business owners — who feel marginalized by their city government. For too many, phone calls don’t get returned, emails are unanswered, and issues that need attention are left to fester. I believe our city government can do better than this. As mayor, I will do everything possible to increase the connection between our city government and our fellow Topekans.

I love the hearts and souls of the people who compose our diverse community. Our united diversity is our greatest strength. If I’m elected as mayor, I will use the elevated position to continue my positive mission of facilitating connections and conversations that will grow a brighter tomorrow for Topeka.

What do you see as being the key issues in this election? Without going into too much detail, where do you stand on them?

It’s time for leadership on responsible road repair. We need to get our notorious pothole problem under control. There must be strong communication and coordination between the city agencies, businesses and neighborhoods. Fix it right and fix it once.

It’s time for leadership on public safety. We must continue to let residents know how they can, in their own neighborhoods, support their law enforcement brothers and sisters, on the quest to make Topeka the safest capital city in the country.

It’s time for leadership for our working families. We need to continue supporting our most creative individuals and fight to retain opportunities for them to grow their families here. 40 percent of people who make over $40,000 per year in Topeka and Shawnee County, don’t reside in Topeka and Shawnee County. We needs to take more chances on Topekans, to grow a more appealing quality of life that will recruit more families and young professionals.

At a time when Topeka tied its homicide record last year and is on pace to set a new one this year, what do you suggest doing about crime?

Topeka needs a permanent police chief selected from within our community of officers. We need a leader who already loves Topeka and understands our unique law enforcement needs. We need to look within, for someone who already has the respect of the officers who will serve under them, who knows how to build morale and community interaction at the Police Department and across neighborhood lines.

As a volunteer host of the monthly Safe Streets Coalition meetings, I have personally made a commitment to use my available resources to make Topeka and Shawnee County the safest capital community in the country. I would use the platform of mayor to encourage more residents to get involved in the conversations with our law enforcement brothers and sisters, and to be more vigilant in our support of them to make our neighborhoods safer.

What’s your stance regarding city government investment in the revitalization of downtown Topeka?

Downtown Topeka is an exciting example of positive growth in our community. This is a case of all inclusive community building through private/public partnerships. Concerned Topekans came together to discuss the path we should take as a community, the city funded the infrastructure replacement, and the private sector filled in the amenities to create something that is uniquely Topeka.

This model of slow cooked team community building has proven successful in downtown, and as mayor, I would work to implement similar partnerships to address issues in other neighborhoods that are in need of support.

What do you think of the current version of the proposed 2018 city budget, for which the city’s governing body plans to hear public comments Aug. 8 and consider taking action Aug. 15?

An increasing number of outside factors are placing our most vulnerable residents in the line of fire. 13 percent of Topekans live in poverty according to the national standards. Roughly 20 percent struggle to pay their bills and keep food on their tables. The agencies that serve these individuals are facing historic challenges. We need to identify every possible efficiency to help further their missions, and we must use our currently existing communication resources to help them connect with residents.

What do you think Topeka’s city government does well?

I believe our city government has been good at building consensus among leadership. I also believe our city government has been doing a good job of laying the groundwork for successful private/public partnerships that contribute positively toward the overall quality of life in our community. It is critical that our next mayor continue to build on this legacy, while promoting a diverse team atmosphere that welcomes all residents.