PITTSBURG — With the election approaching in November, candidates for Pittsburg City Commission — including three incumbents and three newcomers seeking a position on the city’s governing board — recently weighed in on why they are running.
“I have decided to run for City Commissioner because I have always been interested in local politics and want to have a hand in the decisions being made for the city in which we live,” Chad McCubbin, one of the new candidates who is not currently on the commission, wrote in an email to the Morning Sun.
“My priorities, if elected, will be to see that we continue to progress the initiative of revitalizing our downtown, while also insuring that the rest of our city doesn’t fall to the wayside,” McCubbin added.
Larry Fields is another new contender for a spot on the commission.
“I feel fortunate to have grown up in Pittsburg and after living away for 25 years returned to where I consider home,” Fields wrote in a recent email. “I'm running for office to give back to the city I care about and do my best to help improve Pittsburg to benefit all of our citizens.”
Fields noted that his priorities include completing Block 22, getting work done on the city’s wastewater plant, and completing road work in a timely manner (“South Rouse is a poor example,” Field wrote).
He also said he would be “very cautious about taking on any new major projects that can affect every citizen and business for years to come” and make use of “more public input on projects and issues such as the recent land use effort,” which “allowed a large number of citizens to have input and ideas” on the city’s future.
“There are a lot of really great things going on in Pittsburg with expansions new business and our schools being updated and improved,” Fields wrote.
Another new candidate this year who is not currently on the commission is Cheryl Brooks.
“I have been a resident of Pittsburg all my life,” Brooks wrote in response to questions from the Morning Sun. “My husband and I have raised a family here as well as our business ties to this community. I have seen many changes over the years to this city. Just recently, the direction city leaders seem to be going has made me concerned enough to get involved. Citizens need to pay attention to the business of City Hall,” she added.
“When I am a City Commissioner, I will remember who I represent and listen carefully to their needs and issues brought to my attention,” Brooks noted. “The laws and ordinances should be followed. Our city needs to provide services for its people that reflect our needs here.”
Brooks wrote that at least one project the city is currently undertaking — its study of a possible municipalization of electricity service — is a matter of concern to her.
“One issue of extreme concern is the takeover of Westar with the cost of the study and gathering of information,” Brooks wrote. “It is my privilege and an honor to ask for the support of the citizens of Pittsburg and I have the willingness and confidence to serve the people with the best of my ability.”
Others, however, may have different views of the city’s possible takeover of supplying power from Westar. One current commissioner who is running for re-election, Sarah Chenoweth, made clear in recent comments to the Morning Sun that she wants the city to continue to look for ways to lower electricity rates, which, according to city staff, is the goal of the municipalization study.
“Electric rates for our community are not sustainable for current residents and businesses, and can make it difficult to recruit investors into the area, hindering economic development,” Chenoweth wrote. “This is a problem that needs solving.”
Chenoweth also discussed why she is running in a recent email.
“I was first elected to serve the citizens of Pittsburg on the city commission in 2017, and I still have so much more to offer!” Chenoweth wrote. “This community already has a vision of the heights to which we can all aspire; I have the ability to lead us all forward, together, towards that vision, and I have the experience of incumbency to make it work when we all get there. If we care enough to continue moving forward together, we need city commissioners who are committed to a progressive vision for our shared future.”
Chenoweth added that “Pittsburg needs to focus more on long-term, sustainable solutions for multiple issues facing our community. I will continue to use the community-guided Imagine Pittsburg (IP) 2030 plan to set priorities for improvement projects with an eye towards sustainability and making the best choices for our shared assets and spaces.”
Sustainable housing would also be a priority for Chenoweth if re-elected.
“Sustainable housing solutions start with infill development, developing land within the city, and supporting the Land Bank initiative,” she wrote. “Environmental best practices should be observed across improvement projects to ensure that our infrastructure and cityscape promote a true progressive future towards alternative energy, green space preservation, and reducing waste outputs.”
Other current commissioners running this year include Dan McNally, who was appointed last December to fill a vacant position on the commission for one year.
“As a lifelong Pittsburg resident and a Pittsburg State University graduate, it was a privilege and honor to serve in that role,” McNally wrote in a recent email. “It was a great experience and left me with a desire to do more. Pittsburg is dear to me and out of a passion to serve this community I filed as a candidate for the election in November. My decision to run is driven by a desire and commitment to preserve our rich history and promote the growth and well-being of the citizens of this community both now and for decades to come.”
McNally also discussed his priorities if elected.
“My priorities as a commissioner going forward are to promote the goals and ideas professed by the Imagine Pittsburg 2030 campaign. It is my opinion, the work done by this collaboration of community leaders has been a tremendous success and should serve roadmap to a thriving and prosperous Pittsburg for years to come. Specifically, my efforts as a commissioner center around making Pittsburg an attractive place visit, live and raise a family. I would continue to offer incentives that promote economic growth, building on the successful revitalization of the downtown and recent growth in food, retail, hotel, and industry,” McNally wrote.
“Promoting public wellness would also be a priority. Strengthening agencies that provide medical and mental health services, enhancing our parks and recreation facilities, and building an infrastructure that encourages physical activity would be at the heart of my efforts. “Additionally, strengthening our schools and expanding access to early childhood learning and childcare would be a focus of my work as Commissioner,” he added.
Lastly, Commissioner Chuck Munsell is also up for re-election this year.
“I am running for re-election to serve the citizens of Pittsburg and asking for the honor of serving once again as your city commissioner,” Munsell wrote in an email to the Morning Sun.
“It is important to look at all sides of issues that come before the city to make the best decisions that represent the citizens. I pledge to continue to do just that. Commissioners should study issues, ask questions and listen to constituents of their concerns,” Munsell wrote.
“My priorities will always be first to represent all citizens of our city. I will look to be fair, open-minded, fiscally responsible and responsive to needs of the people. We continue to focus on how best to lead this city in the future.”