Lacey Cruse for Sedgwick County

Community Development
The work of strengthening our community starts with empowering residents and families to take an active role in shaping their future. Our County leaders need to take a more active role in developing our community starting with our most vulnerable neighborhoods. To do that, we must put an end to financial connections and questionable ethics that have driven our County Commissioners in the past. Tomorrow demands we all work together to create a community that lasts for future generations.

Public Health and Mental Health
There is a definitive link between our physical health and psychological well-being; nurturing effective and efficient mental health services is vital to the overall health of our community. By creating a clear path to mental health services and working to erase the stigma attached to them, we can create an environment that prevents problems from happening. In addition to mental health services, our County leaders must understand the importance of health education campaigns such as nutrition education in our schools, physical fitness programs, disease prevention, vaccination programs, hygiene education and giving science-based solutions to problems.

Criminal Justice Reform
Building a bigger jail will not fix our issues. We need to rethink how we are treating inmates and develop systems that treat an individual at their point of need. Enhancing existing drug and alcohol programs, creating safe and supportive social environments and understanding how to self-motivate offenders is one step in the right direction. In our current county corrections model, there is a punishment mentality. We need to foster an environment of rehabilitation and encouragement for those who need it. And for the love of all things, let’s find a way to let out those non-violent offenders who don’t need to be there in the first place.

Empower Entrepreneurs and Small Business
We are a changing workforce. The next generation of leaders is not your typical 8a to 5p workers.  In our always transforming environment, we must adapt to a growing demand for flexibility and a work-life balance that enhances the quality of life. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are an indispensable asset to the workforce in our County, as they are more likely to buy products and supplies from other local businesses helping to keep money in our community, they tend more often than not to lease or buy already existing spaces cutting the need for construction and thus occupying spaces that would have remained vacant. More help, support, and resources should be available for entrepreneurs and the private small business sector, as it truly is the backbone of our community.

Protecting Our Children and Seniors
We must draw a strong line in the sand when it comes to protecting our children, seniors and other vulnerable populations access to quality services. We cannot allow aging to become a guaranteed path to poverty nor should we allow any parent to go without the necessary services to raise a healthy family. It is our duty as a county to shield vulnerable populations from becoming ostracized within our community.

Equality and Diversity
Our differences make us stronger. By promoting equality and diversity and encouraging a culture that actively values difference and recognizes that people from different backgrounds, experiences, and sexual orientations can bring valuable insights and enhance our community as a whole. Our County leaders must build an inclusive community, where diversity is valued, respected and built upon helping to create a thriving community that is reflective of all members.