Daily Archives: April 10, 2007

From District 84 to District 1? She might try

Add State Rep. Oletha Faust-Goudeau to the list of people who might take a shot at filling the District 1 City Council seat that Carl Brewer gave up yesterday. The third-term Democrat said she is seriously considering the position and has a petition that she’ll need 100 people to sign in order to be eligible. (See rules here.) But, she tells The Hall Monitor, she’s not yet certain. If she did run, she says she would step down from her District 84 House seat, leaving it up to the precinct committee to appoint someone to complete her term in the Legislature.

So why consider giving up one seat for another? Faust-Goudeau says when she’s talking to her constituents in District 84 (See District map PDF), they’re often looking for quick fixes to their problems — be it repairing sidewalks or eliminating blight. And in her district, which contains “Beat 44” the area widely known as having some of the worst crime and blight in the city, she feels she could have more immediate impact on people’s problems than as a lawmaker in Topeka. “I am a more hands-on type of person, and I interact with people on a regular basis,” she said. But she said she doesn’t want the race to fill Brewer’s spot to get messy. There are a lot of qualified candidates, she said, noting some of those those mentioned in previous posts. “I’m certainly not trying to create any friction,” she said. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

The race begins next Tuesday when the vacancy is officially announced during the Council meeting. “By the last day, we’ll probably get 101 names thrown in the hat,” Faust-Goudeau said.

Black men examined, local examples shine

While many organizations in the nation are examining the state of black men in America, Wichita has several examples of black men succeeding in the highest levels of government.

Carl Brewer was sworn in today as mayor at the Wichita City Council meeting. He adds to the diversity of local government officials. African-Americans are serving as city manager, assistant city manager, city spokesman, chief of police, assistant county manager and director of the city’s visitors and tourism department.

It’s a line-up that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The swearing-in comes days before the National Urban League plans to release its State of Black America report, which will focus on the status of black men in America. Sen. and presidential hopeful Barack Obama even wrote the forward to the report, which is set to be released April 17.

“Although many black men are doing well, glaring gaps continue to exist between black men and their white counterparts,” a press release for the report reads. “These gaps are caused and aggravated, in large measure, by the underperformance of a disproportionate number of black men in a variety of areas and for a variety of reasons.”