District 1 race stocked with names and experience

Maybe it’s because they won’t have to raise any money. Maybe it’s because only 15 people (the District Advisory Board and City Council) will be voting. Or, maybe it’s just the most politically active district.

Whatever the case, more people filed to fill the Distinct 1 City Council vacancy than ran in any of the other districts during this spring’s elections. And with a state representative, former state representative, former Council member, a pastor and three District Advisory Board members, the District 1 roster may also include more experience and name recognition than any of the races voters saw this spring. Some in City Hall say that Rev. Lincoln Montgomery, the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, was also going to submit a petition — and probably be a top candidate. But his name wasn’t on the list by the noon deadline.

“There’s no doubt, it’s a strong bunch of people,” said Carl Brewer, who left the seat to become mayor four weeks ago.

Brewer said that he doesn’t think there is a clear front runner.

Starting tonight, the advisory board will begin interviewing candidates, then it will forward four or five names to the City Council, which will vote until a majority agrees on someone. They could also agree to reject the candidates and appoint any other District 1 resident for the position.

Eugene Anderson, 63, is a building contractor who was former Democratic state senator (1984-1991) and house representative (1972-1976). He said he wants to add jobs to the city’s economy by encouraging young people to get into the building industry and by making sure downtown arena building and concessions are locally operated.

James E. Barfield, 67, is the organizer of the Citizens for Arena Re-Vote and a host of River City Forum on KCTU Channel 5. He’s a former metropolitan Planning Committee member and also served on the city’s district 1 advisory board years ago. He wants to create more interaction between police and District 1 residents to improve community relationships and reduce crime.

Lonnie Barnes, 51, is a former Boeing engineer who is now unemployed. He has been involved in the NAACP, Urban League and Northeast Heights Neighborhood Association. He said he wants to encourage more neighborhood revitalization by increasing home ownership and making people more aware of existing city programs that help people improve their homes.

James M. Benage, 53, is a program manager at Nex-Tech Aerospace. He returned to Wichita in January after living in Hutchison, but lived in Wichita for more than 20 years. He said he wants to encourage more citizen involvement in city government to improve services and help people take advantage of what’s already available.

Treatha Brown-Foster, 61, is a District 1 Advisory Board member and is in the Northeast Millair Neighborhood Association. She said she wants to create new jobs and retain young people by improving downtown and using ideas that have proven successful in other cities.

Earl Burkhalter, 52, is the pastor of Strangers Rest Missionary Baptist Church and has worked with numerous boards that have examined policing and spiritual issues. He said he wants to improve reinvestment programs to improve District 1 and make people more aware of programs that the city already offers.

Oletha Faust-Goudeau, is a a current Democratic state House representative. She has said she would resign from the position if she is appointed to the Council seat. She wants to address people’s neighborhood problems by being more hands-on and by encouraging citizen involvement in city government.

Michael Kinard, 46, is a former Wichita School Board member and former director of the Kansas Minority Business Development Council. He said he wants to find ways to retain young people and increase efforts to reduce blight in District 1.

Steven Roberts, 47, is a District 1 Advisory Board member. We couldn’t reach him Tuesday.

George Rogers, who is 71 and retired, served eight years on the City Council before leaving in 2001 because of term limits. He said he had the experience and qualifications to deal with a variety of issues, including employment and taxes.

Lavonta Williams, 57, is a District 1 Advisory Board member. We also couldn’t reach her Tuesday. But she is on the Visioneering Wichita’s Racial Diversity, Opportunity and Harmony Strategic Alliance and a former teacher, middle school after-school program director and secretary for the local and state NAACP.