Keeping Overland Park on top is a main priority for most of the candidates running for City Council in the general election April 7.
For the Ward Three open council seat, incumbent David White faces Jesse Gibson, who did not respond to The Star’s inquiries.
For the open Ward Six seat, Rick Collins is facing off against Doug Pearson.
In Ward Three, White is hoping to be re-elected so he can continue serving the city he loves and maintaining its quality of life.
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If he’s given the chance to serve for another term, he plans to help Overland Park maintain its level of services while adhering to fiscal responsibility. He also thinks emphasis needs to be placed on the city’s aging infrastructure and making sure redevelopment is compatible with existing neighborhoods.
White believes Overland Park needs to increase its role as a major player in the Kansas City metro area. He said coordination of efforts with cities in both Kansas and Missouri needs to continue to improve. He also thinks the city needs to step up to lead on regional issues, when appropriate, but always have a major seat at the table when those issues are discussed.
“Over the next four years, Overland Park will face many challenges in the areas of redevelopment, tax policy and the effects of the urbanization of the northern part of our city,” White said. “To face these challenges, the city needs leaders who have the knowledge of the intricacies of those issues.”
In Ward Six, incumbent Collins is vying to retain his seat against Pearson, a private investigator.
Collins, who recently retired as manager of operations for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, hopes to be re-elected so he can continue helping to make Overland Park a better place.
He thinks the biggest issues facing the city are maintaining and improving the road system, funding the park master plan, which the city approved in 2013, and managing the city’s growth, while still improving the mature neighborhoods throughout the city.
“My six years of service on the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, ten years on the Overland Park Planning Commission and four years on the Overland Park City Council have provided me with the experience that can move the city forward,” Collins said. “In addition, I have held executive positions in the private sector from which I have gained invaluable knowledge of how to implement and manage a budget. I believe that my public and civic service and business experience demonstrate my commitment to Overland Park.”
Pearson, who currently serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee for Overland Park Parks and Recreation, wants his chance to make a difference for the city he loves.
On his website, Pearson states that if elected, he wants to help assure local control with limited federal intervention for the city, community and educational systems. He plans to offer creative budget solutions and provide realistic transportation solutions for neighborhoods and highways. He also thinks it is important to continue providing support for local education systems and come up with creative tax incentives and grants for entrepreneurs and businesses.
Pearson’s main concerns would be to help Overland Park stay well ahead of technological trends, establish effective and timely decision-making and provide innovative methods to increase and assure growth, while working to reduce the tax burden to residents, he said.
Education: Juris doctorate, UMKC; master’s in history, Kansas State University; bachelor’s in history, Pittsburg State University
Elected experience: Overland Park City Council, 2005 to present
Education: Bachelor’s in economics and political science, UMKC; juris doctorate, UMKC
Elected experience: Overland Park City Council, 2011 to present
Education: Bachelor’s in human development and the family, University of Nebraska
Occupation: Private investigator; high school tennis coach at Blue Valley Southwest
Elected experience: None