The search is over to fill the last vacant seat on the Leawood City Council.
Dr. Steven Kaster will replace Louis Rasmussen as a Ward 2 council member. The council had been seeking a replacement since June when Rasmussen stepped down after 26 years on the council. The council approved Kaster’s nomination at its Aug. 15 meeting.
Kaster will be sworn in at the Sept. 6 regular meeting.
He joins Lisa Harrison as Leawood’s other new council member. Harrison was selected to the council in June, succeeding Carrie Rezac in the Ward 3 seat. The seat had been vacant since April when Rezac resigned from the council because she was moving out of the ward.
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Rezac ran unopposed when she was reelected to the seat in 2014.
Kaster and Harrison each submitted applications for their respective seats that included a letter and resume. A nominating committee then forwarded its recommendation to the Leawood council for approval.
Both Kaster and Harrison will finish the remainder of their predecessor’s terms that expire in 2018. There are two council members for each of the four wards in Leawood that each serve four-year staggered terms.
Kaster, a Leawood resident for 21 years, earned his medical degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1989. He is a partner with Consultants In Gastroenterology, which provides diagnosis and treatment of digestive and liver diseases out of its six clinic and hospital locations in the Kansas City area. He said he doesn’t expect his work as a physician from impeding his commitment to the council.
“I felt like this was the time to move forward with a bigger role in the community,” Kaster said.
Specifically, Kaster said he want to help the city and council “as they embark on developing the stretch of empty land on 135th Street between State Line and Mission. The next year or two will be fairly pivotal. I want to make sure the development the council approves are keeping up with the high standards Leawood has had so far.”
Harrison has lived in the city for 15 years. Most recently, she served for seven years as editor-in-chief for Lifestyle Publications, which produces a monthly magazine called Leawood Lifestyle as well as editorial content in other cities nationwide.
Harrison said she pursued the council seat to be an advocate for the city. Her goals for the first six months are to learn what the council has on its plate and how the different departments work together.
“Louis Rasmussen and Karie Rezac are the two people that Dr. Kaster and I are replacing,” Harrison said. “They gave years and years of their time to the council. They are not easy shoes to fill, but I certainly hope that we will do them justice in filling their roles.”