There’s no getting around the fact that we’re disappointed with the results of the sales tax election on November 4 in Wichita. I believe we missed an opportunity to move Wichita forward.
But the sun did come up on November 5 and there is still a need to make a difference in our hometown. We still need to accelerate our community’s competitiveness and we appreciate how the process has raised awareness about jobs and economic development.
In addition, this community should continue to address water, transit and street repairs. Addressing these community needs will take positive ideas from all citizens and we encourage you to continue sharing your ideas with members of the City Council.
Now is not the time to stop discussing solutions to the challenges that face us. The community belongs to all of us and sales tax proponents and opponents must be included in the ongoing conversation surrounding these challenges.
One of the many positive byproducts of the recent campaign was the number of diverse groups that came together to form a broad coalition for community advancement. We need to ensure the coalition and additional partners continue to work together to improve our community.
As for the Chamber and Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, we still have a job to do in growing our economy. We have an outstanding staff at GWEDC and we’re proud of the work they’ve done the past 11 years to retain or create more than 20,000 jobs in our region. That team, working closely with local government and other partners, will continue to help existing and new companies create jobs. We will also work with Wichita State University and other partners, through the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth, to identify opportunities to diversify our regional economy.
I want to thank our elected officials for giving the opportunity to vote on this issue. I also applaud the Chamber Board of Directors and Leadership Council for their courage in leading a community discussion of the issues we face and the options for resolving them.
The Yes Wichita campaign did a tremendous job of running a civil campaign with honor and integrity that was full of positive energy and effort. We want to commend the campaign leadership and all of the volunteers who worked so hard on moving the community forward. We appreciate the passion and funds they contributed to this important cause.
Let’s all continue this important work!