In an appropriately millennial way, on Facebook, two of Wichita’s young community leaders have announced the formation of exploratory teams to help them work towards being viable candidates in this year’s local elections.

Brock Booker is exploring the possibility of running for Wichita Mayor. Although Joseph Shepard initially announced the formation of an exploratory team, based on the positive response he received, he has moved ahead and filed as a candidate to run for an at-large seat on the USD 259 School Board.

In November 2019 local communities across the state will elect representatives to their city councils/commissions, mayors and school boards. In Wichita City government, the Mayor and three of the six city council seats are up for election and on the Wichita School Board, three of the seven board seats are up for election.

Booker, 29, says he’s been meeting on a regular basis with his team as they hash out their campaign strategy and build a base of supporters ahead of taking the actual step of filing as a candidate.

So far, two other candidates have filed for the school board’s at-large seat. One of them is incumbent Sheril Logan. Booker can count current Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, among his opponents. So far, Longwell is the only person who has filed to run as mayor.

The deadline to file as a candidate is June 3. If primaries are required to narrow the field, they will be held on Aug. 6. The general election is Nov. 5.

Booker, a Parsons native, moved to Wichita 10 years ago on a voice scholarship to Friends University. He was immediately given a position in the University’s famous Singing Quakers Choir and traveled extensively with the group.

He’s worked in retail and spent a lot of time volunteering in the community. Although he’s still working on an official platform, some of his expressed concerns were economic growth of the community, affordable and safe housing especially for low-income Wichita residents, and addressing the issue of food deserts.

Shepard, is also a Wichita transplant. As a teenager, he moved from California to Wichita when his father was assigned to pastor St. Paul AME Church. He attended Wichita State University, where he established himself as a leader, serving two years as student body president and was president of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.

A recent graduate, he is currently employed as director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life at Newman University.

In a very polished and professional online video, Shepard announced he’s running to be a champion for children and teachers and to “work with community organizations to bridge the gap for USD 259 schools.”

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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