Nine candidates are competing for the position of Wichita Mayor, a full-time position that is responsible for leading City Council meetings, helping to approve Wichita policies and laws, setting the City’s budget and tax rates, and appointing people to serve on city boards and commissions.  Pay for the position is approx $115,000 per year.  

Voting in the August 1 primary will narrow the field down to the top two candidates to compete in the November general election.  Due to space limitations, we’ve focused on who we feel are front running candidates. Who is a front runner in this race is difficult to judge, because what matters most in local races is who can motivate the most people to show up and vote. With fairly low voter turnout expected, showing up in support of your favorite candidate matters a lot.  

Brandon Whipple, 41, Career: City Mayor, former member of Kansas House Party: Democrat, Website:

Important to give citizens a voice in government.  He wants to empower individuals, visit with them to find out what they want.  

Addressing violence, youth violence and domestic violence

Address mental health, substance abuse and homelessness 

Says he successfully managed Wichita through the pandemic to great economic growth and historic low unemployment. 

Wants to improve Wichita’s transit system 

Lead vote to decriminalize marijuana in Wichita.  

Bryan Frye, 57, Career: current city council member, Party: Republican, Website: 

Supports investing in and supporting Wichita police as a way to make Wichita safer.  Wants to fill vacancies, which he says is leading to low morale and exhausted employees.  He wants more pay for cops. 

Will hold the line on property taxes.

Important to take care of the City’s infrastructure before addressing the “wants.”  Will focus on street repair and maintenance.

Says he’s the only candidate with leadership skills in business, non-profits, government and entrepreneurship.  

He was the only city council member who voted to keep the city’s marjuana laws on the books. 

Celeste Racette, 67, Career: retired fraud investigator and bank examiner, Party: Unaffiliated, Website:

Says she will be a watchdog for taxpayers, using her strong fiscal management skills.  She will review city finances and cut wasteful spending. Attract news businesses to Wichita without unnecessary handouts 

Implement an inclusive self-contained campus for the city’s growing homeless community similar to San Antonio.  Would have inclusive wrap-around services including mental health support.  

Important to attract businesses the city must be safe, have adequate child care, after school programs, and amenities like pools, parks and recreation centers.  

Would not move to put marijuana cases back into city courts.  

Lily Wu, 38, Career: former reporter at KWCH and KAKE TV, Party: Libertarian, Website,

Prioritizes fully staffing Wichita police, first responders and city services.  Says it is important to bolster police and fire recruiting and retention.  

It is important to support businesses to help generate high paying jobs.  

Sees being a political outsider as a benefit.  Says she will put results over politics.  

Opposes increasing Wichita taxes 

Would not move to put marijuana cases back into city courts.

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...