Mary Dean is eager to serve and fight for the people of Wichita's 3rd District.
In the wake of former Wichita City Councilman James Clendenin's recent resignation from the 3rd District seat, Dean recently announced plans to apply to fill the vacancy.
Dean, a long-term community volunteer, has a long history of advocating for and helping those who are at odds with employers and those who often find themselves battling with a wide range of governmental organizations for fair treatment and justice.
"I want to represent people who have no voice," Dean said. "There are people in this district who have been overlooked for far too long, especially in the Planeview area. People come out, make promises about what they're going to do. And then when they get in that position, they forget about the people."
Interested candidates must reside in District 3, which covers a large part of southeast Wichita. To be considered for the position, applicants must sercure and turn in a minimum 100 signatures from District 3 registered voters. Individuals who meet the signature requirement are interviewed by the District 3 Advisory Board. The board can forward up to five candidates for consideration by the city council, which has the final say in the selection process. The candidate chosen will serve the remainder of Clendenin's term, which expires in January 2022.
With the help of volunteers, Dean has organized a signature petition drive, slated for Sat., Jan. 9, at the Save-A-Lot parking lot, 2404 George Washington Blvd., from noon to 4 p.m At the same time, Dean and volunteers will also be available to register individuals to vote.
"I want to be the candidate they can trust," Dean said. "Everyone should be able to trust their city government. Lately, within the last few years, that hasn't been the case."
Dean noted that the district is seriously lacking in grocers.
"Instead of giving tax breaks and incentives to builders and business people, there should be some incentives for the people who live in this district — like a supermarket."
The only grocery in the core of the district had been a Save-A-Lot, a grocery chain that offered a limited selection of products. Now, worse than a limited-selection grocery, the neighborhood has no grocery, with the recent closing of Save-A-Lot.
"People are tired of the same old stuff, and they're tired of false promises,” summed up Dean. “I will be their voice. I'm not going to make any false promises that I cannot fulfill — but I will be there to fight for District 3."
In 2012, Dean previously ran unsuccessfully for the District Three Seat.
In addition to her service in the community, Dean is the author of the book "Black Legends of Kansas." The books portrays the achievements of 100 Black women who made their accomplishments when doors were closed to Black women in Kansas and around the world.
Clendenin resigned Dec. 31, on the heels of accusations about the extent of his involvement in an election campaign video aimed at discrediting then-mayoral candidate Brandon Whipple. Members of the Wichita City Council voted to censure him, and District Attorney Marc Bennet was investigating filing charges against him. Clendenin is defendant in a lawsuit filed by Mayor Whipple regarding the commercial, which falsely accused Whipple of sexually harrassing young women.