Former council member runs for mayor
After taking a break of about 10 years from city government, Mike Vestal believes it's time for a return engagement.
So Vestal filed last week to run against incumbent Mayor Dave Taylor.
"I just believe we need a change in leadership," said Vestal, who was a city council member from 1989 to 1997. The last four years of his term, he was council president.
"I have experience, and I have a knowledge of the way the city works. I'm a lifetime resident. I'm interested in the city and the way it's going."
But the 55-year-old lifelong Tonganoxie resident says he has no agenda.
"I'm not going in with an ax to grind," he said. "I don't have any issues that I want to address right away. I've kept up on all the issues that are going on, with sidewalks, with our water situation with BPU. I'm knowledgeable. City government has always interested me. I want to try to make a difference, and I want to bring professionalism back to the job of mayor. I want to work well with the council. I want them to work as a team. I want to be a more professional council and mayor."
The Tonganoxie High School graduate works for his wife's home-based company, Eleanor Vestal Answering Service, which has a contract with the city for police and fire dispatch and answering services. He has a daughter, Katie Underwood, and two stepchildren, Debbie Pratt and David Seuser.
He said he's not opposed to the city spending money on the upgrade of County Road 1, but he has questions.
"I want to make sure we have our ducks in a row," Vestal said. "We're going to have to have city services out there. Do we have enough infrastructure to support what may be going out there? We're going to have to provide services eventually. Do we have enough water through BPU."
These -- and many other questions -- must be answered before the city commits funds to upgrading the county road, Vestal said.
He's interested in infrastructure projects within the existing city limits.
Vestal is careful to say he won't make any promises during his campaign for mayor.
"One person cannot promise anything," he said. "It has to be done as a team. ... I think a lot of people have lost faith and trust in our city government and I want to bring that faith and trust back."