Paid for by Elect Michelle Distler
Michelle Distler, Treasurer
‘Justice for one and all’: Shawnee Mission area leaders weigh in on national movement following death of George Floyd - June 2, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
I am proud to work closely with Henry (Henry Lyons, Local Chapter NAACP). I am proud of our community and our Shawnee PD. It is unfortunate for everyone that there have been some bad seeds in this profession of authority. We need to be able to trust and have faith in our law enforcement officers to do the right thing, to be kind, to be professional. What happened was wrong and every one of our officers will tell you that because we have good people and it sickens and hurts them every time the badge is tarnished by a bad individual. My heart hurts, as I am sure your does. We must all come together and work together.
Shawnee adopts city’s first strategic vision, parks and recreation master plan - June 1, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
“To say that this is not transparent and to say we’re not working for the residents is completely inaccurate from my perspective because we have had hundreds and hundreds of people participate that want to see this move forward,” Distler said, citing resident feedback collected during more than a dozen imagineering sessions. “They’re happy and excited that Shawnee finally has a vision since 1856. We have a vision of what the residents told us they want the future of this city to be. This is a living document, and what we decide tonight does not make it final. It just lets the staff get started and let’s the residents have confidence that we’re going to get it done.”
Shawnee expects to lose nearly $500K to open Soetaert pool under COVID-19 restrictions this summer - May 28, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Michelle Distler and some councilmembers raised concerns about the loss.“I mean, we know we all love our pools; they’re one of our best amenities in the city. Everybody loves them,” Distler said. “But half a million dollars for a few weeks, that’s a loss. I know they rarely break even, but that’s pretty substantial.”
Shawnee tentatively planning to open Soetaert pool this summer under physical distancing guidelines - May 12, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Michelle Distler said she’s received many calls from residents on both sides of the issue — some believe the city is moving too soon, while others believe the city isn’t moving fast enough.
Shawnee troubleshooting bad connections, unintelligible audio that have hindered remote council meetings - April 30, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Michelle Distler said she’s raised concerns about the audio quality and hopes city staff can address it soon. With many city staff members tuning in online, the issue has become more pronounced.
JoCo mayors see moments of kindness in time of pandemic - April 15, 2020 Kansas City Star
Shawnee is a community that becomes even stronger than usual during times like this, Distler adds. “The residents have been wonderful, supporting our small businesses and the small businesses are supporting one another. Shawnee is very special and we all care for one another as one Shawnee, our Shawnee.”
'We are all in this together': Shawnee mayor issues statement on community response to COVID-19 - March 25, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
"We are all faced with challenges we have never had to tackle before, whether it's working from home on a long-term basis, losing a job, suddenly having to home school our kids or dealing with medical conditions," said Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler in a message to residents. "We all feel uncertain, frustrated, overwhelmed and concerned."
Shawnee council works to hold meeting within parameters of social distancing, 10-person limit - March 24, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
The council is in the middle of developing a process for a new council president. However, because of the COVID-19 emergency, Mayor Distler recommended appointing a council president right away.
Austin Properties files lawsuit against Shawnee over denied housing project - March 9, 2020 MVNEWS
“I want to go back to the density…we heard the comments all through the Imagineering sessions. We want restaurants. We want retail. We keep hearing we want these things, but we don’t want the density that is required to get those things.”
2020 State of the City - Awards and honors, downtown revitalization and a shared vision for the future at Shawnee Mayor's 2020 State of the City address - February 27, 2020 Shawnee MIssion Post
“We are creating a shared vision for Shawnee and it’s all coming into focus,” Distler said. “I hope you join me in that focused effort as we move forward together as a community, as one Shawnee, our Shawnee.”
2020 State of the City - Coming into Focus - February 27, 2020
We are all working together to design the image for our community now and in the future. We are creating a shared vision for Shawnee and it’s all coming into focus. I hope you join me in that focused effort as we move forward together as a community… as One Shawnee… our Shawnee.
Shawnee city leaders propose new solution for electing council president, giving mayor power to chair and vote in council committee - March 4, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
"As a matter of principle, I will not vote for or against any of my councilmembers as that causes strife and division," Distler said in an interview
The Shawnee city council needs to elect a president and vice chair. Here's what could happen at Monday's meeting - January 24, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
“I’m hoping that…the council can come to a solution that fixes this so it is not an issue every single year,” Distler said. “We definitely need to fix the process. We can’t keep doing this.”
Divide on Shawnee city council leaves president role unfilled after mayor declines to break tie - January 15, 2020 Shawnee Mission Post
“I have respect and appreciation for every single one of my councilmembers, and I do not feel that it is my role to be for or against anyone in this position,” Distler said, noting that the Shawnee city council has struggled with electing the two positions in past years. “It’s one thing to break a tie when it comes to a project or a policy. This is a decision that needs to be made by the council.”
Shawnee Listed as One of Best Cities in Kansas to Live In - June 26, 2019 Chamber of Commerce.org
According to the ChamberofCommerce.org, the City of Shawnee is the sixth best city in Kansas to live in. ChamberofCommerce.org ranked over 2,500 cities and compiled the list using a variety of factors including:
The Hottest Zip Codes of 2019 - Realtor.com
Affordability has been a key factor driving the hottest ZIP codes for the last five years. But among 2019’s new ZIPs, the trend is even more extreme. When compared to the top 10 as a whole the average median listing price for the five new ZIPs is 36 percent less expensive. They are also 32 percent less expensive than both the metro and the national median home price.
Shawnee, Kansas is No. 25 on MONEY’s Best Places to Live list - September 16, 2019 Money Magazine
Shawnee is a quaint family-friendly suburb of around 66,407 residents containing enough livelihood to keep residents entertained outside of the big city. The median home price as of 2018 was $294,883 and 70.4% of residents are homeowners. Shawnee is working to make the area more walkable for residents; the town is dedicated to updating the popular thoroughfare of 75th Street into an environmentally sustainable space that’s friendly to both pedestrians and cyclists. In historic downtown Shawnee there’s no shortage of local shops to choose from, including a vintage hardware store, a consignment furniture shop, and plenty of quirky gift stores. The only city in the state of Kansas to make the list!
This Johnson County neighborhood ranked one of the 'hottest ZIP codes' in nation - July 31, 2019 Kansas City Star
Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler often has viewed her city’s attractive homes, walkable downtown and abundant green space as a well-kept secret.“I’m actually not surprised by it at all,” Distler said. “Shawnee is known for that small town, community feel. People want to raise their families here, and we’ve always been very affordable compared to the surrounding areas.”
Shawnee hosts first 'imagineering' session to collect public input on future of city - July 16, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
“I am so excited about the turnout and the response because it’s all about public engagement,” said Mayor Michelle Distler. “That’s how we create a community for everyone, is by having everyone involved in the vision for our future.”
After residents complain, Shawnee working on better communications on Nieman roadwork - July, 12, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Michelle Distler said city staff is now working on ways to better communicate updates on the project. She offered Sawyer the opportunity to look at the city staff’s new techniques on communicating the project in the future to see if he thinks they would be effective.
Community center vote fallout, stormwater infrastructure and affordable housing: Shawnee mayoral candidates talk issues at Shawnee Mission Post forum - July 10,2019 Shawnee Mission Post
She said the city’s strategic plan will dictate how Shawnee tackles its aging stormwater infrastructure. She added that she’s excited to engage the public in the process of coming up with a vision for the city’s future. She said public safety and public works are “very important parts” of economic development for Shawnee, to ensure people want to live and work here. “We have to take care of our infrastructure. That’s just as an important part of economic development as incentives are, as everything else is.”
St. Luke's Community Hospital to open next month in Shawnee, becoming the sixth of its kind in the KC metro - May 30, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Distler thanked St. Luke’s for choosing Shawnee and offering quality care for local residents in a convenient location.
Briefly Noted: Mary Beatty of Hereford House wins first Shawnee Friendly Service Award - May 23, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Michelle Distler gave a speech thanking Beatty for her customer service that exemplifies the Shawnee spirit.
Shawnee voters soundly reject property tax increase for community center - May 21, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
“Listening to our residents is crucial. The Governing Body wanted to ensure we gave every single registered voter in Shawnee a chance to weigh in on this important issue,” said Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler in a statement issued shortly after the tally was posted. “We were able to do that through a mail-in ballot. The majority of people who voted have let us know they do not support the proposed Community Center. We appreciate everyone who took the time to vote and let their voices be heard.”
Shawnee voters reject community center tax increase - May 21, 2019 The Sentinel
“Listening to our residents is crucial,” Mayor Michelle Distler said. “The governing body wanted to ensure we gave every single registered voter in Shawnee a chance to weigh in on this important issue…The majority of people who voted have let us know they do not support the proposed community center.”
Why Thousands of People Around Kansas City are Painting Kind Words on Rocks - March 17, 2019 KCUR
Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler is a leader in her city's painted rock movement. She says that the 1,400-plus members post hints when they've hidden rocks, then enthusiasts treat it like a scavenger hunt. Distler says the hunting aspect has been great for the city.
"What I didn't expect, and was pleasantly surprised to find was, it was not only bringing people to our city just to find these rocks and visit our parks, but people that were residents of the city were posting comments like 'I didn’t even know this park existed,' or 'this boutique existed.'"
In State of the City, Shawnee Mayor highlights continued momentum of citywide accomplishments, private development - March 1, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
"Every resident and business in Shawnee deserves to build from the prosperity of this great city," Distler said. "I can assure you, as mayor, I will continue to work hard day in and day out to make sure this vision benefits you, the most important part of our community."
Shawnee recognizes couple who have brought more than 100 local children together in Kids for Peace - February 14, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
At the Shawnee council meeting Monday, Mayor Michelle Distler honored the Chalfies and their young members for their years of service to the community.
Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler seeking 2nd term in office; Former councilmember Dawn Tubbesing will challenge - January 22, 2019 Shawnee Mission Post
Distler said her decision to seek a second term was “motivated by the responsibility to carry the torch for my hometown’s founding spirit with pride and progress.” She cited a desire to continue momentum on issues she’s made a priority, including more open and transparent government operations; increased investment in public safety; infrastructure and quality-of-life improvements; and business development. Of particular importance, Distler said, will be a focus on getting more and more residents involved in city issues.
“It has been my experience that city government works best when citizens participate. I firmly believe that by working together, and with an open exchange of ideas we can accomplish a lot, and we have,” she said.
She expects such participation to be a key part of long-term planning for the city in the coming months.
“A priority in the coming months is a group visioning session with the new governing body, new city manager, new deputy and assistant city managers, and staff (which includes a lot of new department heads), and of course residents, where we will be coming together to plan Shawnee’s future,” she said. Link to full response.
A fixture at city hall for 30 years, Vicki Charlesworth retiring from Shawnee on Friday - December 11, 2018 Shawnee Mission Post
Mayor Michelle Distler echoed those sentiments, noting that Charlesworth’s “hands have been in nearly every single project at the City for the past three decades.”
Shawnee Mayor selects Shawnee Community Services for Christmas tree fund - November 15, 2018 Shawnee Mission Post
“It’s something that is near and dear to my heart as mayor, and I am proud to be a part of something that, with everyone’s help, can do so much good,” she said.
City of Shawnee gets a new councilmember - November 14, 2018 Shawnee Dispatch
“It was very exciting to see that much interest and passion for the city and with such a diverse group,” Distler told the Dispatch. “And really, the only qualification needed is passion for a great Shawnee. In all of my tenure we have never had that many people apply for an open position. I hope the candidates that were not chosen this time will stay engaged and involved in the city because there are so many ways to contribute.”
Shawnee planning director retires after 30 years - September 24, 2018 Shawnee Dispatch
During the reception, Distler told the Dispatch that Chaffee’s retirement represents a huge loss for the city, but she’s happy for his achievements. “I will miss him so much,” she said. “He’s one of my favorite people and his absence will be felt at city hall. Even before I was elected to the council, he was always so helpful and kind whenever I had questions as a resident. He was always willing to help and explain things, and he was patient about it.”
Shawnee community development director Paul Chaffee retires after 30 years - September 18, 2018 Shawnee Mission Post
Shawnee PD's new 3D laser scanner halves investigation time - September 14, 2018 SM Post
Mayor Michelle Distler approved the purchase during the Monday council meeting. “They can do in 15 minutes what it takes an hour a crew of four to do,” Distler said. “That’s not only a big deal with our normal accident investigations, but when you think of the accident investigations on the highway — when you shut down a highway like a recent accident we had for four hours — that’s a big difference than if we could have it shut down for less than an hour and get the same results. So this is huge for our city.”
New fire station in western Shawnee nears completion - September 10, 2018 Shawnee Dispatch
Mayor Michelle Distler told the Dispatch she thinks the building is coming along beautifully and she can’t wait for it to open. Distler pointed out the new station is just one of many improvements the city plans to make in public safety. “The next goal is to increase response times in the north eastern section of the city and possibly some squads for medical calls,” she said.
Shawnee City Council Names Nolan Sunderman as New City Manager -- June 26, 2018 City of Shawnee
The Governing Body included all staff and residents, allowing everyone to provide the Governing Body with input on what they were looking for in the next City Manager through surveys and a small focus group. “Thank you to everyone who provided input into this process and very important decision,” said Mayor Michelle Distler. “I believe we, as a City, made this decision together. It’s not about thinking alike, but thinking together!”
Resident at Shawnee council takes issue with city's apology for Kobach's parade 'gun' -- June 26, 2018 Kansas City Star
“It terrifies me that anybody connected with the city would consider passing a rule or a regulation or an ordinance that says you don’t have a right to show your support for the Second Amendment to the Constitution,” Nichols said. Distler called the public apology a “misstatement” and that “the city legally cannot prevent that.”
Mayor For a Day Winner Sarah Johnston 2018 -- June 21, 2018 City of Shawnee
Annual State of the City address highlights business projects, personnel changes in Shawnee - February 23, 2018 Shawnee Msn Post
At the city’s annual State of the City address, the third Distler has delivered, she highlighted a wave of ribbon cuttings and new projects that are set to revitalize some of the city’s most established pockets.
State of the City
Shawnee Mayor delivers State of the City address - February 23, 2018 Shawnee Dispatch
“We want Shawnee to be the place people choose to call home, the place businesses choose to set up shop and the place people choose to visit because of all we have to offer,” she said. “We understand that people have hundreds of choices to make every day and we are honored when Shawnee is the answer to many of those decisions.”
State of the City
Mayor honors Good Samaritan for saving Shawnee couple during December fire - January 29, 2018 Shawnee Dispatch
“If you hadn’t done what you did that night, this could have been a very different story, one that ended in tragedy,” she told him. She also emphasized the importance of fire safety. “Just as a reminder for everyone here, we urge you to check your smoke alarms and make sure they are working and if they’re not or if you don’t have any, please call the Shawnee fire department and they will give you a smoke alarm for free,” she told the audience.
Election of Matt Zimmerman as Shawnee council president moments after he was sworn in prompts questions about open meetings law, experience - January 11, 2018 Shawnee Mission Post
“I haven’t had opportune time to absorb it yet,” Distler said. “Normally, the president position — it’s who would become mayor if anything were to happen to me. It’s usually someone with more experience. I don’t know what to think. They’re also the person who heads the council committee meetings, and I don’t know how you do that without experience.”
These Shawnee Neighbors Went to Incredible Lengths For Peace and Quiet - January 10, 2018 Kansas City Star 913
“This is more than a neighborhood now,” Distler said. “They have become friends here. ... For 13 years, the residents worked with us. They came and said, ‘We have a problem and can we find a solution?’ When there were setbacks along the way, they kept the spirit alive.”
New VA medical center celebrates upcoming opening in Shawnee - December 26, 2017 Shawnee Dispatch
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler told the large crowd she was honored and excited to have the new community-based outpatient clinic open in Shawnee.
Q&A with Mayor Michelle Distler - November 22, 2017 Mill Valley News
I want to be very accessible to the public. We’re not always going to agree on everything, but it’s not about everyone thinking alike. It’s about all of us thinking together and working together to come up with the best thing for everyone.
A Q&A with Shawnee's Mayor -- October 18, 2017 Shawnee Magazine
What is the best part of being mayor? Those moments when you feel like you have made a difference with someone and you were able to do something to help them.
City of Shawnee agrees to help fund Aztec Theatre renovation -- October 2, 2017 Shawnee Dispatch
“I believe the three of you have the utmost integrity,” Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler told Calkins. “I am proud that it is Shawnee people coming together to do this. I believe every member of this council wants this theater open. I believe every resident in this city wants this theater open.”
Shawnee invests in marquee downtown attraction -- September 26, 2017 Kansas City Business Journal
Another condition, though not part of the development agreement, was demanded by Mayor Michelle Distler. Although she commended the partners for their efforts and integrity and volunteered to help them with fundraising, Distler said they needed to help clear up misinformation circulating about project, including an inaccurate claim that the $250,000 grant is actually a loan that will be paid back quickly.
Development team eyes potential at Westbrooke Village shopping site -- September 27, 2017 Shawnee DispatchFor years, as an elected official, she has constantly heard concerns from Shawnee residents who are tired of the shopping center, which they regard as an eyesore. “The current state is what’s hurting your property,” Distler said. “Going forward, we are going to take all your concerns into consideration because they’re our concerns as well.”
Preliminary location plans for fourth fire station revealed -- May 22, 2017 Shawnee Dispatch
"Response time is critical and the mission of our fire department is to save lives and preserve property," Distler told Operation 100 News. "The difference between success and failure is a matter of minutes or even seconds."
State of the City address focuses on development; potential for growth -- February 15, 2017 Shawnee Dispatch
“This has been a tremendous year and we have accomplished so much,” said Distler during her speech, which was hosted by the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce. “Today, I can only tell you a small part of all that we have done, but there is so much more I want to do. Our community has so much potential, and I want us to keep getting better every day.”
Downtown Theater Meeting Draws Dozens -- February 7, 2017 Shawnee Dispatch
Their enthusiasm and plans to bring the theater back to life touched Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler. “I couldn’t be more excited,” she said during the meeting. “I would like to see more arts come downtown. I am over the moon.”
Shawnee Woman Turns 109 Years Young -- February 7, 2017 Shawnee Dispatch
After the adoring crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” Mayor Michelle Distler presented Brown with a Certificate of Achievement. “How do you get to be 109 years young?” Distler wondered aloud to the Dispatch, with a smile. “I want to know her secret. Ruth looks absolutely beautiful and you can definitely tell she loves angel food cake.”
Holiday Spirit Lights Up Shawnee -- December 7, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
At the lighting ceremony, Distler handed out two checks. A $7,500 check was given to the Shawnee Lions Club, which plans to use the money to buy a vision screener that will be used in local schools to check hundreds of kids for possible eye conditions. A $12,000
check was given to Rebuilding Together Shawnee which will use its share to help local residents who need repairs on their homes.
Showing Sisterly Love -- November 9, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
“I have not only made new amazing friends whom I cannot wait for them to come visit Shawnee, but it is very important to have these type of international relationships, cultural understandings, and keep lines of communication open with the rest of the world,” said Distler. “I am very excited to see them all again and share some of the many things I love about Shawnee.”
Shawnee and Lenexa have people rockin' out in public places -- August 16, 2016 KC Star
The game appeals to people on many levels, Distler said. “It’s family friendly. We’ve got families painting together, hiding together, finding rocks together.”
‘Rocking’ Shawnee: Mayor, residents start citywide hide-and-seek project -- July 6, 2016 Shawnee DispatchTurn the rock over, and you should find the phrase “Shawnee KS Rocks.” The effort, started by Shawnee resident Beth Kornegay with the help of Mayor Michelle Distler, mimics similar community projects popping up around the country, in which volunteers paint rocks and hide them throughout the community in public places for other people to find and re-hide.
As odors worsen at landfill in Shawnee, residents and council sound off -- June 21, 2016 KC Star
A new round of obnoxious odors from the Johnson County Landfill has Shawnee and Lake Quivira residents and some government representatives furious with the landfill's new owner.
From recess to road work: Shawnee welcomes kid mayor -- June 20, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
While blade patching might not be the mayor’s typical duty, Mayor Michelle Distler insists the activity is an important lesson. “After I became elected, I spent time with each department of the city, which included public works,” she said. “I tagged along, cleaning storm drains and riding the street sweeper. For 10 years on the city council, everything had only come to me in the form of memos. To actually be exposed to the heat and the chiggers gave me a whole new appreciation for what our city employees go through.” That sentiment is exactly why Distler created the Mayor for a Day essay contest earlier this year. Seventh-grade curriculum in Kansas includes local government. But it’s one thing to read about the subject in a textbook, and quite another to actually see it in person, she insisted. Distler started the annual program as a way to get youth more engaged in city government.
Shawnee refuses to be a 'stinky city'; city council tables landfill special use permit -- June 17, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
A few of those complaints were even filed by Mayor Michelle Distler, who told representatives from Deffenbaugh straightforwardly, “We don’t want our city to stink.”
FedEx employees given warm thanks with cold treat -- June 11, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
“It’s employees’ hard work and customer service which keep people coming back to Shawnee for services, so they really do impact our city a lot,” Distler said. “We’re lucky we have a lot of great people working in our city.”
Winner of city's 'Mayor for a Day' contest proposes open houses, clean-up days -- April 22, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
As the winner, Paul will also get to spend part of a day with Distler to see firsthand what it is to be mayor of the city.
St. Joseph School 7th grader wins 'Mayor for a Day' contest -- April 19, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
Distler began the “Mayor for a Day” essay contest this year as a way for youth to better connect with their local government. The theme for this year’s essay was closely related, asking students to write on the topic, “How to get more people engaged with their local government.” The contest was open to all seventh grade residents in Shawnee.
Shawnee Parkway Plaza's newest tenant, Nuts and Bolts, has grand opening -- April 15, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
“We are pleased to welcome Nuts and Bolts to the community,” Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new store. “It’s an exciting time in Shawnee with all the new business growth taking place.”
Mayor's quarterly events begin this week -- March 28, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
The event will include a brief update on city news and projects. Following that, citizens will have the opportunity to ask Mayor Distler questions and express their thoughts and ideas about city issues. Quarterly Q&A is free and open to all Shawnee residents. The other three events are set for June 23, Sept. 29 and Dec. 1.
Shawnee students learn more about landfill's odor reduction measures -- March 11, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
The students also got a chance to quiz the mayor and Charlesworth about their jobs, including Distler’s favorite part of being mayor. “Doing things like this,” Distler said. “Meeting kids like you who are going to change the world.”
Holiday Inn Express celebrates grand opening in western Shawnee -- February 19, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
Mayor Michelle Distler said that the opening of the hotel is another boost for an area that needs hotel services because of its proximity to large sporting sites such as the Mid-America Sports Complex.“This area continues to be a hub of activity for our community,” Distler said.
Shawnee Mayor delivers her first State of the City address -- February 10, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
“By focusing our work on the greatest needs of our community,” Distler said, “by working together, and by always committing to make our citizens the priority, we will be able to accomplish the goals we have set.”
State of the City 2016 Speech
Watch State of the City 2016 Video
Another perspective of the Vantage at Shawnee protesters--February 8, 2016 Shawnee Dispatch
What I found interesting at the last meeting was that the mayor showed she sympathized with the residents when she had taken the time and researched every concern that had come to the council in regard to the project regarding crime, property values, pool and library usage, etc. Also, the info from SMSD as to school classroom availability.
2015: Shawnee's Year in Review -- December 29, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
After years on the City Council and after a long campaign, Michelle Distler was elected by the people of Shawnee as the first female mayor of the city.
Incredible friendship makes big impact on Shawnee this holiday season --December 23, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
“I loved him when I first saw him on TV and how he wanted to live in Shawnee, Kansas, ‘forever and ever amen,’ because of course I feel the exact same,” Distler said. To honor Everett and Marts, she invited them to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony earlier this month. Distler also presented Everett with a Good Neighbor Award, an award Distler started as giving out as mayor to exemplary Shawnee residents. She also wanted to give Marts a special gift and thought a key to the city would be perfect. “I loved experiencing the evening, and my first lighting, through his eyes,” Distler said. “His excitement is contagious. I hope I have made a lifelong friend.”
Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting, Christmas Around Town sees one of the biggest crowds ever --December 6, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Hundreds packed the Shawnee City Hall parking lot on the corner of Johnson Drive and Nieman Road to watch Mayor Michelle Distler turn on her first Christmas tree. She had help from Shawnee resident Robbie Marts, who flipped the traditional switch to turn on the tree lights.
Shawnee businesses prepare for Small Business Saturday --November 25, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Members of the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce stand with several small business owners in Shawnee and accept Mayor Michelle Distler's declaration that the Saturday after Thanksgiving be Small Business Saturday.
Local Boy Scout Troop holds Cake Bake Competition --November 25, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
This year's contest was judged by Mayor Michelle Distler, Shawnee Police Chief Rob Moser, Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox and The Shawnee Dispatch.
Evelyn VanKemseke, 87, leaves legacy of compassion and community service--November 19, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Mayor Michelle Distler had selected Shawnee Community Services as the recipient of this year’s Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund. Distler said VanKemseke was grateful for the gift this year when she broke the news to her two months ago."I chose her Shawnee Community Services because she has such a direct impact on this community," Distler said. "She was an amazing person," Distler said. "I wish more people aspired to be like her."
Shoe and clothing drive benefiting disabled veterans--November 17, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Distler is urging Shawnee to help the cause by donating their gently used goods as a way to say thank you to disabled veterans and their families. Distler said she and her family jumped at the opportunity to help and have been collecting clothes this fall to donate. "Shawnee has always been great with supporting local veterans and any way that I can serve them, I will," Distler said.
At this Shawnee coffee shop, every day is Veterans Day--November 11, 2015 Kansas City Star
He even has a contract with Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler to supply coffee at her monthly “Coffee with the Mayor” event. Distler says that almost as soon as he was open for business Thornton asked to meet with her about what was working for small businesses in Shawnee and what was not. “He is very willing to give feedback, which is what I am always looking for in an effort to make Shawnee a better place,” Distler said.
Face to Face: Good Neighbor Lindsey McDonald--November 4, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
McDonald was recently awarded the first ever Good Neighbor award by Mayor Michelle Distler. Distler said she wanted to start a Good Neighbor award program when she was elected and thought McDonald was the perfect first recipient for the award.
Retirees find volunteer opportunities through city and county --October 27, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Mayor Michelle Distler works a lot with the city’s volunteers as she herself dedicates many hours to volunteering in the city. Last year, she spent more than 400 hours volunteering. She said she has seen many volunteers find opportunities through the city to do something that they enjoy and have a passion about. “It gives them something to keep their skill set sharp and it’s something they love,” Distler said.
Shawnee, church community celebrate cooperation in volunteerism--October 27, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Mayor Michelle Distler, who was honored last year for volunteering more than 400 hours, thanked the churches involved and said the relationship is valued by the city and will hopefully continue to grow throughout the years."We couldn't do what we do as a city without all of you," Distler said.
Best Politician--The Pitch
Since then, Distler has advocated for open government. She has shown a willingness to involve the public and listen to people’s ideas.
Shawnee receives Secretary of Defense Freedom Award at Pentagon--August 24, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
“It was such an honor to receive the award on behalf of our city for all of the great things the city does to support our military employees,” Distler said. “Being in the presence of those who serve is always awe inspiring and patriotic, and I am so proud to be a citizen of this great county and mayor of this great city.”
Face to Face: Riley Rambo, guest City Councilman--July 23, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
On Monday, July 27, he will sit behind the dais of the Shawnee City Council as a guest council member representing Ward IV. He will join the other council members as part of a new program Mayor Michelle Distler is starting for 3rd through 7th graders as a way to teach Shawnee youth about city government. Distler said she hopes that the program will also spark the next generation of leaders in the community.
Community relishes communication with city government through Third Thursdays--July 22, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler sat down with about 30 people Thursday morning over coffee to discuss city government in her first Third Thursdays with the Mayor meeting.
Distler launches Third Thursdays community meetings--July 6, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Beginning next week, the city of Shawnee and Mayor Michelle Distler will launch a new program called Third Thursdays with the Mayor, which will give citizens an opportunity to engage with their city's mayor and government.
Shawnee receives national award for support of military--June 30, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
“I couldn’t be prouder of our community for receiving this distinct honor,” said Mayor Michelle Distler. “Those who serve and protect our country deserve our utmost respect. As a City, we are mindful of the tremendous sacrifices made by these brave men and women and we will always do everything we can to support them.”
Nieman Elementary teachers recall family feeling of school--June 16, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
John Meyer still recalls the annual whirlwind trips to Chicago.
City budget suggestions cause conflict on Shawnee Council--June 29, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Mayor Michelle Distler said she would agree with Jenkins in that the council should be able to give the city ideas and suggestions for improvement. "I think anyone can always offer any suggestion," Distler said. "It all goes back to us thinking together, which is good for the city."
Neighbors honored for heroism during deadly fire--May 27, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
"It's the selfless acts of these three that show the true character and bravery of our citizens," Distler said.
Shawnee celebrates National Public Works Week--May 19, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
“High-quality infrastructure is the backbone of any great city,” said Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler. “We are fortunate in Shawnee to have a dedicated team of individuals whose professionalism and hard work ensures that our roads, bridges, stormwater, and other vital systems are maintained to the highest standards.”
Michelle Distler sworn in as Shawnee's first female mayor--April 14, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
In January, Jeydan penned a letter to her future self that was placed in the city of Shawnee’s time capsule and buried on City Hall property not to be opened for half-a-century. In the letter, Jeydan wished, more than anything, that her mom would become the city’s first woman elected as mayor. Three months later, her wish has come true.
Distler becomes first woman elected as Mayor of Shawnee--April 7, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Michelle Distler is the first woman to be elected as Shawnee Mayor, and she can't believe it.
Michelle Distler will become Shawnee's new mayor, and other Johnson County election results--April 7, 2015 The Pitch
Distler ran on a plank that included promoting government transparency, something that's been largely hard to come by in Shawnee government in recent years.
Michelle Distler tops Dan Pflumm to become the new mayor of Shawnee--April 7, 2015 KCStar
Voters in Shawnee on Tuesday elected Michelle Distler as the city’s new mayor.
Mayoral candidates fighting for position, not against each other--March 29, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
"We have two people running for the seat and not against each other," Distler said at a candidate forum Thursday evening. "I wish all campaigns ran like this."
Distler, Pflumm advance in Shawnee mayoral primary--March 3, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
"I'm very humbled and appreciative to be selected by the people of Shawnee. I'd like to thank my family and my supporters for their hard work and encouragement in helping to successfully advance my message and the issues that I've long advocated for."
Primary Preview: Get to know the mayoral candidates--February 25, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Shawnee residents and business owners share a sense of community pride and a determination that the city’s vision of Good Starts Here, and making Shawnee the best city to live, work, and play is not just a slogan, but a reality.
Economic development, street maintenance lead the priorities list for Shawnee mayoral candidates--February 24, 2015 KCStar
Distler said a transparent and accountable city government would be among her top priorities. Development incentives should be looked at individually to try to meet needs of the developer without exposing the taxpayers, she said.
“I have consistently looked at every project brought before us on its own merit. …versus voting yes to everything brought before us".
Mayoral candidates square off in debate ahead on March 3 primary--February 15, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Distler said she would focus on development and redevelopment of businesses in Shawnee and said the city needs to do a better job of making government something the community wants to participate in. She said she would work to make city government more engaging with citizens to solicit more input from all areas of the city. “It’s not about thinking alike, it’s about thinking together,” Distler said.
Shawnee looks to upgrade council chambers--February 9, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Distler said that as the project moves forward, the design process needs to accommodate some of the new needs, but it also needs to be frugal. "I think we can be great without being wasteful," Distler said. "I want to show that we're efficient and up to date with technology but I want to also show that we could do that with reasonable use of the citizens' money."
Council debates vacancy appointment process -- February 4, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
Distler raised concerns about previous appointments, saying that the process has been flawed in the past because there have been times when the council seemed to agree on who the replacement would be prior to the interviews being held.
Races set for Shawnee mayor, council, with primary to be held March 3--February 2, 2015 Shawnee Dispatch
"What we do at the local level is what impacts the residents most in their day-to-day lives," Distler said.
John Segale third candidate to enter Shawnee mayoral race -- December 21, 2014 Shawnee Dispatch
As mayor, she said she would want to examine how Shawnee regulations and policies help or hinder business growth.
Shawnee nine year old donates to Locks of Love -- December 16, 2014 Shawnee Dispatch
After the Thanksgiving holiday passed, Jeydan and her family were able to go to Bella Dea Salon and Boutique in Shawnee to donate her hair.
Mayoral candidates have long histories of leadership in Shawnee -- December 8, 2014 Shawnee Dispatch
"Our city needs to be guided by its citizens and business leaders, the people who live here and invest in our success," she said. "I would like to see more citizen input to help inform important decisions, such as how the city should approach economic development."
Shawnee retail developer asking for $12 million in tax incentives--November 11, 2014 Shawnee Dispatch.
Council members Michelle Distler, Mike Kemmling and Dan Pflumm expressed concern with the scheduled date being just days before the Christmas holiday. "I don't like the fact that this is so close to Christmas," Distler said. "The purpose of a public hearing is to give the public the opportunity to be heard."
Shawnee boy honored in Rose Bowl parade--December 31, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
In August 2012, on what would have been his seventh birthday, Noah became Shawnee's youngest police officer with the help of Larimore, City Councilwoman Michelle Distler, and City Manager Carol Gonzales at a ceremony held in his honor. For his gift of life to those in need, Noah earned a Medal of Valor, putting him alongside other officers who have sacrificed in the line of duty.
Shawnee mayor breaks tie, votes uncle onto planning commission--December 10, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
Councilmembers Dan Pflumm, Mike Kemmling, Stephanie Meyer, and Michelle Distler voted against Meyers' choice.
Kendall: A kinder, gentler Shawnee public meeting?--December 4, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
More heartening was a move by incoming Councilwoman Stephanie Meyer, who recently replaced Dawn Kuhn in Ward 3, to break with the members of the council who voted for her appointment and side instead with Councilwoman Michelle Distler and Councilman Mike Kemmling in supporting an open-door policy at meetings.
Shawnee City Council appoints Meyer to Ward 3--October 31, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
That action came after a 4-3 vote blocked Coucilwoman Michelle Distler's motion to appoint Tony Lauer, a longtime council watcher and activist, to the seat.
Election recap: Negative campaigning backfired in City Council races, some say--April 10, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
The attacks ranged from Mayor Jeff Meyers’ claim that Ward 2 challenger Dr. Mike Kemmling had not been active in the community to an anonymous supporter of Ward 3 challenger Gordon Herron labeling incumbent Jeff Vaught as a “deadbeat dad” and “backroom (deal) broker” in a mailer. Councilwoman Distler, meanwhile, was critical of the mayor for a campaign letter he wrote on Willoughby’s behalf. “I’m disappointed and believe Meyers could have shown his support for Willoughby and criticisms of Kemmling without resorting to untruths,” Distler said.
Election recap: Conservatives’ gain prompts debate over partisan city politics--April 10, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
Three candidates for Shawnee City Council kept tabs on the April 2 election returns during a watch party at a local Minsky’s Pizza location. “I am there to represent the people, nothing more, nothing less,” Distler said. “I believe I have proven that over the past six years.”
Neighbor, Vaught win council leadership positions during contentious meeting--April 10, 2013 Shawnee Dispatch.
In the end, the simple matter of choosing new leadership for the Shawnee City Council was decided by the election of Ward 1 City Councilman Jim Neighbor as council president and Ward 3 Councilman Jeff Vaught as vice chairman. But getting there didn’t turn out to be a simple matter. In response to Sawyer’s accusation, Distler noted that Neighbor had approached her privately after the previous council meeting to ask her to support him for council president.
Firm owned by official's father robbed, vandalized-- April 9, 2013. Shawnee Dispatch.
Shawnee City Councilwoman Michelle Distler ran unopposed for re-election this year. But election night didn't bring smooth sailing for everyone in Distler's family.
Pflumm, Kemmling, Vaught win council races-- April 2, 2013. Shawnee Dispatch.
The two council members who voted for Kemmling in July, Pflumm and Distler, noted that he deserved the appointment because he had run for a Ward 2 seat earlier that year, losing to incumbent Neal Sawyer by only 11 votes.
How they met: Local sweethearts share stories of coming together, falling in love-- February 13, 2013. Shawnee Dispatch.
It all started in May 1992, while Michelle was juggling five part-time jobs and 15 college credit hours. Her free time was limited to one Sunday a month, she said, and on one of those Sundays, she agreed to visit some friends at an apartment complex with sand volleyball courts.
District Attorney: Shawnee officials violated spirit of open meetings act-- January 30, 2013. Shawnee Dispatch.
Ward 4 council member Michelle Distler supported Michael Kemmling in part because he had lost a Ward 2 race against Sawyer by only 11 votes last April. But Distler said during the July 9 special meeting that wasn't the only reason she voted against a motion to appoint Willoughby. Distler said she also voted no because she had been "told on (the previous) Thursday that this is who the appointment was going to be," who would make the motion and who would second it.
Willoughby files for Ward 2 seat- January 14, 2013. Shawnee Dispatch.
But that wasn't the only reason Distler voted against the motion to appoint Willoughby. Distler said she also voted no because she was "told on (the previous) Thursday that this is who the appointment was going to be," who would make the motion and who would second it.
A look back at 2012 -- December 26, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
But that wasn’t the only reason Distler voted against the motion to appoint Willoughby. Distler said she also voted no because she was “told on ( the previous) Thursday that this is who the appointment was going to be,” who would make the motion and who would second it.
Homebuilding requirement aimed at slowing floor collapse in fires -- December 13, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
Distler, however, said she had no qualms about supporting the safety measure because Shawnee’s building fees are so much lower than those charged by surrounding cities. “So even adding this, our overall cost is still lower,” she said.
Shawnee's fractious government rides a storm of criticism -- November 18, 2012. Kansas City Star
In fact, Distler said she could not support the mayor’s relative because she had been told “the decision had been predetermined,” just as it had been with Neighbor.
City officials say ‘sex club’ does not violate ordinances -- October 26, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
“To date, nothing has been done to have this business licensed and permitted. Frankly, we are very disappointed in many ways. When we told ALL of you about this, only ONE council member (Michelle Distler) even responded.”
Who’s Tony Lauer? -- September 26, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
“I believe this is exactly the type of thing that could have been found with an efficiency audit talked about years ago,” added Michelle Distler, who also represents Ward 4. “But we could never get a majority vote on the council to support it.”
City Council votes to restore detailed meeting minutes -- September 11, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
During the Aug. 21 City Council Committee meeting, Distler asked that staff look into another, less expensive option for resuming detailed minutes: hiring a stenographer to produce verbatim minutes. That option, the council learned Monday, would cost about $4,500 less a year than what the council ultimately approved: hiring someone to listen to recordings of the meeting and produce detailed minutes.
Honorary officer -- August 28, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
After attending Noah’s memorial service, the chief said, Distler told him how moved she had been to hear of the boy’s career aspirations during the service and asked if there was “any way we could make him an honorary police officer.”
Minutes issue heads to City Council with officials deadlocked -- August 23, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
Ultimately, Distler moved that the council explore keeping the audio, resuming the detailed written minutes and hiring a stenographer to keep them, which would eliminate the need for the $7,397 set-up charge and might be cheaper than paying someone to transcribe tapes of the meetings.
Open government has become contentious city issue -- August 8, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
Ward 4 council member Michelle Distler, who cast one of the “no” votes, said she did not oppose Willoughby personally. However,
Distler explained during the July 9 meeting, she was “told on (the previous) Thursday that this is who the appointment was going to be,” who would make the motion and who would second it.“I cannot be involved with this,” said Distler, who added that similar information had circulated prior to the appointment of Ward 1 City Councilman Jim Neighbor.
Ward 2 councilman appointed after contentious meeting -- July 10, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
Kemmling, owner of Capstone Dentistry in Shawnee, ran for a Ward 2 seat earlier this year, losing to Sawyer by 11 votes. And
Pflumm and Distler argued that the door-to-door campaigning Kemmling did, plus the 650 votes he garnered, made him the obvious choice to complete Morris’ unexpired term.
Council Considers Resuming Detailed Meeting Minutes -- June 19, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch
Distler and Dan Pflumm, who represents Ward 1, were the only council members who voted against the change to summary minutes when the issue was voted on Feb. 14, 2011. But during the June 11 meeting, some who voted for the change sounded amenable to restoring the detailed minutes.
Proposed Perceptive Software post-mortem prompts lively exchange -- June 12, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
Distler suggested that the City Council might want to review the city’s evaluation and then determine whether further evaluation is needed.
Streetlight contract sparks discussion about supporting Shawnee bidders --February 14, 2012. Shawnee Dispatch.
Council member Michelle Distler noted the second-lowest bid was just $833 more than Mark One’s and came from Total
Electric Contractors Inc. of Edwardsville, which is owned by a Shawnee resident. Distler read part of a letter from Total Electric, noting the company’s local ties.
Council members hear ideas for $1 million development fund -- November 16, 2011. Shawnee Dispatch.
Michelle Distler said she didn’t want to invest in bad business plans but that it could be difficult to draw the line. She said there’s no way of knowing which “guy in his garage” will succeed and which will never get out of his garage.
Shawnee council to consider swapping typed minutes for online audio --January 24, 2011. Shawnee Dispatch.
One public works and safety committee member, Michelle Distler, voted against the recommendation. She said that she did not
feel comfortable voting for the measure without answers to some detailed questions about the process, such as how long audio files would be preserved for historical archives.
City committee mulls restricting public comment, cutting back meeting minutes-- October 21, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch.
“To me, it just completely takes away the transparency of what’s going on there,” she said, adding that transcriptions are worth the cost the city pays for them. “We all have different priorities, and this is just one of my high ones.”
Council selection stokes controversy - May, 12, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch
Council member Michelle Distler cast the other vote in opposition, explaining her negative vote was related to the controversy of the situation, not her thoughts on Neighbor as a person. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t want to be associated with what happened, so I’m going to vote no on that basis,” Distler said.
Shawnee ups fire service charges to Lake Quivira -- June 30, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch.
Council member Michelle Distler requested last year that city staff take a look at Shawnee’s costs for services to Lake Quivira, and the Council discussed the issue at the June 22 Public Works & Safety Committee meeting.
Mayor: Council to discuss ‘appropriate way’ to honor firefighter at later date-- June 2, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch.
During last week’s City Council meeting, Council member Michelle Distler said she had received a request to dedicate the Fire Department’s new ladder truck to the memory of Glaser, but Distler said she thought it might be better to dedicate a permanent facility to his memory at sometime in the future so that Glaser would have a permanent memorial.
Mayor breaks tie to approve road to westside center -- April 28, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch.
“It concerns me that it’s a temporary thing for such a short amount of time,”Distler said. “I’m just trying to weigh the benefits and
Franchise fees to return April 1 -- August 26, 2009. Shawnee Dispatch.
As discussion ensued, the lines on the council became clearly drawn and would later be reflected in the vote on reinstatement of the fees: Scott, Neal Sawyer, Dawn Kuhn and Mickey Sandifer thought the fees were the best solution, while Dan Pflumm, Frank Goode, Kevin Straub and Michelle Distler thought further cuts should be made, and reinstatement of the fees should be put to a public vote.
Council paves way for reinstatement of tax on utility bills -- July 28, 2009. Shawnee Dispatch.
The motion to approve the budget tied, so Mayor Jeff Meyers cast the deciding vote in its favor. The Council members' votes were
evenly split in each city ward. Dawn Kuhn, Ward III; Mickey Sandifer, Ward IV; Neal Sawyer, Ward II; and Cheryl Scott, Ward I, voted yes; voting no where Michelle Distler, Ward IV; Frank Goode, Ward II; Dan Pflumm, Ward I; and Kevin Straub, Ward III.
Council member also donates hair to ‘Locks’ -- July 1, 2009. Shawnee Dispatch.
Donna Gray isn’t the only Shawneean who has recently supported Locks of Love. Michelle Distler, Ward IV Shawnee City Council member, also gave 12 inches of her hair to the organization June 6.
Residents question Monticello move -- August 20, 2008. Shawnee Dispatch.
"I got no response, and all the neighbors that I talked to, they got no response," he said. "And they were easy questions that I had." Shawnee City Council member Michelle Distler said she has heard the same from eight other residents.
Condemnation process for road project starts -- August 13, 2008. Shawnee Dispatch.
Council member Michelle Distler asked several questions she had heard from residents, including concerns that the city was taking more land for right of way than it actually needed.
Shawnee business remembers soldiers - July 2, 2007. Shawnee Dispatch.
But Prepress took their idea a little bit further, as owners Dan Distler and Jack Gulick were familiar with the Fields for Freedom display in Merriam last year.
Council members question balance of capital expenditures, tax increase -- August 30, 2006. Shawnee Dispatch.
Michelle Distler said she was still concerned about residents whose homes, mostly built before the road was planned
to be four lanes, were already fairly close to the road.
Letters to the Editor
Letter: Police Academy Success-- November 16, 2011. Shawnee Dispatch.
I would heartily recommend the Citizen Police Academy to everyone.
Letter: Keep Verbatim Minutes -- November 23, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch.
Thoughts regarding this had been strongly mentioned previously by Council Members Michelle Distler
Letter: Thanks for clean campaign -- April 14, 2010. Shawnee Dispatch.
I want to acknowledge and thank her for being respectful and running on her own merits and not resorting to dirty politics as those of less character tend to do.
Letter to the editor: Humanitarian action -- July 7, 2009. Shawnee Dispatch.
It is a great humanitarian and a very selfless thing that Council member Distler has done. Folks in Shawnee should be very proud of her being a leader for the City of Shawnee.
Letter: Council member seeks input -- July 22, 2008. Shawnee Dispatch.
The Council members that voted in favor of limiting travel were Dan Pflumm, Frank Goode, Michelle Distler and Kevin Straub.
Letter: Letter was on point -- April 10, 2007. Shawnee Dispatch.
I have just finished reading Michelle Distler's Letter to the Editor and must cheer her for her cogent, rational and extremely well-written letter. There was no anger, frustration or any untoward emotion expressed.