By Eileen Weir
candidate for the Independence City Council, 4th District
Every week for seven years my column, “Town and Gown,” ran in The Examiner as I covered local civic and charitable events. I cannot imagine anything that could have taught me more about the Independence community or prepared me better for public service than writing that column.
Carrying on the tradition established by Sue Gentry and sustained by Roberta “Poo” Coker allowed me to step more deeply into the Independence culture, forge friendships, understand the needs and challenges of our community and appreciate the countless people, many who go uncelebrated, who accomplish feats large and small for the benefit of Independence.
I learned how to listen and how to be inquisitive. It was my duty to ask the questions that my readers would ask and communicate relevant facts clearly and objectively. I approach public service with the same convictions. I believe it is the responsibility of elected officials to listen to taxpayers and seek input on issues that impact them and to ask the questions on the minds of the citizens.
During my campaign I have talked to hundreds of residents and heard their concerns and vision for southwestern Independence. Frequently, voters have expressed a desire for an open dialogue with decision makers at City Hall. People want a chance to voice their opinions, suggestions and troubles and want leaders who are responsive to their needs. I share this desire, which is why in 2005 I founded Progress Independence, a non-profit organization that encourages engaged citizenship and open communication between taxpayers and elected and appointed officials.
Maintaining strong neighborhoods is a key concern citywide. Some of Independence’s most beautiful and established neighborhoods are in the 4th District, and preserving this investment is a top priority. I enthusiastically contributed my time, money and professional skills to the successful school district boundary change effort because I, too, was concerned that the reputable neighborhoods of western Independence would continue to suffer as long as they were in the Kansas City School District.
I believed that property value, safety and homeownership would be positively impacted by providing the reliable, quality education that the Independence School District provides. The effect of that momentous change created immediate change and will continue to reap benefits for the 4th District for generations to come.
Rockwood Golf Club has periodically been considered for redevelopment, which raises concern among nearby homeowners. I support my neighbors in opposing any efforts to build subsidized multi-family housing on this site and join their effort to preserve the limited green space that currently exists in the 4th District, including Rockwood Golf Club.
Few places offer regular people the opportunity to positively impact their community like Independence does. I am fortunate that I have been able to partner with fellow citizens to set and achieve goals for our city, and I look forward to bringing my experience and knowledge to the City Council.