For Immediate Release
October 7, 2013
For Further Information Contact:
Fairway, Kansas 66205
Tel. 816.365.8724 (cell)
Commissioner Ed Peterson announced today that he will seek election to the position of chairman of Johnson County’s Board of County Commissioners.
“Johnson County faces many challenges if it is to continue to be a premier county. In recent years we have been treading water, and it is time to put the recession in the rearview mirror and move forward with the steps that will preserve our status as a county of choice for working and raising a family,” Peterson said.
Peterson noted that one of the immediate challenges facing the county is catching up with the results of recent indifference to county needs.
“During the past several years, county government stopped doing the things that made Johnson County a great place to live and work, choosing instead to settle for less. We are beginning to see the results of this stand-pat approach: We only fund one-half the maintenance for roads that is needed just to keep up. We have hundreds of acres of parkland that county residents cannot enjoy because we have not developed it. Our popular library system has had to reduce hours. We retreated from a transit plan just as it produced an increase in ridership. We have fallen further behind in overcoming the waiting list of adults with disabilities who are eligible for supportive services.”
“It is time for a new approach to leading the county. It is time to move forward,” Peterson said.
Peterson said there are parallels between the challenges faced by the Johnson County community now and the situation when he became mayor of Fairway.
“At the beginning of my first term as mayor, there were fears that urban blight would spread to the inner suburbs. Our retail center was struggling and a number of residential properties were run down. The original developmental model for the inner suburbs had run its course. We began to invest strategically in infrastructure and we modified property codes to capitalize on interest in new forms of residential development. More families moved in and the area flourished.
“Johnson County is at a comparable crossroads. The development models that served so well during the 1980s and 1990s have stalled. Further, there has been a reluctance by county leadership to lead boldly. County leaders need to step up and make appropriate investments in infrastructure, service, and amenities to spur our community’s next wave of growth.”
Peterson has served as commissioner for the county’s First District since 2003. He has been selected by his colleagues to serve as vice chairman of the board three times. Prior to election to the board, Peterson served as mayor of Fairway for nine years, and on the Fairway City Council prior to that. He served as chairman of the Johnson Wyandotte County Council of Mayors for two years. He is a recipient of the Kansas City Spirit Award and the Eco-Advocacy Award of the Sierra Club Kanza Group.
During his tenure on the commission, Peterson has concentrated his activities in the areas of environment and sustainability. Peterson serves as co-chairman of the Mid-America Regional Council’s Air Quality Forum, a technical committee that develops and implements regional plans for addressing air quality issues. During Peterson’s leadership, the region achieved compliance with ground-level ozone standards for which the Forum received the national Clean Air Excellence Award.
A believer in the need to reach across state lines, Peterson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Mid-America Regional Council, serving on the Executive Committee. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission School District Committee for Excellence and a past member of the Shawnee Mission School District Foundation Board of Directors. He is on the Board of Directors for the Johnson County Education Research Triangle Authority. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.
Peterson is an attorney. He and his wife, Laura, are the parents of two adult children and live in Fairway.
The election is in November, 2014; if a primary is necessary, it will be held in August 2014.