Five applicants show interest in Topeka City Council Dist. 9 open seat

Five people have applied for the open Topeka city council seat representing Dist. 9, following the resignation of Mike Lesser.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:50 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Five people have applied for the open Topeka city council seat representing Dist. 9, following the resignation of Mike Lesser.

Lesser resigned on November 1. He told 13 NEWS it was not an easy decision, but said with other obligations in his life and the new city manager in place, he felt the timing was right.

Three people submitted an application to become the next Dist. 9 representative last Friday, November 18. This week, two more threw their hat in the ring before the November 21 deadline.

The five applicants are Michaela Saunders, Joe Cheray, Nicholas Trammell, Michelle Hoferer, and Janel Johnson.

Saunders is a Topeka resident with a background in communications and business. She currently works at Washburn University as their Communications Coordinator and Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In her application, Saunders said she is interested in serving Dist. 9 to address real and perceived inequity’s to improve and enhance livability for all residents.

Cheray also boasts a background in communication and said she worked with the neighborhood task force as a member of the code compliance committee. In her application, she pointed to several issues facing the city of Topeka including homelessness, crime, and blight.

In his application, Trammell listed several initiatives he would take on if chosen to represent Dist. 9. He said code enforcement is the biggest issue he’d like to help address. In his resume Trammell said he volunteered for area agencies like CASA and has a work history as a bail bond agent and a counterintelligence special agent with the U.S. Army.

Hoferer has been part of several Topeka organizations and committees, including the redistricting commission, Momentum 2022, and the River Advisory committee. In her application Hoferer said crime and infrastructure are the biggest problems facing Topeka.

The final candidate, Johnson, served on the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education until 2020. Johnson said she is a lifelong Topekan and aims to bring trust and transparency back to local government.

To read more about each candidate, visit the City of Topeka’s website.

Interviews for each candidate will happen on Tuesday, December 6 at the Topeka City Council meeting. Each councilmember and the mayor will then vote for one person and the person with a majority of votes will be elected.

The person chosen to fill the vacancy will serve the remainder of a four-year term that ends December 2025.