Letter to the editor: Joseph Shepard


Originally from San Diego, California, I decided to make Wichita my permanent home after graduating from Wichita State in 2016. Throughout my time here, I watched as friends and loved ones left Wichita to settle in a larger city they felt could support their aspirations and career goals.

Perplexed by the vast amount of brain drain our city is experiencing, I am often led to question what is it that “we” aren’t doing. While Wichita’s economy shrank, other cities surrounding us grew. We’ve heard it before: To attract and retain talent, we need to promote technical education, invest in small businesses, increase our diversity, create a city culture comparable, yet competitive with other large metropolitan cities etc.

But many tend to ignore a critical component that plays a significant role in our economic success…. Our leaders. On Nov. 6, we can send a message loud and clear: Our city and state are not only ready for, but in dire need of leadership that will break our economy out of the current stalemate.

This election season should not be about partisan politics, but rather who has what it takes to create an economy that will support every day Wichitans and Kansans for generations to come. Our allegiance, in any election, should not be to our political party but to our state and country. This requires us to dig deep, do our research, and support candidates who can turn this thing around for us. Candidates that embody what it means to be diverse, inclusive, and know how to reach across the aisle.

ZERO GROWTH for our economy in over a decade is a red flag we CANNOT ignore. You may be thinking your vote doesn’t matter this election season, but know that it is your vote that will elect leaders committed to changing the trajectory of our city and state.

What we’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time to try something new. Perhaps it’s time we allow new leaders to give it a shot.

As young people, we have more power in these elections than we’d like to give ourselves credit for. I implore you, get registered to vote by Oct. 16. Get out to polls on Nov. 6 and let’s take our potential back. Let’s show our state what happens when Millennials vote.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,

Joseph W. Shepard