Ian Demory, high school educator, is running for mayor on arts and education initiatives

Ian Demory, 40, teaches music and language arts at Haysville Public Schools. He said his run for mayor started after he struck a deal in April with his students. 

“If a group of them were able to pass this test I said I’d go downtown and go ahead and put my application in and official declaration,” Demory said. “Lo and behold, they all passed with a B or higher.”

The next day, Demory went down to the courthouse and signed his name on the dotted line.

“Part of this is an agreement that I had with some students was because they know how much interest I have in politics,” he said.” They always said I should run.”

He graduated from Wichita State’s School of Music in 2005 with a bachelor degree in Vocal and Instrumental Music Education. 

Learning to Campaign

Demory has never run for office. In that, he’s not alone. Many of Wichita’s mayoral candidates are new to politics. 

He said campaigning is tough. 

“The reason is, it’s hard for people to trust me and the reason I say that is I’m not one of the bigger names,” he said.

He’s also an independent. Though the election on August 6 is non-partisan, Demory said not running with party support makes him the odd man out.

Demory said he doesn’t want to be dictated by party politics.

He said that while some of the candidates may be running on a non-partisan basis, it’s obvious that those who are supporting them and those who are pushing for them hold partisan identities.

That’s where his motto, “People, not party or politics” come from, he said. 

His response to paristan doubt: “My name is Ian Demory. My name isn’t Democratic Party or Republican Party,” he said. “I’m running for the community and the people. When it comes down to it, elected officials are elected for the people not for the party.”

Does Demory think he has a chance of making it to the election after the primary?

“Everybody has a chance. I know I have a slim chance, but everybody has an opportunity to be successful at anything.

He said he wants to make people think and that despite being a long-shot he’s willing to contribute to local politics and show people that everyone deserves a chance at office.

“I owe it to myself. I owe it to my family, and I owe it to my students,” he said.

His Platform

Demory said his main platform revolves around art and education initiatives.

“I’m wanting there to be more representation all the way around,” he said. “I’d like to see it from the schools, and I’d like to see it from the community in general. I’d like to see more representation of different ethnicities and their art.”

Demory also wants to see more English as a Second Language class for adults in the area. He’s taught some of those classes, he said.

“I’ve seen the wonders that it can do,” he said. “It helps build confidence. If you’re not a native speaker, you’re not going to be comfortable speaking with someone who is.”

Also in line with his education plans, Demory said he wants to see more public libraries around Wichita, and he wants to promote more pop-up libraries in neighborhoods. 

Demory said as a performer he wants to see another performing art or an improved performing arts center that can bring some of the more prominent performers who are currently passing Wichita by and going to Tulsa or Oklahoma City. He mentioned the show Hamilton, which is coming to Kansas City this summer but not Wichita because none of the stages in the city could accommodate the needs of that performance.

He said it would bring in more tourists and keep locals here when they’re seeking entertainment. He doesn’t like watching locals leave for Kansas City or Oklahoma to see shows he feels belong here. 

Demory’s also concerned about infrastructure. He said Wichita needs to do more to take care of roads and buildings.

“In some places, we’re doing a good job, in some places we’re doing an excellent job but those places tend to be the more affluent areas of the city,” he said.

Demory wants to see continued work on sewer systems, as well as roads.

“I would love to see on the major thoroughfares some of those roads that can absorb more of the rainwater, so we have less flooding and less accidents on the road,” he said.

He also wants to see more transparency in local government. 

Demory wants voters to know that he is not someone who is going to be dictated by politics.

“We’re one big family,” he said. “I want people to be able to be happy living here. I hate seeing my colleagues leave here because they don’t feel like that.