‘You got to have some humility:’ Lyon runs for mayor to advocate for city

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‘You got to have some humility:’ Lyon runs for mayor to advocate for city

Amy Lyon is running for mayor of Wichita. Lyon said her leadership and work experience qualifies her to be mayor.

Amy Lyon is running for mayor of Wichita. Lyon said her leadership and work experience qualifies her to be mayor.

Courtesy of Amy Lyon

Amy Lyon is running for mayor of Wichita. Lyon said her leadership and work experience qualifies her to be mayor.

Courtesy of Amy Lyon

Courtesy of Amy Lyon

Amy Lyon is running for mayor of Wichita. Lyon said her leadership and work experience qualifies her to be mayor.

Nine candidates are running for mayor of Wichita this year, but Amy Lyon is the only woman out of all of them.

Lyon is used to that, though, as a Navy veteran and as a working professional.

Nearly two decades ago, Lyon relocated to Wichita for her job at Wolters Kluwer in California, where she worked in product management.

Lyon said she never planned to run for office, but she got involved in the mayoral race because she was frustrated with city officials “not listening” to the needs of people outside of the downtown area.

“I moved here 16, 17 years ago and I look around and we’re building here, downtown, downtown, downtown, that’s gonna be big and sexy and the rest of the city is falling apart,” Lyon said. 

People are angry. I’ve attended probably seven neighborhood association meetings so far where they sit there and they say ‘we were promised by the mayor and the city council they would not close Clapp [Golf Course] and they did.”

Lyon said there are too many “damn gaps” in the budget.

“Who’s listening to these people?” she said. “They’re distraught.”

Along with an issue in representation, Lyon thought that the city lacked transparency and hopes to bring public input into big projects around Wichita.

“I’m really unnerved by the entire city being neglected when we’re focusing on downtown and that everything has to be shrouded in a damn mystery and it doesn’t,” Lyon said.

Lyon compared the process of bringing in new developments to her experiences purchasing software in product management.

“I’ll do the initial vetting, because that’s my job … then I say to the salesperson, ‘now you have to sit in front of my staff and you’ve got to tell them why we should go with your software,” she said. “Because I can’t possibly know everything. So my gut says they’re going to ask a lot of good questions that maybe I didn’t think about.”

A willingness to listen is essential as mayor, Lyon said.

“You’ve got to have some humility, you gotta be humble.”

Lyon thinks her experience in product management will help her out in the long run as mayor. 

“Product management is basically where you meet with all your clients and you build and develop a three-to-five-year road map of what that software is going to look like,” Lyon said, “and then you do all the checks and balances along the way and you constantly get customer input and everything, which is exactly what I want to do for the city.”

Lyon has also repeatedly emphasized her experience in managing multi-million dollar budgets and leadership as qualifying her to be mayor of the city.

“I had to deal with vendors all the time,” Lyon said. “In our support center, if we needed a new piece of software to help us do our work, like Podios for example, I had to negotiate those contracts … so, I think you have to know how to successfully negotiate. You have to really know how to tear a budget apart and find money when you can’t or when you need it.” 

Aside from her work, Lyon also volunteers with multiple organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, and serves on the YMCA board for child care and camp, according to a video from the Wichita Eagle.

She’s also passionate about voting rights and criminal justice reform and volunteers with the ACLU.