Steve Shute Announces Bid for 6th District Johnson County Commissioner

Today, former Gardner Mayor and current Council Vice-President Steve Shute officially announced his bid for the Sixth District seat on the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.

“I am running for County Commission because our current Commissioner has been acting and voting in a manner directly counter to the interests of the folks in the ‘Big Sixth’, and this needs to change,” Shute said in a statement.

“No one in southwest Johnson County, particularly in the rural areas that make up the majority of the district, wants sky-high property taxes, industrial wind and solar projects in their back yards, and large semis traveling across farm roads in front of their houses. The current Commissioner, and most of her colleagues on the County Commission, have shown through their actions that they are not interested in the quality of life of folks in our part of the county. That needs to change.”

Shute has made county finance – in particular, reining in the County’s out-of-control spending growth – a top priority of his campaign. As councilmember and Mayor in Gardner, he has led the charge to improve services while simultaneously lowering tax mills for Gardner residents. From 2013 when he began his public service on the Gardner City Council, the city’s portion of mills declined from a high of 31.13 mills to 18.70 mills in 2022 – a 40% decrease. That mill rate of 18.70 also places Gardner’s as the third lowest mill in Johnson County, behind only Overland Park (14.57 mills) and Prairie Village (18.31 mills).

“We have proven in Gardner that lowering tax burdens and improving services to our residents are not mutually exclusive,” Shute said. “I would like to bring that same spending discipline, innovative practices, and ‘out of the box’ thinking to County government.”

According to a recent Johnson County annual budget analysis, the county budget has increased 43.8% in the three years that the current Sixth District Commissioner has served on the Commission, and property taxes on County residents in real dollars during the same period have gone up an average of 20.4%, including 9.9% just in the past year. This has imposed a huge burden on southwest Johnson County’s fixed-income seniors and low- and single-income families. “They are literally being priced right out of the county,” Shute argued. “The current path of runaway spending and tax increases is unsustainable.”

In addition, Shute believes that his experience in Gardner is critical to his ability to lead at the County level. “There are other fine people running for the Sixth District seat,” Shute argued. “I will put up my years-long record as a change agent and someone who has performed as an advocate of the area over those who have not run for office before. I believe the district needs someone who has shown they can get the job done, and not just someone who says they will. Our current County Commissioner didn’t have a record either before running, and she said that she would govern as a conservative. I think that the record that she has amassed now speaks for itself.”

“I don’t think we can afford to make the same mistake twice.”

Over the next several weeks, Shute said he will be meeting with residents all over the Sixth District to get their thoughts on their government. “I want to listen to what’s on the minds of the folks in southwest Johnson County,” Shute said in closing. “It’s time that we had a Commissioner who represented the interests of their constituents again.”

Shute is proud to call the “Big Sixth” home. He resides in Gardner with Kathy, his wife of 32 years, and three of his five children.


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