- Challenger State Representative Brandon Whipple received endorsement for mayor from the Fraternal Order of Police
- Both law enforcement and firefighters have been vocal about poor funding during Jeff Longwell’s time as a mayor
- Whipple has also received endorsements from workers unions due to his work in the Kansas Legislature for workers
In Wichita, Kansas, current Mayor Jeff Longwell received a blow to his campaign for reelection after the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed his challenger State Representative Brandon Whipple.
Supporting The Challenger Should Speak Volumes
The FOP represents more than 90% of officers and support staff of the Wichita Police Department. This endorsement sends an extremely clear message of some internal issues that exist between law enforcement and Longwell.
Robert Schmeidler, FOP president, echoed that message in a statement regarding the endorsement. “The fact the FOP Wichita Lodge 5, representing the rank and file officers of Wichita, supports the challenger should speak volumes,” Schmeidler said in the statement.
Our membership supports Rep. Whipple’s plan to prioritize public safety. When elected mayor, Rep. Whipple will provide the necessary funding to reduce response time, and emphasize recruitment and retention of highly-trained officers. We trust Brandon to protect Wichita families.
The fact the FOP Wichita Lodge 5, representing the rank and file officers of Wichita, supports the challenger should speak volumes. Wichita deserves a leader who can implement proper staffing levels for public safety and in timely manner.Robert Schmeidler Fraternal Order of Police President
“I’m so grateful for the support of the men and women of the Wichita Police Department,” Whipple said in response to the endorsement. Whipple went on to say, “I look forward to working with them to strengthen community policing, ensure all Wichita neighborhoods are safe, and build greater trust with the public.”
A growing List Of Endorsements
In August the Laborers’ Union Local No. 1290 and Kansas AFL-CIO endorsed Whipple as the next mayor of Wichita. Growing up, Whipple’s father was a Union carpenter which appears to have instilled values that he carried with him while working in the Kansas Legislature. Mike Kane, Director of Political Affairs for Laborers’ 1290, said after working with Whipple as a legislator he believed he will be a “tremendous advocate for the working families as the next Mayor of Wichita.”
We have worked with Brandon as a legislator, and we know his character and integrity. He’s always been a tremendous advocate for working families in the Kansas Legislature, and we know that Brandon will be a tremendous advocate for working families as the next Mayor of Wichita.Mike Kane Director of Political Affairs Laborers’ Union Local No. 1290
Mother Jones Award
In the Kansas Legislature, as the leading Democrat on the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, Whipple worked to ensure workers were treated fairly. Earlier in the month Whipple received the “Mother Jones” Award from the Wichita Hutchinson Labor Federation. The Mother Jones Award recognizes legislators who have fought for workers’ rights. State Representative Ponka-We Victors received the Mother Jones Award along with Whipple.
A History Of Funding Issues With Longwell
Schmeidler has addressed funding and other issues with city leadership in the past. In August of last year, Schmeidler spoke out after the city budget was approved. The budget allowed for 32 employees to be added to the Wichita Police Department but Schmeidler said that number needed to be tripled.
“Right now in the downtown area, especially where new apartments are, there are two officers per shift, that’s four shifts per day, that cover the whole downtown area and you’re talking about an area that has increased 10 or 15 thousand in its population,” said Schmeidler. Schmeidler has stated the WPD needs to open a downtown bureau to keep up with the growth of the area and violent crimes.