Lily Wu – Wichita Mayoral Candidate

Lily Wu – Wichita Mayoral Candidate

Lily Wu for Wichita

by KSN | Source & Video: https://www.ksn.com/

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN News sent a questionnaire to each Wichita candidate facing a challenger in the August primary election. We have not made any edits to the candidate’s answers.


Biographical Information:

Lily’s heritage is Chinese, she was born in Guatemala, but she was made in Wichita. After arriving in Wichita as an 8-year-old immigrant who only spoke Spanish and Chinese, Lily has grown into a leader, life-long learner, and listener for our community.

She’s a 30-year Wichita resident, 20-year community volunteer and leader, and 12-year local television reporter for KWCH and KAKE. As a teenager and student at Wichita East High’s International Baccalaureate program, she also interned at KSN.

Lily attended Wichita State University, where she earned the distinction of Summa Cum Laude, graduating with two degrees in international business and integrated marketing communication. While serving as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Lily also earned a masters in journalism from the University of Hong Kong.

Lily has been recognized for her community service and leadership as the 2022 Rising Star in TV by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, 2020 Exceptional Young Leader by the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, 2015 Leader in Diversity by the Wichita Business Journal.

Lily is the proud daughter of two working class parents, a father who’s a cook in south Wichita and a mother who’s a hairstylist in west Wichita. She is not married and loves her [dog] daughter.


Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

Facebook: Lily Wu for Mayor
Instagram: @LilyWuForMayor

What specific Wichita issue deserves your immediate attention, and how do you plan to address it?

My top priority is the health and safety of our community. With nearly 100 vacant police officer positions, we must ensure law enforcement, first responders, and city services are fully staffed so they can connect with the community and serve more effectively. 

As mayor, I’ll restore the relationship between the mayor’s office and Wichita Police Department, bolster our public safety departments’ recruitment and retention efforts, and ensure they have the respect and resources necessary to keep Wichita families safe.


How do you propose to grow the Wichita economy and create jobs?

I want Wichita to be a safe and welcoming community that helps attract and grow businesses. Strengthening our economy starts with ensuring we’re supporting our existing small and large businesses, creating a future-ready workforce, and emphasizing high-paying jobs. Progress will require greater collaboration between government, industry, and education, and a supportive partnership with economic development initiatives such as the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Wichita Partnership, Wichita Independent Business Association, as well as state government.

These Wichitans Want to be Your Mayor. Read What They Have to Say

These Wichitans Want to be Your Mayor. Read What They Have to Say

Lily Wu for Wichita Mayor

by The Active Age | Source: https://theactiveage.com/


Four Wichitans have emerged as leading candidates to become the city’s next mayor. In the Aug. 1 primary, incumbent Mayor Brandon Whipple will be challenged by Bryan Frye, Celeste Racette and Lily Wu. Unless one receives a majority, the top two vote-getters will face off in the November general election. 

Whipple is a former state representative and college instructor who has served one term as mayor. Frye is a businessman and two-term City Council member representing northwest Wichita. Racette is a former bank examiner and founder of the Save Century II organization. Wu is a former television broadcaster who’s active on several local boards.

The Active Age asked each candidate these questions:

1. As mayor, what would be your top three priorities for Wichita?

2. Do you have any proposed initiatives or policies specifically intended to benefit residents 60 and older?

3.The city currently cedes responsibility for most senior-related services and spending to Sedgwick County. Are you satisfied with this arrangement and, if not, what would you do about it?

4.What in your record indicates that you are the best candidate to represent older Wichitans as mayor?

Bryan Frye 

1. Continue to invest in police and fire. Improve response times by stepping up recruitment and retention efforts to fill open positions. Prioritize budget dollars for pay, training, connecting social/mental health workers alongside police officers, and expanding the Integrated Care Team.

Taking care of water, roads and facilities infrastructure by focusing on fixing the needs before tackling the wants.

Finally, it’s about jobs. Keep Wichita open by building an economy with a variety of employment opportunities.

2. Affordable housing is a concern for all ages but especially seniors on fixed incomes. We must value the vulnerable by identifying solutions that allows Wichitans to stay in their homes longer. A proposed zoning adjustment that could positively affect seniors is the allowance of accessory dwelling units on single family residential lots. I support this as it has the potential to allow seniors with fixed incomes to live independently yet closer to support systems.

3. As a council member and former park board commissioner, I’ve championed increased programming for adults in park & recreation, cultural arts and the public library. I’d like to expand opportunities for community education, Senior Wednesdays and the Fitness, Health & Wellness program.

4. I’m a lifelong Wichitan and devoted servant leader who has spent decades working to build a better Wichita for all. I’m proud to be Wichita made because it made me Wichita motivated. 

30+ year business career. 8+ years Wichita City Council. 8 years Board of Park Commissioners. 8 years District 5 Advisory Board. Dozens of community volunteer roles. 4x business owner/operator.

I’m the only candidate with leadership skills in business, non-profit, government and entrepreneurism.

Celeste Racette

1. Ensure that essential services such as public safety, quality of life, and transportation are supported. Address the homeless situation with housing, mental health facilities, work training, and counseling in one location.

Restore public confidence in City Hall by providing competent oversight to taxpayer funds. Spending priorities need to shift away from developers and back to the public.

Provide passionate leadership in a cooperative approach to inspire pride in our great community.

2. I would initiate a public conversation to address the rising local property taxes, which disproportionately burden senior citizens on fixed incomes. We need to cap property taxes through careful spending. Transportation for seniors is critical, particularly for reasonable priced, reliable service. I would create a website to link people with transportation options. Residents 60 and older should be engaged in regular conversations to ensure their voices are heard.

3. Sedgwick County is a subdivision of state government and leads in providing essential services required by senior citizens. As mayor, I will be vigilant for opportunities to enhance senior-related services with Sedgwick County. I will encourage all city departments to factor senior needs into program development. One alarming area of concern is elderly fraud, which is on the increase through romance scams, fake grandchildren emergencies, and fraudsters posing as government agencies (IRS and SSN).

4. My 25-year job experience in the banking industry has given me the skills to be a watchdog on behalf of taxpayers. No other candidate has my extensive background in accounting. I served as an accounting officer, chief internal auditor, and FDIC bank examiner and fraud investigator. I have written contracts, prepared multi-million-dollar budgets, supervised employees, and led business teams. As the founder of Save Century II, I have given a voice to all Wichitans.

Brandon Whipple

1. As mayor, my top three priorities have been to reform the way business is done at City Hall so it is more fair and transparent to the taxpayer; to ensure all Wichita neighborhoods are safe, no matter where you call home; and growing our economy to attract new investment and tourism resulting in increased opportunities for residents and revenues that allow us to enhance city services.

2. As an elected official, I value communication with my constituents. Oftentimes, when governments modernize, they stop utilizing multiple channels of communication. While the internet is a good tool, it is important to me that we communicate as a City using traditional mediums as well. As Mayor, I consistently push to communicate with residents via mail and in person, so those options remain available to our residents that prefer to receive communications offline.

3. Wichita must collaborate with our partners to provide effective services. As the Board of Health, healthcare services for seniors are best managed by Sedgwick County. Our role is to enhance the quality of life for seniors, including Golden Age Club and recreation classes designed for seniors. I am focused on making housing affordable, especially for those on a fixed income. When we remain independent in our own homes, we live longer, healthier and happier lives.

 4. When I was elected Mayor, City Hall was on autopilot and I’ve focused on making City Hall work for all our residents. I have a proven record of thoughtfully reviewing our city services and making adjustments following best practices. Most recently, we remodeled City Hall’s first floor to create a customer service hub, which makes it easier to speak directly with someone when you need help with a water bill, housing or other common services.


Lily Wu

1. Many Wichitans are dissatisfied with the status quo and have lost faith in local government. Wichita is hungry for new leadership and a fresh perspective. As mayor, my focus will be ensuring public safety, strengthening our economy, and restoring trust in city hall. I’ll work with anyone who wants to improve our city, bring our community together, find common ground, and make Wichita proud.

2. People on fixed incomes shouldn’t have to pay higher taxes due to budget mismanagement. We must ensure public safety by focusing on recruitment and retention within our police, fire, and public works departments, and strengthen our economy by increasing collaboration between government, education, and industry. As mayor, I’ll build unity and consensus between council members and county commissioners, bring an end to the divisive politics, immaturity, and back-room deals, and provide you clear, transparent communication.

3. Given the impending budget deficit, it would be difficult for Wichita to assume more responsibility. I intend to improve the relationship between city and county, as collaboration is necessary to ensure senior-related services are delivered most effectively. In addition to government, I also believe there is value in public-private partnerships. Our seniors deserve exceptional care and support, and I will be very mindful of and careful to watch over our senior-related services.

4. Respect for elders is the foundation of my culture and respect for all is one of my core values. Representing our older generation, many of whom also bravely and nobly defended our nation’s freedoms, would be an incredible honor. I’m an outsider focused on results over politics and, as mayor, look forward to working collaboratively toward the best possible solutions.

Diversity, transparency and leadership: Where do Wichita’s mayoral candidates stand? 

Diversity, transparency and leadership: Where do Wichita’s mayoral candidates stand? 

Lily Wu Riverfest

by Trace Salzbenner | Source: https://wichitabeacon.org/

Last month, The Wichita Beacon surveyed our readers to find out what they most want to know about candidates running for local office. 

Questions for mayoral candidates centered on four themes: leadership style, commitment to transparency in government, relationships with developers, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

We asked the nine candidates competing in the Aug. 1 mayoral primary to answer these questions. All but two responded — Jared Cerullo, Bryan Frye, Anthony Gallardo, Celeste Racette, Julie Rose Stroud, Brandon Whipple and Lily Wu.

What follows are their responses, edited for length and clarity. We have also included links to each candidate’s campaign page and Ballotpedia entry, which provides basic bio information on each candidate and details about the race. 

The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the Nov. 7 general election. 

2023 Wichita Mayoral Candidate Forum
The Wichita Beacon is partnering with The Wichita Independent Neighborhood Association Inc. to present a mayoral candidate forum.
When: Monday, July 17, 2023, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Woodland United Methodist Church
1100 W. 15th St. North, between North Payne and Salina Streets
More information is available here.

Here’s who’s running for Wichita mayor, city council, USD 259 school board

Here’s who’s running for Wichita mayor, city council, USD 259 school board

Lily Wu Juneteenth Parade

Source: https://www.kmuw.org/  Author: Kylie Cameron, Celia Hack, Suzanne Perez

June 1 is the filing deadline for local elections.

The candidates for this year’s local elections are set.

A crowded field of candidates are running for mayor this year, as current mayor Brandon Whipple seeks re-election.

The primary election is Aug. 1.

All races for Wichita mayor, city council, and USD 259 school board are nonpartisan. The top two candidates for Wichita mayor and each council district will advance to the general election in November.

Here are the candidates running for mayor:

Wichita mayoral candidates

Brandon Whipple, current mayor*

Bryan Frye, current city council member District 5

Lily Wu, former TV reporter

Celeste Racette, Save Century II founder

Jared Cerrullo, former city council member District 3

Julie Stroud, music producer, environmental health safety manager

Tom Kane, advertising

Shelia Davis, student at Butler Community College

Look for more information about each mayoral candidate next week in KMUW’s mayoral voter guide. 

Wichita City Council candidates

Three city council districts will have elections this year: districts 2, 4 and 5.

The current city council members for District 4 and 5 have each termed out, allowing for new people to serve those districts. The incumbent council member from District 2, Becky Tuttle, is running for re-election.

Here are the candidates running for city council seats that are up for election:


District 2

Becky Tuttle, current city council member*

Hatim Zeineddine, Wichita State University graduate student

Marcey Gregory, former mayor of Goddard and former owner of First Gear shoe store


District 4

Bentley Blubaugh, operates Mr. Bs Daylight Donuts and nephew to Jeff Blubaugh

Dalton Glasscock, former appointed Sedgwick County Commissioner, former county GOP chair, Starnes Media Group CEO

Alan Oliver, retired

Judy Pierce, retired, Wichita Hutchinson Labor Federation president


District 5

Gary Bond, home remodeler and landscaping

J.V. Johnston, executive director of Guadalupe Clinic

Ben Taylor, Spirit electrician


USD 259 School Board candidates

There is no primary unless four or more candidates file for a single race. In the event of a primary, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election in November.

Last November, voters decided to change the way Wichita school board members are elected, adopting a system where only people living in each board district will get to weigh in on that race. The at-large member will continue to be elected by a citywide vote.

Wichita school board members serve four-year terms and receive no pay for twice-monthly meetings and other work. They oversee a nearly $1 billion budget and set policy for the state’s largest school district, with about 47,000 students. Members elected in November will take office on Jan. 8, 2024.

Here are the candidates running for school board:



Jacob A. Bakk, retired

Jesse Borosky, Wichita State doctoral student

Brent Davis, educational services business owner

Melody McCray-Miller, former Kansas state representative and Sedgwick County commissioner

Harlan Bascombe


District 3

Ngoc Vuong, researcher

Ken Carpenter


District 4

Stan Reeser, current board member*

Jason Carmichael, real estate investor

*designates incumbent candidate

Former TV Reporter & Wichita State Alum Running for Wichita Mayor

Former TV Reporter & Wichita State Alum Running for Wichita Mayor

Lily Wu Wichita Mayor

Lily Wu announced her candidacy for mayor on April 2, coinciding with her 30th anniversary of living in Wichita. 

Before announcing her run for office, the Wichita State alum previously worked as a reporter and news anchor for 12 years. This is Wu’s first time stepping into politics.

“I’ve really enjoyed my career in journalism,” Wu said. “I feel like right now is a perfect opportunity for me to give back and make a difference. I’m 38 years old and I am now in this phase in my life where I feel like I can serve in that capacity.”

Wu spoke fondly of her time at Wichita State and the opportunities that came from it.

“I think the mayor’s role really is being the ambassador and leader for the city of Wichita,” Wu said. “I’ve had that opportunity (to lead) thanks to a lot of the experiences I had at WSU.”

Wu graduated in 2007 from WSU with a degree in international business and integrated marketing communications.

After graduating, Wu got her master’s degree in Hong Kong as part of a Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship she received. As part of the scholarship, she worked as an ambassador for Wichita in Hong Kong, where she gave presentations to clubs around the world on behalf of Wichita.

Elizabeth King, former president of the Wichita Rotary Club and current CEO of the WSU Foundation, originally suggested Wu apply for the scholarship.

“(Wu) is very bright, very inquisitive and a natural leader,” King said. “She considers me one of her mentors, and that’s a real privilege because she’s just an extraordinary person.”

Wu has maintained her involvement with WSU since graduating. She is currently a board member of the Barton Business School Advisory Board and the Steve Clark YMCA. She also has stopped by the Elliott School of Communication to talk to students about her experience as a journalist. 

Kevin Hager, an associate communications professor at the Elliott School, has previously asked her to come to speak with students and give them advice.

“She’s always a very positive, interesting, caring person in the classroom setting … and (able to be) blunt at times when that’s what students need to hear,” Hager said.

She talked about how her background influenced her life and career choices, and how she feels that career experience will help her in the role of mayor if elected. When Wu moved to the United States at the age of 8, her family didn’t speak English. She spoke about her experience learning English to act as her family’s translator in second grade. 

“I decided that because my parents obviously didn’t speak English either, I would want to take that leadership role,”  Wu said. “I could be their main translator, and to this day I still do that.”

Wu said translating for her family has aided her career as a journalist, and she thinks it will also help if elected as mayor.  

Wu said her journalism career started by watching local news to learn English as a child.

“I always considered (local news) my out-of-classroom teachers,” Wu said. “And so I’ve always had this aspiration of someday being like my out-of-classroom teacher, so journalism was in the back of my head this entire time.”

Wu got her start in journalism in high school, when she attended East High.

“That’s part of the reason I say I’m ‘all of Wichita’… because I’ve grown up all around this community,” Wu said.

Larry Hatteberg, former KAKE news anchor for 51 years, “opened the door” for her, helping her get a job at Channel 10, which was her first job as a professional journalist. She was with KAKE for nine years before moving to KWCH, where she has worked as a news anchor for the past three years

“I name these names, not to drop names, but to emphasize that people have helped me along the way,” Wu said. “They’ve opened doors for me and then showed me the opportunity, and I’m just really grateful for that.”

She is involved in volunteer work with local organizations like the Wichita Asian Association, Storytime Village and Sunlight Children’s Services.

Wu is the director of the Miss Asian Scholarship Pageant at the annual Wichita Asian Festival, where she mentors contestants. Wu has been involved with the Wichita Asian Association, which hosts the event since she was a freshman in college.

“I’ve had an opportunity to serve in many capacities with the Asian festival,” Wu said. “That has helped in connecting with the community and understanding the community. Civic engagement is your own way to make your home a better place.”

With less than seven months until the mayoral election, Wu is running on four campaign points: public safety, strengthening the economy, restoring trust in city hall and bringing the community together.

‘Public Safety’

Wu shared some of her plans to improve public safety in Wichita, including recruiting more police officers, referring to the numerous vacancies in the Wichita Police Department. An independent assessment of the WPD found that bad publicity and an unhealthy work environment made it difficult to fill vacancies in the department.

“That’s too many (vacancies), so we need to work on how to attract people into the profession and also retain people in the profession of law enforcement. So that’s going to be a priority,” Wu said.

Adding the story of her father’s catalytic converter being stolen while he was at work to illustrate why she believes Wichita needs more officers working in a preventative role, as well as the necessity of reactive measures after a crime is committed. Wu said having officers in a preventative role helps community building. 

‘Strengthening the economy’

Wu said she plans to strengthen Wichita’s economy by attracting people to the area and retaining those who already live in the city. During her time at KWCH, Wu worked on stories that highlighted both small and large businesses in Wichita and how they got their start.

“One of the things that I’m hearing is a lot of need for talent. You see those ‘now hiring’ signs, you see the need for people to work,” Wu said.

Wu also noted that the city should think “regionally” about Wichita by supporting surrounding towns and cities because they are closely connected, and what’s good for those cities is good for Wichita.

‘Restoring trust in city hall’

Wu said Wichitans have lost trust in city hall and local government. In a 2022 community survey, just 32% of residents felt great or excellent confidence in Wichita’s government.

To help restore that trust, she said she wants to communicate openly to residents of Wichita what the city government is doing.

“When citizens don’t see how their tax dollars are being utilized, trust starts eroding,” Wu said. “We need to do, as elected officials, a better job of communicating ‘what is it that city government does?’ ‘How are your tax dollars being used?’”

Wu thinks that, to restore trust in city government, local representatives have to work with the community. 

“Restoring trust in city hall really has to do with a change in leadership,” Wu said. “I think what we need right now is a leader and an ambassador, like I mentioned, that helps bring back the trust (between residents and city representatives). We need to have that trust and a relationship is really based around trust, so we need to restore that critically.”

‘Building a united community’

Wu plans to restore trust by prioritizing community voices and feedback to build a united community.

She hopes that younger people will get involved politically. Less than 10% of the Wichita population voted in the last mayoral primary, and she hopes young people seeing these low numbers will realize that being involved in local politics is a way to have their voices heard.

“I really want to engage more young people, and hopefully, especially here at WSU, I know there are lots of young leaders that want to speak up and I want them to get engaged,” Wu said.

She plans to seek out those who are often overlooked, such as immigrants and first-generation Wichitans, to have their voices heard. She said she values hearing others talk about their immigrant experience as well.

“I want more people to voice that about themselves. Each of us has a story to tell,” Wu said “I think if more people would openly share their stories… that will bring more inclusivity to our community.”

Wu said she wants to hear from all members of the community from all backgrounds.

“Building a united community is about bringing voices that often don’t get asked to be part of the table,” Wu said. “I want to engage all voices in Wichita.”

Several other candidates, some also being WSU alums, have entered the race for mayor as well.

According to the Wichita Eagle, the other declared candidates are Brandon Whipple (current mayor), Jared Cerullo, Bryan Frye, Thomas Kane, Celeste Racette, Julie Rose Stroud, and Anthony Gallardo.

August 1st is the Wichita primary election and November 7th is the mayoral election. You can find voting information at sos.ks.gov.


Former TV Reporter to File in Wichita Mayor’s Race

Former TV Reporter to File in Wichita Mayor’s Race

Lily Wu Announcement-319

Former TV reporter Lily Wu announced Sunday that she will be a candidate for the Wichita mayor’s office.

She made the announcement at an event attended by more than 300 supporters.  Wu said her vision for Wichita has four key initiatives:  ensuring public safety, strengthening the economy, restoring trust in City Hall, and building a united community.    She said the mayor’s role is to be an ambassador and leader and everyone should take ownership of the community.

Over the past 12 years, Wu was an anchor and reporter for KAKE-TV and then for KWCH-TV.  She is a graduate of East High School and of Wichita State University.

Four candidates have officially filed for the mayor’s office.  Incumbent mayor Brandon Whipple has indicated he will run for a second term, and City Council member Bryan Frye has announced his intent to run for the office.  The deadline for candidates to file is June 1st.

The primary election is August 1st and the general election will be November 7th.