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Statement from James Clendenin Re: Resignation from the Wichita City Council

12/22/2020
Contact: City Communications |

With a heavy heart and deep disappointment, I regret to announce that this will be my last meeting as the council member representing District 3. Effective December 31, 2020, I will resign from the Wichita City Council.

I did not come to this decision lightly and without first having many, many conversations with friends and colleagues, including some of you, from across the city asking for their advice and counsel.

This is neither the time nor the place for discussing or debating the specifics of allegations being made against me. Or why I'm choosing today and this forum to make this announcement.

Let it be enough, for now, that I recognize that I have become a distraction from the critically important work of this council and from this city that I love and have served for nearly a decade. I cannot in good conscience allow that to continue.

There are too many families, businesses and schools that are suffering, and entirely too many of our residents living on the edge that need our city's attention and laser focus. There are too many important hills we need to climb together to get this city moving again after the pandemic. It would be selfish and unproductive for me to continue in my council position if other events in any way diverted attention from the important city work that must go on.

I am forever indebted to the residents of District 3 for giving me their support and trust over the years and for standing with me on so many important city projects and developments - far too many to list them all here today.

But a couple of those projects that I will always be proud of include:

  • A new South Central Community Master Plan;
  • Preserving Clapp Golf Course as a park with what looks to be an amazing master plan of its own;
  • A new branch library in District 3;
  • Saving a Wichita icon, the Starlite Drive-In;
  • And especially fixing pot holes - lots and lots of pot holes.

I would be remiss if I didn't say a word of thanks.

First, to my colleagues and friends on this council and former council members with whom I served, thank you for your kindness, your professional counsel, your wisdom and sage advice. I will always remember it and be thankful for it.

To the city manager and City Hall staff, thank you for your professionalism, and your responsible, committed service to this great city as it is not given the credit and praise it so deserves.

To my constituents in the third district – again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve and for your support, friendship and trust over the many years I've been fortunate enough to have served you. I did the best I could, I gave it my all and I appreciate the many kind messages and expressions of support you've sent me in recent days.

And finally, to my family and my dear friends in the third district and across this city: Thank you. Your care, your concern, your love, in part, is what has allowed me to persevere. Sometimes it's only in the darkest hours can you fully appreciate God's grace and the light and love that surrounds and sustains you.

God bless each of you on this council and God bless this wonderful city we call home, Wichita, Kansas.

Thank you.

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