March 19, 2022

My name is Kirk Sonnichsen and I am running for Lee’s Summit City Council District 1. I am married to Heather and we have a daughter studying to be a teacher, a son in Army (a vet tech), and a son in high school. We moved here 5 years ago for an opportunity for our youngest son with soccer and fell in love with Lee’s Summit. Lee’s Summit has great schools, a small-town feel, and family-friendly neighborhoods that were the main attractions for us. Over the past two years, I have watched a lot of these qualities that brought us here be taken away by agencies from outside of the city. I am not a politician! I am a businessman in the customer service industry that has had to find ways to keep people employed and the business open during this unprecedented time.

I have worked in the customer service industry for 33 years and I am currently an Area Director with Panera Bread. During my career, I have learned how to work with all stakeholders – guests, cashiers, cooks, managers, and owners. I am comfortable interacting with industry leaders and with high schoolers that it is their first job. I have also led my cafes through the toughest time ever in the restaurant industry – Covid. Overnight, we lost 75% of revenue and had to furlough team members and managers. As part of the leadership team, we had to make tough decisions, adapt to new rules, and find ways to ensure the business survived. It was through this leadership, the company was able to survive, bring back all employees, and did not use any government funds. I am not afraid to ask questions, and do research to ensure that I make an informed decision.

Lee’s Summit should be led by Lee’s Summit for Lee’s Summit. There are outside agencies that are telling Lee’s Summit citizens how they should live – when their business can open, that you must wear a mask, how our streets should be built, what type of housing we need, and what businesses should be where. The city has the capability to be self-reliant and not have a regional influence on our growth. Lee’s Summit will face some difficult decisions in the coming months and years with the economy – gas prices, food prices, and inflation. I am looking to bring a conservative growth mindset back to the city – planned and realistic. The city can be better at how we utilize the tax incentives that will not burden the city’s resources or pass it along to the residents. It is going to take the experience to ensure that Lee’s Summit continues to grow and not pass the tax burden onto the residents. My business experience and servant leadership will meet the challenges and opportunities that are presented to Lee’s Summit.