Mayor Garner's Inaugural Speech

Published on December 14, 2021


"Life truly is a roller coaster ride of experience, of joy, pain, struggle, victory, setbacks, and accomplishments. With all are imperfections, aspirations, are fragileness. No matter our circumstance, no matter what walk we have taken, life at its very core is a beautiful gift from God. The resilience of our human spirit coupled with the reality of the powers that exist in the universe carry us through this journey we call life. At some point, the realities of life happens to all of us, these life experiences, good and bad, shape who we are. Exposures shape who we are, interactions with people, shape who we are. Exposure shape who we are. Interactions with people, shape who we are... whether you loved or hated me, the experiences you shared with me shaped who I am today.

Thank you to all those that over the course of my life, encouraged me, uplifted me, prayed for me, struggled with me, cried with me, laughed with me, supported me, created awesome memories with me, saw something special in me, helped me, acknowledged my shortcomings without judging me, and most importantly, loved me. You know who you are....

Thank you, because this moment is more about you, and the positive impact you had on my life, which allowed for this season I am walking into to become my next reality. A reality I was asked to undertake by special people that wanted something special, something more, not just for themselves, but for all that call Wyandotte County home.

They saw the extreme challenges that exist in Wyandotte County and believed that taking a chance in a different direction offered an opportunity for the hope of a better day. I saw these challenges as an opportunity, an opportunity to bring change, to reimagine a better way forward with everyday people that said to me, "Tyrone, we have got to do better." Ultimately, I said yes to the call to action, and became determined to facilitate promoting a message of "UNITY, OPPORTUNITY, and HOPE." A determination rooted in my confidence that we can change the hopes and dreams of today into becoming the reality of tomorrow. A reality of a Wyandotte County where no one that is willing to work hard and positively contribute is ever left behind. A reality where we promote faith, family, education, hard work, love for one another, community, and shared success. A reality where people of all races, all religions, all persuasions, all ages, hold value over politics, privilege, and profit. A reality where there is equity in the delivery of goods and services with an emphasis on promoting the cultural richness of our neighborhoods. A reality where we are investing in the disinvested, the disenfranchised, more specifically... the people, places, and programs where investment is needed most. A reality where we recommit ourselves to have affordable and robust youth programs for our children, while also doing everything we can to ensure that our children will never have to look at a public swimming pool in Wyandotte County that says we are closed for business. A reality where we collaborate with all taxing entities to lower taxes and work to make our BPU bills feel more like a real utility bill. A reality where diversity, inclusion, access, as well as support of women and minority business are better reflected throughout the Unified Government. A reality where we fully and unequivocally support our awesome men and women in public safety, while also implementing measures designed to better hold them accountable to the values and expectations of our community. A reality where mental illness, drug addiction, and poverty are classified within the realm of being a serious health crisis, with real investment commitments to address these issues and confront homelessness head on. A reality where we truly see ourselves through a unified lens of purpose with our WYCO family cities of Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, and parts of Lake Quivira. A reality where we seek to curtail some of the burdensome revenue generating user fees that have been imposed upon residents. A reality where streamlined and efficient government coupled with awesome customer service is encouraged with a renewed sense of purpose. A reality where we commit and double our efforts to address blight and urban decay. A reality where we reduce the bureaucracy and red tape that often stifles growth and development prospects in Wyandotte County. A reality where we seek out all available opportunities designed to bring equitable developments and improvements to our roads, streets, sidewalks, sewers, bridges, broadband access, public parks, robust entertainment venues, affordable housing, and housing that is affordable. A reality where we focus our attention east of I-635 to ensure that the Northeast, Downtown, Central Avenue, Armourdale, Argentine, Rosedale are given the attention they desperately need. A reality where we use our voices to make it clear to decision-makers in Topeka that we want nothing less than equity and little to no change in redistricting for Wyandotte County. A reality where we support our local DA in his effort to bring fairness, justice, and 21st century standards to the criminal justice system to include a public defender's office. A reality where we seek to attract responsible developers that want to be good neighbors by way of contributing positively and fairly to the growth, resurgence, and sustainability of Wyandotte County. A reality where we support and embrace responsible entrepreneurs, small business start-ups, and those seeking to expand and grow their current small business into something really special. A reality where anyone that calls or desires to call Wyandotte County home, will know that they are safe and welcomed.

The reality is that these are just a few examples of the many opportunities that exist for us to positively reimagine Wyandotte County together. I have to stress "together." Because this election, this next step in our journey was never about me. It is and will always be about what we can do together. None of us can bring about change alone. Although I am now your Mayor, I am not ashamed to say that I need you. Some of us must set aside our egos, remove our silos, and be willing to work collaboratively with others to bring about the positive change so many desperately want to see. The one reality I do know, is that we will succeed... or not, together. We must also be willing to set aside any petty differences we sometimes latch onto that separates us, and realize that the challenges we face as a county are far greater than what may divide us. I urge you to please get involved in what is taking place in our community, get to know your local neighborhood groups, engage in meaningful conversations, educate yourself on the issues most important to you, educate yourself on who represents you and how your government works, show up to the board meetings, make your voice known and heard, but more importantly, hold me and all those that represent you accountable to the expectations that you have for us. I challenge everyone that cares about what we can achieve, to come together in unity, in love, with a willingness to do all we can to make Wyandotte County second to absolutely none.

My immediate priorities will involve me reaching out to our Unified Government Commissioners, to work towards system changes that will for a UG administration to be more accountable to the elected body.... We need to ensure an improved balance of power where the will of the people is better reflected through those they elect to represent them. Secondly, I will seek to secure an unaffiliated, unassociated, fully independent top-down, thorough audit of both the UG and BPU, designed to identify ways to streamline government, cut cost, vette out wasteful spending, fully consolidate, and transfer cost saving to you.... Because to truly understand how we need to navigate moving forward, we have to have a realistic, uncompromised view of where we are currently. Finally, I will move for a full and thorough review of the UG Charter to ensure that it reflects the values of our community today and the vision we have for our community as we proceed into the future.

Let's be clear, I am not here to make a whole bunch of promises... I haven't, and I never will. I am, however, standing here to reaffirm my commitment to you and all those that call Wyandotte County home. I am merely one person, with a simple desire to try and make a difference in people's lives. I love Wyandotte County but I value people even more. I am committed to always putting you, the people of Wyandotte County, first. For all those that voted for me, and for those that did not. Please, rest easy knowing that I am going to work hard for you, I am going to fight in a way that better reflects community-driven leadership. My decision-making principles will be based on this simple premise: "Is it equitable? Is it in the best interest of our taxpayers, and will it add value to Wyandotte County?" Wyandotte County, you voted for engaged leadership, and I am committed to giving you engaged leadership. Leadership you can believe in.... Leadership that will work tirelessly, not for what i want, but for what you want from your Mayor. Access, transparency, and honesty is what you can expect from me. We all know that things won't happen quickly, but if we come together in unity, collaboration, and love, I am confident that we will see positive progress from where we are at today.

With the campaign behind us, Wyandotte County, it's time to start the real work.... I am going to do my best to make a difference, you need to know that together, we are that difference; I ask that you please join me and countless others in being the difference you want to see in Wyandotte County. We truly can make Wyandotte County a great and safe place to live, work, and raise a family. Together.... Let's make it happen.


Thank you, Wyandotte County. Merry Christmas to everyone, and God Bless You!!"

- Mayor Tyrone A. Garner, Sworn in on December 13, 2021