Candidates running for a seat on the Manhattan City Commission have differing views on how to grow the economy.

During this past weekend’s League of Women Voters Forum on KMAN, candidates were asked what the city’s role should be in spurring development of jobs that provide a livable wage.

Nine candidates are seeking one of four seats on the city commission this November. Seven took part in the forum Saturday at the Manhattan Public Library, hosted by the League and co-sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women and the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.

Susan Adamchak (courtesy photo)

Susan Adamchak says this can be achieved by attracting and retaining talent, promoting affordable housing initiatives, streamlining building regulations and incentivizing builders.

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Mark Hatesohl says removing barriers for businesses, including burdensome regulations, as well as recruiting talent that wants to be in Manhattan, should be part of the conversation.

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Karen McCulloh

Karen McCulloh says her four priorities for job growth will continue to center around housing, transportation, access to mental health care and options for child care.

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John Matta says the city can’t mandate companies pay high wages, noting also that Manhattan is competing with other communities to lure companies to the city.

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Peter Oppelt (via LinkedIn)

Peter Oppelt says he believes well maintained infrastructure is crucial, but also says ensuring that incentives are done with full transparency to the public is also key.

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Other candidates didn’t offer specific solutions to the issue.

Rafael Rodriguez commented Saturday that he believes K-State students have a lack of understanding of some of the federal opportunities available to them on Fort Riley.

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Rosemary Loucks said she’d need to research the topic more, but noted a desire to see existing buildings become occupied.

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The top two in voting will receive four year terms on the city commission, while the third and fourth place candidates will each receive two year terms.

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