Reddi mayor

Usha Reddi, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is the new mayor of Manhattan, Kansas. (Twitter photo/ReddiForSenate)

Indian American Usha Reddi Jan. 7 was chosen as the new mayor of Manhattan, Kansas.

In addition to Reddi, a school teacher who is also seeking the U.S. Senate seat in Kansas as a Democrat in 2020, Wynn Butler was named as mayor pro tem.

The Mercury reports that Manhattan city commissioners selected Reddi and Butler for the two positions during the first meeting of 2020; they will serve in their positions until January 2021.

Reddi, who served as mayor pro tem before being selected as mayor, served as the mayor of Manhattan in 2016 and 2017, according to the report.

“I’m honored to be the mayor of Manhattan once again,” Reddi was quoted as saying in the report. “And it’s a thrill to be here on the shoulders of many, and I hope many more follow in our footsteps. It’s a hard job, but I think everybody is capable of participating in this process.”

Reddi said mental health is still a priority for her as mayor.

“There is a need in our community, and it must be addressed,” Reddi added in the report.

Former mayor Mike Dodson and commissioner Jerred McKee have departed from the commission.

City manager Ron Fehr and Reddi presented Dodson with a plaque and collage of photos, and in return, Reddi thanked Dodson for his service and said she is glad to have Dodson as a friend.

Reddi said she thought the commission over the past two years was diverse in that it served a variety of constituents with different religions, political parties, genders, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations and marital statuses, the publication added.

AP adds from Washington: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Jan. 7 that he’ll remain in his post as the country’s top diplomat, forgoing a run for the Senate from Kansas, opening the door for Democratic candidate Usha Reddi to earn the seat in 2020. (See earlier India-West story here:

The Senate seat is believed by many Republicans as the party’s best hope of retaining what should be a guaranteed GOP seat from the deep red state.

Pompeo’s decision, assuming he stands by it, will also complicate GOP efforts to defend their 53-47 Senate majority in November’s elections.

His remarks at a State Department news conference came a day after he told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he’s not going to leave his job to run for office, two people close to McConnell told The Associated Press.

Pompeo’s decision, disclosed Jan. 6, came days after a U.S. airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump killed Qassem Soleiman, Iran’s most powerful general and leader of its elite Quds Force. Iran has vowed revenge on the U.S., and the crisis makes this an awkward time for Pompeo to leave his post and seek elective office.

A former congressman from Kansas, Pompeo has traveled repeatedly to the state in recent months, and many Washington Republicans had expressed a belief that he would be a candidate.

If he ran, he was considered all but certain to prevail in the Aug. 4 GOP primary and the November general election. Republicans worry that without him, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a polarizing conservative with hard-right immigration views, could win the GOP nomination. 

Candidates have until June 1 to file for the Kansas Senate race, leaving a door open for Pompeo to reconsider.

The Kansas seat is being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, 83, who’s served in the Senate since 1997 and, before that, in the House since 1981.

Kobach’s opponents in the GOP primary include Rep. Roger Marshall, state Senate President Susan Wagle and Dave Lindstrom, a businessman and former Kansas City Chiefs football player.

The leading Democratic candidate is state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a retired Kansas City-area anesthesiologist who switched from the GOP at the end of 2018.

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