Michael A. Padilla
Michael served as a city councilmember before seeking the mayor’s seat. He is a second generation Mexican American and one of five sons to parents born in Kansas. After attending Washburn University, Michael began a career with the Topeka Police Department. During his 34 year career Michael became actively involved with numerous citizen groups and non-profit organizations. Michael joined the Navy Reserve while with the police department. Community engagement has always been Michael’s approach to problem solving as a police officer and as an elected official. He became a widely recognized “person at the table” by the community. Michael is the co-founder of Shawnee County Safe Streets. Safe Streets continues as a collaborative all citizen volunteer group focused on neighborhood safety and quality of life initiatives. Michael has served on the Salvation Army Board and recently co-founded an after school boxing program for boys and girls. The program, the Three Badges Boxing Club, serves a largely Hispanic population and partners with the Topeka Police Department and the Topeka Fire Department. The program stresses responsibility, self-confidence, respect for others and continuing education. The program is supported with computer classes, dual language instruction and health care. He was selected to serve on the Kansas Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Commission to address how the Kansas Supreme Court could better connect with the citizen’s state wide. Michael served on the Governor’s Commission on Racial Profiling in policing. He has been a board member of the Meals on Wheels program, YMCA Metro board, Midland Care Hospice board, Mayor’s Council on Diversity and provided cultural awareness training to all city employees. After retiring as a Division Commander Major from the TPD he was appointed by Governor Sebelius as Chief of Enforcement for the Kansas Department of Revenue. At the Department of Revenue, Michael identified a need for improved compliance with both liquor and tobacco tax law enforcement. Michael created a new unit and expanded coverage across the state to increase both compliance and revenue. After serving 10 1/2 years and through two administrations, Michael then retired to run for elected office.
Michael serves on the Momentum 2022 and soon Momentum 2027 initiative. These programs bring together city and county officials to focus on shared needs and plans for the future. This collaborative is part of the Greater Topeka Partnership. The Partnership is the umbrella organization developed by bringing several independent organizations together. Visit Topeka, Topeka Chamber of Commerce, GoTopeka, Downtown Topeka and FORGE now better coordinate shared goals. He is a member of the Joint Economic and Development Organization, JEDO, a partnership with the Shawnee County Commission and the City of Topeka Governing Body. Michael is excited to continue to serve Topeka, Kansas with a vision of a holistic approach to public safety, growth of the small business sector, affordable housing and a deliberate effort to expand diversity, equity and inclusion in how we serve our community.