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Former Wichita mayor and gubernatorial candidate Brewer dies

 


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Carl Brewer, Wichita's first elected African American mayor and a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, died Friday after a long illness. He was 63.

Brewer's family confirmed his death in a statement in which they requested privacy. Memorial service details were pending.

Brewer served on the City Council or as mayor from 2001 to 2015, the maximum terms that Wichita law allows its city officials. He ran unsuccessfully for Kansas governor in 2018, The Wichita Eagle reported.

He got has start in politics after working in the aircraft industry for more than 30 years. Brewer began as a sheet metal worker and was a union steward. Later on, he worked in management at Spirit AeroSystems.

Brewer is credited with overseeing much of the revitalization of downtown Wichita and was a key figure in the development of Eisenhower Airport. City Council member Brandon Johnson said his achievements were particularly remarkable because the bulk of his time as mayor was during the Great Recession.

"He led through an economic downturn and you know, times were tough during the recession," Johnson said. "We came out on the other side of it whole and able to build as a city and not have the negative impacts last as long as they could have."

Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statement Friday saying she was "deeply saddened" at Brewer's passing. Although he lost his governor bid to Kelly in the Democratic primary, he served on her transition team.

The gubernatorial campaign was marred by the death of Brewer's grandson, Evan Brewer, who was found encased in concrete after the family filed multiple requests with the Kansas Department of Children and Families to check on the toddler. Brewer used the platform to demand changes to the agency, which investigates child welfare complaints.

Brewer's son, Carlo Brewer, and the boy's mother, Miranda Miller, had been in a custody battle. Miller was sentenced to 25 years and her boyfriend, Stephen Bodine, to 109 years in the boy's death.

 

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