Best Politician

Megan England

Rare is the elected official in the metro who doesn't believe that soccer fixes everything. But when Roeland Park City Councilwoman Megan England — who played the sport in college on a scholarship — led a campaign to remake the site of a decommissioned Shawnee Mission elementary school into a park, she didn't mean for it to attract only cleated children. She figured (correctly) that kids already had plenty of places to play the sport. And when others on the council moved to let a contractor add goal posts, setting aside most of the newly leveled land for game play, she pushed back. She lost, despite support from a number of constituents, who took to her website's comments page to express their dismay that the new park would no longer be simply a quiet green space for all. And she was a good sport about it, which can't be taken for granted in local politics. In fact, getting re-elected this year meant overcoming a surprisingly bitter challenge from the person she beat to win her first term. We like her youth (at 35, she spends some of her downtime working to form a social network with other under-40 pols and businesspeople in town), we admire her enthusiasm ("I like meetings!" she says, and means it), and we recognize that she's making her part of the metro prettier and more sensibly governed.

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