TOPEKA (KSNT) – Outgoing Mayor Michelle De La Isla was honored at Tuesday night’s city council meeting where she received several awards from the attendees to thank her for her service to Kansas’ capital city.
The awards started with Mike Padilla who is set to be Topeka’s new mayor, taking up the reigns of the office in January next year. Padilla and City Manager Brent Trout presented the mayor with an ornate blue vase in a show of thanks for her time spent with the city of Topeka.
“I think it’s appropriate for the kind of person that you are, so full of life and color, that we wanted to give you something that really stood out, that would be the centerpiece of your home,” said Padilla.
De La Isla also presented a gift to Padilla, citing their long history together in a short speech.
“When I decided to run for council it was really interesting because Mike was also thinking of running for council and Mike looked at me and said, ‘You know what, no. You need to do this and I’m gonna support you.’ I’ll never forget that Mike,” De La Isla said. “So fast forward, Mike decides to run for city council and he’s like, ‘Heck yeah’ right? Because it was easy to support a man that has integrity and honor and has demonstrated it every single day of his life in this community.”
De La Isla presented Padilla with a glass plaque to commemorate his upcoming tenure as mayor of Topeka.
“Mike, you are the reflection of what happens in Topeka when good people with good hearts, no matter their color, social-economic status, work with their heart for their community, they’re able to achieve great things,” De La Isla said.
“Running for elected office that is something that, if you do it for the right reasons, can be a humbling experience. Thank you very much Mayor, it’s been a pleasure,” Padilla said.
Another gift was presented to the mayor from Dr. Tiffany Anderson, the first African American female superintendent of Topeka Public schools, in the form of a photo collage. Students from schools across Topeka, such as Jardine Elementary and Middle School, sent in photos of their favorite moments shared with the mayor.
“Your courage, your leadership, your kindness, your compassion is a model of excellence that has changed generations beyond what you or I will ever know,” Dr. Anderson said. “We love you and thank you for your leadership and we thank you for your love for Topeka Public Schools.”
De La Isla was also presented with a special award from the Topeka Human Relations Commission.
“I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Topeka Human Relations Commission as their vice-chair and present the 2021 Stephanie Mott Award to Mayor Michelle De La Isla,” Jennifer Goetz said. “The Stephanie Mott Award recognizes outstanding individuals living in Shawnee County who exemplify the extraordinary life and work of Stephanie Mott.”
After accepting this award, the mayor took time to recognize the members of the COVID-19 Response Team by calling them up in front of the City Council.
“What people don’t understand, and I don’t think that I could ever quantify the amount of hours, that all of us put living in a basement at the county offices and there’s a lot of laughter because, I mean, this community will never understand the depth of gratitude it owes to these individuals,” De La Isla said. “You’re essential, all of you are.”
To watch Mayor De La Isla’s final City Council meeting, click here.