October 2016. It is the League of Kansas Municipalities annual conference, and it is time to pass the gavel to a new president. This new president will have several distinctions: She is a woman, she is an African-American, and she comes from rural Kansas.
Kim Thomas is the mayor of Stockton, Kansas. Her family has deep roots in northwest Kansas, where she is the fifth generation to come from the community of Nicodemus. As we have previously profiled, Nicodemus is a historic African American community which was settled after the Civil War.
“My great-grandfather had the annual Nicodemus community celebration in his grove,” Kim said. She grew up in Plainville but spent lots of time with her grandparents in Nicodemus.
While still in high school, she worked for Southwestern Bell as a telephone operator. She went on to Emporia State and then came back to northwest Kansas to work for Southwestern Bell on equipment. She spent 32 years before retiring as a communications technician with the company, located at various towns throughout the region.