William W. "Bill" Bunten (born 1930) was a Kansas politician and the previous mayor of Topeka, Kansas, having been elected to a four-year term in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. Before being elected mayor, he served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1962 to 1990 and in the Kansas Senate from 2002 to 2004. He previously ran for mayor in 2001 and in a special election in 2003. Bunten is a member of the Republican Party. His obituary said he died of complications of pneumonia on Feb. 29, 2020.
Bunten was the first mayor to be elected in Topeka under the new council-manager government, which stripped most of the powers of the office of mayor. Instead, the city council and appointed city manager holds most of the power. As such, Bunten's role is limited to leading city council meetings, promoting economic development, and being the "ceremonial head" of the city. He replaced James McClinton as mayor, who did not seek a second term after the powers of the office were reduced.
A native Topekan, Bunten was a basketball player while attending Topeka High School. He was a teammate and good friend of Dean Smith, who later went on to fame as a basketball coach at North Carolina. Bunten and Smith both attended the University of Kansas and were members of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity. After college Bunten entered the US Marine Corps and served in Korea, rising to the rank of Captain.
In 2010, Bunten decided to change the name of Topeka to Google in honor of the company Google, Inc. for one day. This was considered a ploy to attract Google to Topeka as a site for a high speed Internet installation. The site eventually was located in Kansas City, Kansas.
Bunten has led an effort to improve the downtown area and promoted a plan to raise funds for the development of the area.
In 2012, Bill Bunten announced that he would not seek re-election in April 2013 at a City Council meeting.
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