Sean Tarwater was born and raised in the Kansas City area. He is an Irish Catholic and takes great pride in both. Sean grew up in a large, tight knit family who were always very involved in the community. Because of this, Sean has been giving back to the community for most of his life.
In 1987, Sean graduated Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit college preparatory school in Kansas City. At Rockhurst, he made great, life-long friends and learned to be an Ignatian leader and a “Man for others” In the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola. It was during those years and those experiences that he knew he wanted to be a community leader that made a difference.
Sean graduated from UMKC Block School of Business with a Master’s degree in business, in finance. While there, he served as an officer in Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity where he was social chairman and helped to improve the fraternity’s reputation and relationship with the community through philanthropic events. Sean’s higher education has prepared him well for his business and volunteer life.
Sean has used his finance background to develop several small businesses, and he currently employs 40 people. He volunteers at his church and school, St. Michael the Archangel, in Overland Park, Kansas where Sean was on the Finance council for 3 years and the chairman for his final year. His experience on this council taught him the finances behind running a school and he knows what it takes to make schools successful. He will use this experience to make sure schools are funded properly and even help the districts manage the funds.
For the past 5 years, Sean Tarwater has been the President of his home owners association in River Ridge. Throughout those years the association was able to build up a large contingency fund for future projects or devastating losses. He was able to accomplish this, not by raising dues, but through offering transparency in the actions of the board and input from anyone who had it. He also instituted a bid process for any work hired out that called for neighborhood transparency throughout the process and a committee vote before awarding any contracts, allowing for the best choice to be made for the neighborhood. This brought the community together and provided a level of trust that the association was doing the right thing for everyone, not just those on the board. Sean plans to bring this level of transparency with him to Topeka!
Tarwater is tough on crime. One of the first undertakings that Sean tackled as the President of his homeowners association was to bring the community together to fight crime. The crime rate in River Ridge was high and was climbing. The crimes were mostly crimes of circumstance but they were escalating. Sean had a rally against crime at his house and called upon the Johnson County Sheriffs depart and Major Darryl Reece. Over 100 people from his neighborhood and some from surrounding areas showed up as Major Reece reviewed all the crimes and laid the groundwork for what we needed to be done to extinguish the crime. That week the neighborhood started a volunteer night patrol, led by Mike Lane. Several of the homeowners, including Sean and his sons, take 2 hour shifts throughout the night to drive around the neighborhood, remind neighbors to close their garages and turn on lights, and communicate directly with the Sherriff’s department when there is suspicious activity. Because of this night patrol volunteer team, River ridge has the lowest crime stats in all of Johnson County. Sean will support law enforcement by providing them with adequate funding, the best technology, and pay them more under his proposed HERO bill.
Sean is married to Lexie Tarwater and is the father of 4 children, all boys. They are age 18, 15, 13, and 10. His wife is the daughter of two teachers and her father was also a Texas high school football coach. Together, they work hard to raise the children. The oldest son just graduated from Blue Valley High School this year. Sean and Lexie have always been involved with the children’s activities and schools. Sean can be found in the lunchroom, at field trips, field day, and as mentioned earlier, he was on the finance council for 3 years where he oversaw the budget of the church and school. He and Lexie never misses parent teacher conferences and is very involved in the children’s education. Sean has coached football for 7 years and currently is a coach for the upcoming 8th grade football team that consists of St. Michael the Archangel, Ascension, and Queen of the holy Rosary, Wea
Sean supports schools. Lexie’s parents were, his mother was, and his sister is currently a teacher. Sean’s parents and family have always volunteered and supported the area schools and he understands how great teachers are and what they mean to the community. His family owns farmland in Hugoton, KS and they have donated quite a bit of land to the Hugoton middle and high schools for their expansion over the years. He will certainly have this in mind as he helps schools and teachers get the funding they deserve, and as he strives to pass his HERO bill.