Biography

Jim Sherow is exploring an opportunity to represent all Kansans in the 1st Congressional District of the United States House of Representatives.

Jim Sherow is a historian and former Mayor of Manhattan, KS. From 2007 to 2012, as City Commissioner and as Mayor, Jim helped launch major projects creating a new shopping district, an entertainment district, and an enhanced main street. Manhattan has been nationally recognized as one of the ten best cities in the United States in which to retire young, one of the ten best cities under 250,000 people in which to do business, and one of the ten fastest growing metro areas.

Jim was born and raised to be a hardworking, persevering Kansan. Jim is the great-grandson of Kansas farmer Noah Sherow. After fighting for the Union in the Civil War, Noah and his wife Sarah made their homestead in Reno County near Nickerson. Jim’s grandfather Joseph Sherow continued the family legacy of building Kansas by running a general store and serving as Postmaster in Langdon. Joseph’s wife Rose wanted to create opportunities for her seven children, and she was instrumental in the building of a modern brick elementary school house in 1915. Rose’s youngest son, James “Pete” Sherow, upheld the family legacy of national devotion and hard work by serving in World War II, after which he worked for International Harvester and as a machinist. Together with his wife Dorothy, Pete settled in Maize, KS, where the two welcomed the birth of their first child, James “Jim” Earl Sherow, in 1951. 

From the moment he graduated high school in 1969, Jim has dedicated his life to the important issues that ran in his blood: National Service, Education, Agriculture, and Economic Development. After spending his freshman year at Wichita State University, Jim voluntarily enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1970. During the next four years, he worked as a domestic radio operator to keep American Troops in constant contact with US bases. He received an honorable discharge as a Staff Sergeant in 1974.

After leaving the USAF, Jim followed his grandmother’s footsteps in improving education for young Kansans. He graduated from Wichita State University with dual degrees in History and Secondary Education in 1976, and he received in Masters in History in 1978. After three years teaching high school, he went on to earn his PhD at the University of Colorado. In 1992 he joined the Department of History at Kansas State University, where he has spent over 20 years bringing Kansas history to life for thousands of students. 

Jim knows that the best way to solve the issues facing western Kansas is to first understand them. To that end, Jim has dedicated his scholarship to the agricultural problems that plagued his great grandfather and continue today. Jim’s award-winning dissertation explored the water developments and conflicts in Colorado and Western Kansas. He has authored five books on Kansas and the grasslands. His expertise in the agricultural history of Western Kansas came to the attention of then Governor Bill Graves, who appointed Jim the historian on the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review in 1997, where he remained until 2009.

Like his grandfather Joseph, Jim has long been committed to promoting the economic development of Kansas cities, towns, and homesteads. In Manhattan, the city where he raised his daughters, Jim has worked to increase opportunities for other middle-class families and small businesses. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Downtown Manhattan, Inc, and was immediately asked to chair its Economic Development Committee. From 2005 to 2007, Jim worked tirelessly to increase economic viability while preserving local history. He played a significant role in the successful $1.3 million fundraising effort that restored Manhattan’s Union Pacific Depot as a community facility. Together with local groups, Jim and his wife Bonnie restored the birthplace of famous Kansan playwright Damon Runyan. Jim and Bonnie have privately restored five historic homes in downtown Manhattan, listing four on the National Register of Historic Places.

As an elected official, Jim restored faith in good government through tireless work to improve Manhattan’s economic vitality. As City Commissioner and as Mayor, Jim’s excellence in reaching across aisles and creating a collaborative ad inclusive commission resulted in several years of unprecedented economic and population growth. Keeping the young citizens of his city in mind, Jim helped pass an initiative that revamped all three city pools and added a state-of-the-art zoo education center. He actively promoted the building of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, working with Kansas’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. Jim’s support of regional cooperation culminated in the creation of the Regional Planning Organization and the Flint Hills Regional Council, for which Jim served as a founding board member.

Through his time as an airman, educator, and community leader, Jim has always known the importance of family. He married Bonnie Lynn-Sherow in 1996, and together they are the parents of four daughters. A historian at Kansas State University, Bonnie teaches agricultural history and directs K-State’s Chapman Center for Rural Studies. In addition to supporting Jim’s campaigns, Bonnie has worked tirelessly for the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance and has served on the City of Manhattan’s Historic Resources Board. In 2010, Jim and Bonnie also became small business owners of the Daughters House Bed and Breakfast, which they run today. Together they are the parents of four daughters, along with their three dogs & two horses.

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commented 2014-06-25 00:34:42 -0500 · Flag
Sherow is the real deal. He embodies Kansas values. I would be proud to have him serve our state and nation in Congress.

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