Responses are from the candidates and have not been edited.
Occupation: County Commissioner
Kansas State Board of Education, Chairman for two of the four years.
Sedgwick County Commissioner. Chairman for two of the four years.
Wichita Area Metropolitan Area Planning Organization four years, Vice-chairman two years.
Taught at North High School for 11 years. Sports announcer for North, then after retirement from teaching, began announcing for Northwest High School sports.
District Advisory Board V for Eight Years, Chairman Pro-Tem all eight years.
Metropolitan Area Planning Commission for Nine Years. Chairman two years and Vice-Chairman two years.
President Homeowner’s Association. Twenty Years
(Past) Boy Scout Leader for 30 years. District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver recipient.
Military Service: Enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968 during the Vietnam War. Promoted to Staff Sergeant in 1971. Attended Officer’s Training School in 1972, Distinguished Graduate and Commissioned. Served in both maintenance and operations for the Minuteman ICBM system. On the staff at Strategic Air Command and the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff a total of two tours. Served as a Squadron Commander and Deputy Logistics Group Commander.
Director of Maintenance for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to eliminate the Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Former Soviet Union. Worked in Russia, Kazakstan, Ukraine and Belarus. Retired after 29 years as a Colonel.
Married for 52 years this November. Two Sons, David a teacher at North West High School. He has three children, Brittany, Amanda and Devan, and our Son, Eric who is a principal in Nebraska. He has two children, William and Elizabeth.
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What specific Sedgwick County issue deserves your immediate attention and how do you plan to address it?
The majority of our attention revolves around the COVID-19 crisis. There are many issues involved in this crisis including testing, PPE, hospitalizations, infections, contract tracing, impact on minorities, staffing the Health Department and other critical departments, conducting the elections, starting school in the fall, and many more. In addition, we must ensure that we target the $99.6 million CARES funds to the best advantage we have to fight and recover from this pandemic. We still have to support the other elected and the courts, and we operate many other critical functions for our citizens including Aging, COMCARE, CDDO, Public Works, EMS, Fire and others. While doing all that we are developing the 2021 budget with a decrease in funding available.
What are your thoughts on how the County responded to the coronavirus pandemic? What would you want to be done differently?
As commissioners we must balance the health needs, economic needs and behavioral health needs of the entire county. We are transparent in the situation and post updates daily. We watch the hospital ICU bed situation closely. We have increased testing from a handful to over a thousand a week. We have implemented mobile testing. We applied for and received $99.6 million and are prioritizing how to fund the many needs of the community. We have authorized the hiring of more health professionals. We have flattened the curve for the hospitals. The virus is in our community and will be until a vaccine is developed. We are just now getting better information out to the community in different languages. We should have done that sooner.
How do you propose to help the local economy recover?
The County works very closely with our partners in other governments at the federal, state, and local levels. We partner with businesses, industry, and non-profit sectors. We support each of our cities and help them grow. We provide direct support to businesses who are in our community and those who wish to locate here. We partner with organizations such as the Greater Wichita Partnership, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Visit Wichita, the Zoo, Exploration Place, Wichita State University, and others to grow the economy and improve the quality of life.
What is your response to the Black Lives Matter movement?
All lives matter including the unborn. I grew up in the military alongside service men and women representing all races and backgrounds. We all took an oath to support and defend the constitution that was made possible by the Declaration of Independence where “All men are create equal.” I am proud that Executive Order 9981 issued on July 26, 1948, by President Harry S. Truman, abolished discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin” in the United States Armed Forces. Now we must make that promise a reality across the rest of our country. I am on record for supporting the Kansas African American Museum and the Black Chamber of Commerce. I am also proud of Sedgwick County for caring for all citizens through every office, and department in the organization.
What do you think needs to be done to promote social and racial justice?
Social justice is the fair and systematic treatment of all people regardless of race with safeguards in place to sustain racial equality. I saw that in action in the military, while I taught at North High School, and in Sedgwick County leadership. Our country is waking up to the reality that we must create a culture that fosters that fair treatment. I am advocating for the addition of Diversity and Inclusion Officer in the County. I know our numerous departments in the county support social and racial justice, and serve those in a time of need.
Are you in favor of law enforcement reform? If so, what should it look like?
County law enforcement chain of command is much different than the city. We have an elected Sheriff who is responsible for law enforcement, and our Adult Detention Facility. County Commissioners are responsible for ensuring our elected Sheriff has the tools, manpower and funding to carry out his extremely difficult job. We have a great Sheriff, that I completely support.
I have attended the “Use of Force” briefings provided by the Wichita Police Department and I voted in favor of a joint Law Enforcement Training Center at WSU that now trains all of our Wichita and Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Officers.
Describe your vision for Sedgwick County’s future and how you plan to achieve it.
We have a lot of work yet to do. That is the reason I am running for reelection. We are working on a plan to administer the vaccinations for COVID-19. Once we are past this pandemic, we will develop a plan to be completely prepared for the next one. We must get our economy restarted and people back to work, by working with our partners and businesses. We must continue to improve our infrastructure to support growth. Again, to accomplish that, we will need federal, state and local funding. We need to remember that quality of life is critical to recruit the young leaders of tomorrow to see what a great place Sedgwick County is to live, work and play. We must do all that and not raise taxes.