Raised in Manhattan, KS, I am a local business owner and activist working to fundamentally transform the structure of our county government so that it prioritizes people over politics, to be human first.
New York University – B.S. in Sports Management, Concentration in Organizational Management
- Board member, Flint Hills Community Clinic
- Member, Manhattan Area Recovery Task Force
- Participant, Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program
The most pressing infrastructure needs are in healthcare. Northern Riley County residents need an EMS station. It can take up to 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive up there. Additionally, we also need to expand the role of EMTs to provide community paramedicine so that those who may have difficulty accessing medical services can receive preventative healthcare checkups in their homes. Lastly, the pandemic has exacerbated the current mental health crisis. We need to invest in infrastructure that'll allow Pawnee Mental Health to provide consistent services. A significant concern residents have expressed is how wasteful the county is with their funds and that they don't feel heard. This is why I support a participatory budgeting model that encourages residents to get involved in setting the county's budget. When the government places no trust in its residents, it makes sense that people distrust their government. It is time that residents are heard and have real power over real money.
As a business owner myself, I know the challenges that small businesses face in this economy. I know how to make tough economic decisions and how to be resilient. I have also been a champion for investment into locally-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and rural businesses. The first priority is to have a public health-driven COVID response so our economy can recover and attract and retain talent. We need to stop seeing public health and the economy as opposing values. Health experts, scientists, and economists have said that the sooner we can eradicate COVID, the sooner our economy will recover. People aren’t going to spend money in our community if they are afraid of catching a deadly disease every time they go out into public. Employers can’t run their business if their employees are too sick to come to work. We need an economy that is resilient and able to adapt to the public health challenges of this moment and our government must support that.
The county government is responsible for setting budgeting priorities, which affects our infrastructure, health care, and essential community services. What we choose to fund with our budget is a reflection of our values. The power to allocate funds for important community projects and services should not live with a few but should be a part of all of us. I promise as a county commissioner to put the residents of Riley County first when making budgetary decisions. This means creating a participatory budgeting model so residents can have a voice in how their tax dollars are spent. It also means making budgeting decisions that put people first. We have to make sure people’s essential needs are taken care of, and we need to make sure our budget reflects our people-first values.
I am a lifetime Kansas resident. I have been married for 45 years and have 4 children and 7 grandkids. I previously lived in Manhattan for 19 years and now have lived in Riley for 14 years.
I worked as an estimator & project manager for commercial construction. In this role I managed several projects at once valued up to multi-million dollars while coordinating work with subs, suppliers and our own work force to successfully complete projects.
In Riley we also had a small business for 4 years.
BS in Construction Science from Kansas State University
10 years as a City Commissioner for the City of Riley
Facebook - McKinley for Riley County
The most urgent capital improvement project needed is new EMS headquarters. The board recently had a facilities meeting with all the department heads. There are other needs but the consensus was that EMS had outgrown its existing space and they should be looking to replace it. I have a copy of a retreat report from September 6, 2013. This was to review the facility needs and priorities. From the report ”After considerable deliberations the general consensus was that a new EMS facility is Riley County’s highest facility priority and that a new location for such a facility should be pursued as soon as soon as possible.” Seven years later nothing has been done. They have been putting money in an account for this and have several million in it. A part of this would be to find a location for a north county ambulance.
The most important need is to keep the existing businesses viable until the pandemic recedes. It is a delicate balance to keep restrictions necessary to keep everyone safe without placing undue burdens on businesses. The county should work with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the cities of Manhattan, Ogden, Riley, Leonardville and Randolph to be sure the local businesses know all the stimulus funds available through local, state and federal authorities. Some of the small businesses will require help in negotiating the paperwork required to get available funds.
This year the way they are handling the elections has been effective. I prefer to vote in person but this year has different challenges. Some people are concerned about being around a number of people at the polling places. Things have changed weekly with the virus but the county made early decisions to make mail in ballots easier to obtain. Mail in ballot requests were sent to all with a postage paid return. The ballots themselves are also postage paid. This has allowed more people to vote how they feel most comfortable.