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Shawnee County Commissioner District 2

Shawnee County Commissioner, District 2

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  • Candidate picture

    Kevin Cook
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    John Kabus
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What is the Commission’s role in ensuring all County departments carry out their duties in a fair and equitable manner addressing the unique needs of communities across the County? What specific steps will you take to ensure county services are available to all residents?

What new services are necessary to improve the quality of life in Shawnee County? What will you do to establish and implement those services?

What will you do to ensure that the public health system in the County is sufficiently robust to meet the direct healthcare needs of low income and uninsured residents while addressing the broad goals of public health?

What is your position on implementation of the County long range plan?

What will you do to ensure that the Election Office provides ample opportunity for voters to access voting opportunities, including expanded days and locations to vote in advance of election day?

Personal Biography Kevin Cook was raised in Paola, Miami County, Kansas. He earned his Bachelor’s from Washburn University in 1996 and his Juris Doctorate in law from Washburn University School of Law in 1999. Kevin is the County Commissioner for District Two in Shawnee County. Kevin is also the owner of Cook Law Office, a law firm located in Topeka. He and his wife, Julie, have three children–Sydney, Anastasia, and Anthony.
Campaign Phone (785) 215-1003
Campaign Email kevin@voteforcook.com
Campaign Web Site http://voteforcook.com
Education Washburn University 1999 Juris Doctorate 1996 BA Political Science and Speech Communications
Community/Public Service Kevin currently serves as the President of the Kansas Baptist Convention Foundation Incorporated, and Chair of the First Baptist Daycare Center. His recent and previous board involvement includes service as the Vice Chair of the Kansas Gaming and Racing Facility Review Board, Chair of the Kansas Child Safety and Permanency Review Panel, a Lt. Governor of the Kansas Optimist Clubs, Past President of the White Lakes Optimist Club, President of the Third Judicial District Criminal Defense Bar.
Address 1512 SW 3rd Topeka Kansas 66606
The County Commission serves as the hub of the wheel of activity in County operations. The Commission should at all times ensure that the services offered to the pubic are done so in an equitable and fair manner. As County Commissioner, I follow up with my department heads and the public to act as a liaison between these two parties.
The County Commission has actively worked to reinvest back into the community centers and parks that we have in Shawnee County and this should continue. I have actively worked with the improvements to Lake Shawnee, Dornwood Park, Hillcrest Community center as they all underwent major renovations. The next project to be undertaken is that of the Oakland Community Center and Pool. I look forward to the transformation this park will see over the upcoming years.
I am a member of the Health Access Board which works to ensure that those who fall between assistance and insurance are able to receive assistance with their medications. Further, I work with Grace Med and the Shawnee County Health Department to advance public health for those who may not have access to it. Finally, the Shawnee County Health Improvement Plan or CHIP is a roadmap of the work that the County Commission follows in advancing health care for the vulnerable in Shawnee County.
The creation of the Shawnee County Comprehensive Plan was a major undertaking for the Shawnee County Board of County Commissioners. This was the first comprehensive plan for Shawnee County. In fact, Shawnee County was one of the last counties to not have adopted a comprehensive plan. I worked closely with the Planning Director for its creation. The Comprehensive Plan met many obstacles in its creation and the County Commission worked to address the concerns raised by the opponents and proponents. Since the approval of the comprehensive plan, I have worked with the Planning Director to address the issues raised in the plan. I foresee that Shawnee County will be steadily moving forward in the implementation of the long range plan and I support that implementation.
I have asked that the Elections Commissioner work to make voting as open and available as possible. I have long advocated for opening the advance voting to weekends and evening hours. Further, I have asked that the Elections Commissioner to consider adding more locations for advance voting. It is important to note that the Elections Commissioner is independent from the County Commission and does not fall within the direction of the County Commission. As a County Commissioner, I have and will continue to advocate for more ability and opportunities for the public to take part in the election process.
Personal Biography John Kabus, a lifelong farmer, along with his wife Kaye raised 3 children in the Seaman School District. John & Kaye, like many parents were active in their kid’s school, scouts, 4-H/FFA, church and many other community projects. John served 25 years in the public sector as a Shawnee County Division Director and High School Agri-Science Teacher. After retiring from Shawnee County, John embarked on a new career and has been helping property owners as a North Topeka Insurance Agent.
Campaign Address 1947 NE 54th
Topeka, Ks 66617
Campaign Phone (785) 230-1562
Campaign Email johnkabus@gmail.com
Education Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education, Kansas State University; Master of Science in Agricultural Education, Kansas State University
Community/Public Service Shawnee County Precinct Committeeman, St. Aloysius Catholic Church Cemetery Sexton and Volunteer, 4-H/FFA Community Leader and County Fair Volunteer, 4-H/FFA State Fair Judging Contest Coach and Leader, Former Shawnee County Noxious Weed Department Director, Former Seaman High School Educator, Past President of the County Weed Directors Association, Past President of the NE Kansas County Official Association,
Address 1947 NE 54th Topeka, Ks 66617
The role of government is simple. To do for the people what they can’t do for themselves. The commission members need to serve, lead, and inspire. The 3 hours a week the commissioners spend in their meeting is the least important task of a commissioner. The heavy-lifting is done by the county’s employees. The county is full of good, hard working employees. They just need leadership, inspiration and appreciation. I believe it’s the commission’s role to listen to the citizens and make government accessible and work for the people. I would start with the weekly commission meetings. How accessible is the county commission meeting for working people at 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning? I’ll work to find a balance that fits the needs of citizens and Shawnee County Government. I also support County Legal Notices & Notifications be accessible through the County’s Webpage.
Shawnee County has actually lost population in the last 8 years. The Senior Class is leaving Topeka and not returning. We need to change our strategy in how we retain young people and work to attract businesses and their employees to Shawnee County. Other Capital Cities are figuring it out. Des Moines, Lincoln, and Little Rock are thriving, while we sit stagnate. As we plan our park development, we need to focus on areas were we have current or natural landmarks. Such as the Kansas riverfront, Brown vs. Board Historic Site, and Shunga & Old Soldier Creek Areas. As we budget for law enforcement and public safety, our county needs assure the citizens that our community will be a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.
As the Covid-19 crisis looms our county will need to thoughtfully manage the reserve funds and the federal supplements to bolster our public health initiatives. I support strengthening allocations for mental health, drug treatment programs, and to search out meaningful solutions to homelessness in our county.
I was opposed to the current plan and its implementation. The residents of Shawnee County outside the limits of the cities don’t want regulation and opposed this plan. Rural residents don’t wish for their city cousins regulating how they live. There is a deep misunderstanding how regulation of urban codes can affect rural areas and the impact on these citizens. This county needs to work on stopping the 3-mile planning/permit extortion before it increases any regulation of rural areas.
Election Day is just that, Election Day. It is the day voters can make our public officials stand for their job performance review. It is an honor to vote and I have not missed my Election Day duty in 35 years. I believe the county voter should have ownership in their right to vote and make the effort to participate. Our county has an excellent system of convenient polling locations, advanced and mail in ballots for those voters that cannot vote at the polls. I don’t support any sweeping changes to the election process. Please join me on Election Day to evaluate our public officials.