. My wife and I will celebrate our 52nd anniversary this November. We have two Sons, David a teacher at Northwest 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.
Civilian: BS Business and Education from Fort Hays, Master’s in Public Administration from University of Oklahoma, and 25 additional hours past Master's Degree. Military: Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College and numerous technical schools.
My civic involvement includes:
Teacher at North High School for 11 years. Announcer for North sports, after retiring from that position now I announce for Northwest High School.
Eucharistic Minister at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.
President Homeowner's Association. Twenty Years,
(Past) Boy Scout Leader for 30 years. District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver recipient,
Sedgwick County Commissioner, Chairman for two of the four years.
Kansas State Board of Education, Chairman for two of the four years.
Wichita Area Metropolitan Area Planning Organization. Four Years, Vice-chairman two years.
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.
Military Service: Enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968 during the Viet Nam 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. Missile Maintenance 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.
Endorsed by Governor Jeff Colyer, Kansans For Life PAC, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce PAC, Kansas State Rifle Association, Sheriff Jeff Easter, Sheriff Mike Hill, District Attorney Marc Bennett.
When I was the Chairman of the county commission I started the process to develop a new strategic plan. The commission recently adopted that plan. The mission we adopted for the county is to cultivate a healthy, safe and welcoming community through exceptional public services, effective partnerships and dedicated employees. The Vision is to be a local government leader in building public trust, implementing innovative solutions and supporting opportunities for success. Our values include, trust, integrity, collaboration, compassion and innovation. The strategic plan is further broken down by department for service to our community. That document is available on our web site and is the foundation for ensuring county services are available to all residents.
The Commission has been working on the 2021 budget since February. However, the COVID-19 issue has impacted the normal process to a great extent because of the massive response organizationally. To protect the vital services provided by the county and out of caution regarding the economic future, our proposed budget which we will adopt in August includes: no raise in compensation for any employee, no travel or external training for employees that are not required for mandatory certifications, and a continued hiring delay with the exception of key emergency personnel. That budget does not include any tax increases and no reduction in services.
We have several organizations within county government to help citizens. One of the major departments is the Department on Aging which provides services for older adults and individuals with disabilities to assist them in maintaining their independence and reduce institutionalization. Special emphasis is given to the needs of low-income, and minority residents to delay or prevent costly institutionalization. The department’s focus is on providing supportive services along with information and options that will allow individuals to remain in their home for as long as possible.
Another department is the Developmental Disabilities Organization provides single point access for residents seeking a variety of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Although many other departments are involved in helping our citizens, one critical department is COMCARE. They focus on behavior health issues, drug and alcohol abuse issues, and also on homelessness.
The Board of County Commissioners is also the County Board of Health. That roll has become even more important during this COVID-19 crisis. Even in a time of reduced budgets, we have been adding numerous positions to the health department to support their mission. Before this crisis, I took the lead to add a community health coordinator position back to our staffing tables that the previous commission had eliminated and directed that the county continue to develop a community health plan that supports all residents including the uninsured and low income.
On July 15th, I just voted to approve the addition of a diversity and inclusion position for Sedgwick County. Commissioners work closely with the other elected officials to protect the constitutional and civil rights of our citizens. We must provide them the tools and funding they need to support all our citizens. The County denounces racism in all its forms. All of our actions must reflect our core beliefs and values.
Since I was elected, Sedgwick County has adopted a Code of Ethics. We broadcast each board meeting on KPTS, YouTube live, and Facebook live. We broadcast our staff meetings on YouTube live and Facebook live. In addition, we have our staff meetings and board meetings available to view on our web site. We publish our legal actions in the newspaper and on our Sedgwick County app. During this pandemic, we take written comments that we review prior to each board meeting. We do still allow in-person comments if a citizen wishes to personally address the commissioners. We are available via phone and e-mail.
I’ve spent most of my life in Wichita working 40 years as a television news journalist. I worked 35 of those years as a reporter, anchor and in management. I’m proud to have won two regional Emmys for my work on the morning news show. I’ve investigated many issues over the years including local and state government. My work included covering the Sedgwick County Commission. Together, my wife Maggie and I have five children and three grandchildren.
Bachelor of Journalism from Missouri University.
Crop Walk, March of Dimes, Circle of Friends and The American Diabetes Association.
The Commission needs to make sure that standards are set and followed that are equitable for all residents no matter where they live in the county. The smaller towns in the western part of the third district need to be taken into consideration whenever policies are set. I would be in personal contact with the mayors and governing bodies of our rural areas, including the townships, to make sure they are being treated fairly.
As budgets tighten we should keep all departments and county supported entities on the table. An effort should be made to help find more private funding for these attractions. However, I would not want to cut services for our seniors. Our senior centers are a vital life line for some of our most vulnerable citizens. And most of those centers have not seen much of an increase in funding over the years. We also need to help those with mental health issues. By helping those with mental illness we will cut down on the number of people going through our jail system and free up law enforcement to devote their time to other tasks.
We should work to provide opportunity zones where housing can be rehabilitated or new housing built to help those who are in need of quality affordable housing. Incentives could be offered to developers who take care of that need.
We have seen how important our public health system is during the Covid 19 crisis. We must have a health system that works for all of us, including the needs of those who are economically disadvantaged. We must make sure our dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently to provide the information and care to keep our citizens healthy.
We should set policies that support diversity and inclusion. That means education and training our county employees so that everyone feels welcome. Racism can be overt or subtle. We need to make sure that we are fair in recruitment, hiring and treatment of all people to eliminate any unconscious bias that may exist.
The Commission should be transparent in all issues. The Kansas open meetings law must be followed and the county must make sure that citizens know what their representatives are doing. There cannot be any “behind the scenes” maneuvers with outside individuals or those in government to get a particular agenda pushed through.