The Leavenworth Times is beginning a series of candidate profiles ahead of the Nov. 7 election for city and school board offices.

The Leavenworth Times is beginning a series of candidate profiles ahead of the Nov. 7 election for city and school board offices.

The series begins with candidates for the Leavenworth City Commission. Six candidates remain in the race following a primary. They are vying for three seats on the commission.

City commissioners are elected at-large rather than by wards or districts. This means each candidate can reside anywhere in the city.

 

The candidates:

 

Michael A. Bogner

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired (civil service – Fort Leavenworth)

Political experience: Leavenworth Water Board (2012-2015), Leavenworth Planning Commission (2003-2015, served as chairman), Leavenworth Preservation Commission (more than eight years, served as chairman), Leavenworth Board of Zoning Appeals (more than eight years, currently serving as chairman)

 

Myron J. ‘Mike’ Griswold

Age: 66

Occupation: Operations manager/senior analyst, Parsons Corporation

Political experience: None, although I have been president of the Fort Leavenworth Board of Education, USD 207, since August 2009. I was appointed to the position by the commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.

 

Mark Preisinger

Age: 66

Occupation: President of Mark 8 Global Source

Political experience: Leavenworth Board of Education, 1997-2005; Leavenworth City Commission, 2009-present

 

Charles Raney

Age: 52

Occupation: City commissioner

Political experience: Leavenworth County alternate delegate 2010-2014, Kansas Men’s Leadership graduate 2013, precinct committeeman 2014-present and city commissioner 2015-present.

 

Lisa Weakley

Age: 59

Occupation: City commissioner/antique dealer

Political experience: Three terms as a city commissioner; first elected in 2003 and served as mayor from April 2005-2006. My second term was from April 2007-2011, serving as mayor in 2008-2009. Current term is from April 2013 to December 2017 and as mayor in 2015-2016.

 

Jermaine Wilson 

Age: 30 

Occupation: Operational Rations for the Department of Defense (government contractor)

Political experience: While I’ve worked closely with community leaders, churches and the police department in starting Unity in the Community, I haven’t been involved in politics. I will bring a fresh perspective and voice to running the city.

 

1. What qualifications do you feel are important for someone to serve on the City Commission?

 

Bogner: Value added – Over the past 35 years, while working for the Army, I have demonstrated proficiency in the following areas: problem solving, communications, managerial, public relations and professional. Commitment. I have dedicated a great deal of my personal time by actively serving on various appointed boards as well as an elected board. Open and honest communications. Elected officials have an obligation and a duty to represent the interests of those they serve.

 

Griswold: Besides love of city and desire to serve, qualifications in three areas are essential. 1. Education as evidenced by degree(s) in leadership, management and finance. 2. Experience as evidenced by holding positions requiring a focus on leadership, problem solving, financial management and governance. 3. Character traits of honesty, integrity and care and concern for fellow human beings.

 

Preisinger: A knowledge and love of the city, understanding of taxation and budgets, a desire to do what is best for the overall good of the city and not just a personal political agenda or accountability to special interest groups, being approachable by all citizens, being fully prepared by appropriate study to make the sometimes difficult decisions required, and representing the city in a positive, professional manner.

 

Raney: Government and/or political experience. I have kept up to date with city and county issues and have been politically involved on the local level for many years.

 

Weakley: With 12 years of public service, I bring proven leadership and demonstrated fiscal responsibility by keeping property taxes low while maintaining quality city services. Accessible to citizens. They have urged me to run, saying I listen to their concerns and support their issues. Ensuring a good quality of life. I have been proactive in business and housing development.

 

Wilson: You must have a desire to serve and listen to the people in your community. Leadership skills and the ability to solve problems.

 

2. What issues have you heard about during the campaign?

 

Bogner: Public safety (police, fire, code enforcement). Hiring, training, retention, “right-sizing” the departments. Address current critical problems facing the community (drugs, growth in the homeless population). Strengthening community relations/awareness. Economic growth, downtown redevelopment (growth/identity/image). New industrial park (attract new businesses as well as the creation of more good paying jobs). Partnerships (creating partnerships between all existing agencies to work together for a common goal). Transportation needs, highways, toll roads, Centennial Bridge replacement.

 

Griswold: In walking neighborhoods and going door to door, citizens tell me that nothing in Leavenworth really changes. I agree and am tired of the status quo. I also hear citizens’ concerns about the increase in crime, complaints about infrastructure (e.g., roads), city appearance and image, and questions about whether the downtown is ever going to come back.

 

Preisinger: Positives – new hotels in town, revitalization of various properties downtown and former schools/library into very nice housing opportunities; lowering of the city property tax by 40 percent, potential growth in employment opportunities with a new industrial park. Concerns – poor property maintenance and blight by a minority of home/property owners that degrades the overall look and property value of the city, crime, more money needed in street maintenance.

 

Raney: The issue involving homeless people is a real hot button right now. Crime and drugs are also hot issues, and revitalizing our downtown area, to which we are currently addressing.

 

Weakley: Improving the growth of young families by bringing good paying jobs to the community, promoting affordable housing development, supporting existing housing quality by updating the property maintenance code with fair and consistent enforcement, improving infrastructure needs with funding that is fair and equitable and addressing the needs of the homeless population.

 

Wilson: Crimes and drugs have been the top issues I’ve heard about during my campaign. The people want to know what steps are being taken for drug and crime prevention. The second most talked about issue was the lack of job opportunities on the northern part of Leavenworth.

 

3. What message would you like to send to voters?

 

Bogner: If elected, I promise to be open and honest and inclusive in all matters, fiscally and morally responsible in my actions and deeds, and committed to work as hard as I can to help revitalize our community with the goal of making Leavenworth a better place for families to live and work.

 

Griswold: I want to improve the quality of life for all citizens while putting Leavenworth on the map as a high-performing, vibrant and modern city, one our children and grandchildren will want to live and work in when they become adults. Working with citizens and fellow commissioners, I plan to develop a unifying, achievable and forward-thinking vision for the future.

 

Preisinger: My commitment has been and remains to work to make Leavenworth a great place to live, work, invest and raise a family. I will work for the citizens of Leavenworth to make this commitment a reality. I have the experience and work ethic to work with other elected officials and professional management of the city for the betterment of the town I have considered my home for the past 55 years.

 

Raney: Please vote for the one(s) who has/have proven to truly care about our community and our fellow citizens. It’s easy for some people to say things on TV, in forums and come out of their shells during election season. However, consistent actions should always speak louder than words. I have experience, and I have consistently stayed very active in our community.

 

Weakley: I am running because of my continued desire to help Leavenworth grow and provide opportunities for all of its citizens to thrive. This desire started with community activism. Going forward, I will work on citizens’ concerns and build upon our strengths to keep Leavenworth as a growing, vibrant community.

 

Wilson: My desire is to unite the people in our community, bring hope to this city and help create the change that is needed to help make our community a safe and better place to raise our family. I’m willing to work with the people and for the people. Always remember, together we can make a difference. God bless.