To the editor:
The Leavenworth City Commission primary is over and six candidates are left in the race for three seats. As we move toward the general election and candidates and their supporters start to make their case, I believe it is important to reinforce that local elections are non-partisan. In the short time since the primary, I have seen both parties begin to maneuver behind individual candidates. I would urge voters to resist partisan intrusion and vote based on who would be the best representative for the City Commission, not for a particular political party. Two years ago, there was a debate at the state level about making local elections partisan. Leavenworth passed the following ordinance (No. 7992), which states:
“General elections shall take place on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November 2017, and succeeding elections will be held every two years for all such governing body positions whose terms have expired. At succeeding regular city elections there shall be elected two commissioners for a four-year term and one commissioner for a two-year term. The candidates receiving the largest and second largest number of votes shall be elected for four year terms, and the candidate receiving the third largest number of votes shall be elected for a two-year term. All elections for the city of Leavenworth, Kansas, shall be nonpartisan.”
Here are some of the reasons for the city being non-partisan:
n Partisan politics should not come into play when it comes to trash pickup, whether you are safe in your homes and whether your streets are drivable and clean. Being a commissioner means being a good steward of community services for our citizens and encouraging and helping businesses create jobs. The only people that the local school boards and city offices should answer to are the people of our communities. I want a commissioner who will do the best job representing me, keeping my taxes low, while providing good service, and who will work in the best interest of Leavenworth citizens. Period.
n Those who are federal employees cannot run in partisan elections. That means that former Lansing Mayor Ken Bernard would never have been elected mayor in a partisan election (he was employed by the government when he first ran).
n One-third of our population is comprised of independent/unaffiliated voters. Even though they may be more qualified, it would be difficult to raise the money that either of the big parties raise for their candidates.
I believe that all our local candidates should run on their own merits. Let’s keep the parties out of our local elections and just support the best people to represent us. Please vote in our local elections.
Nancy Bauder is the mayor of the city of Leavenworth.