To the editor:

Since 2013 it has been my honor to serve as Tony Barton’s campaign manager.   One of the first conversations I ever had with Tony once I agreed to lead his team went something like this: ME: Tony, who was the state representative for the 41st District in 1967? TONY: I don’t know off the top off my head. ME: Exactly. And years from now no one will remember that you were a state representative either but they will live with the results of your votes in the Kansas Legislature. Your decisions, not your name, are what will last.

As I write this letter it’s just a few days before Election Day. After reviewing some of the more interesting letters to the editor from this campaign cycle I thought I’d tie up a few loose ends generated by these letters.   

Before doing that, however, please allow me to give a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the Tony Barton campaign. Whether you displayed a yard sign in front of your house, knocked on doors, handed out literature, addressed envelopes, done research, lent prayer, put up highway signs, made a donation, or any number of other activities, from the bottom of my heart I thank you. Every member of Team Tony (and that includes all supporters) has brought a unique ability to our effort. We couldn’t have come this far without each and every one of you. If you haven’t already voted, please vote and get your friends to the polls as well.

As to the letters and the loose ends, here goes. Linda Schmidt, your letters have been the most diverting. Clearly you understand the use of projection. While condemning the assignment of labels and calling out juvenile behavior, you begin one of your letters by assigning a label to a previous letter writer whose letter apparently infuriated you. You accuse Republicans of having a “rapidly declining tolerance for individuality and thinking for oneself” while lambasting that same writer for having and expressing his differing views on your candidate, Jeff Pittman. Your letters are filled with disinformation. You write authoritatively as if you have insight into the thoughts and motivations of everyone from Sam Brownback to Pat Proctor, another voter who had the audacity to exercise his First Amendment rights. You accuse Pat Proctor of choosing the “cowards out” and turning “to the Leavenworth Times to gain some closure and to release some of his pent-up anger in a letter to the editor.” Wow! Pot, meet kettle. Ms. Schmidt, your use of Saul Alinsky tactics within your letters is not helping the residents of the 41st District in any way. Perhaps you should stop harassing letter writers and start voting. I do agree with you on one point, however. In your letter dated Sept. 28, you state, “The campaign between Rep. Jeff Pittman and former state Rep. Tony Barton is pretty straightforward and should focus on the decisions they made while in Topeka.” Truer words were never spoken. You go on to state that, “And like Barton, he (Jeff Pittman) is unapologetic for his record.” That’s good to know.

Bruce Wiley, please stop pretending to have insider information. You do not know Tony Barton or how he thinks. You do not know anything about the leadership or operations of the LVCO GOP. You have no understanding of why candidates have chosen to run for office and frankly your description of people as “so-called candidates,” “warm bodies,” “puppets,” and “disgraced and rejected” is as offensive as you are. You have no insights into the Barton campaign’s fiscal status other than what is public record at www.ethics.kansas.gov

Further, you do not have a clue as to why Tony Barton was not available for the Chamber candidate forum. To clarify, Tony’s “previous engagement” that he “claimed to have” regarding his availability at the forum was his job. Tony works shift work at a large distribution center in Kansas City and as amazing as you might find this, Tony was unable to get time off. We informed the Chamber president during the planning stages in September and offered other dates but Brandon Johannes decided to go forward with his date anyway. Mr. Wiley, I don’t know why you are as miserably dispositioned as you seem to be. I do not understand your apparent need to write mean-spirited and nasty letters. But once again, I offer you an opportunity to obtain a true understanding of the local Republican Party by inviting you to our monthly GOP town halls on the first Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. 

And finally, two short notes to Louise Bannister and Jeffrey Howards. Ms. Bannister, I wonder if you are embarrassed by your letter accusing Tony and his supporters of “following the Pittmans and taking pictures of them” and for trying to bring Christianity into the mix. You should be. The Pittmans know good and well that no one from our team is doing that. And you might also want to do your own research regarding Rep. Winn. Mr. Howards, I’m sorry that you don’t like my husband’s writing style and I’m still not sure how his letter to the editor regarding Rep. Pittman could be both an “attack letter” and “dripping with butterflies and rainbows.” Anyway, you state that you’re not a politician yet you are the vice chair of the LVCO Democratic Party. A bit confusing but since you are new to all of this (2016) I just want to encourage you to do your own research before towing any party line.     

Best wishes to everyone and thank you, Leavenworth, for another lively campaign season.   As always I remain available to answer questions or to discuss concerns and ideas at 808-225-3946.   

Editor’s note: Terry Rogers is the campaign manager for the Tony Barton campaign.