To the editor:
About a month ago, I posted on a Facebook group that is a spinoff of the old “Eye on Leavenworth” a graphic of state representative candidate Tony Barton promoting advance voting in Leavenworth County. That graphic was part of a series we’ve been running on our Leavenworth County Republican Party of Kansas Facebook group that has a picture of a candidate, that candidate’s logo and the information about advance voting. I’d like to tell you that the 906 members of the group noted the info and decided to go vote (and I hope most did that). But a few members were seemingly infuriated by said graphic and immediately started stirring the pot, making pro-Jeff Pittman posts and anti-Tony Barton comments. Every time I thought the commotion was over, someone would start it up again. They just could not let it go.
I used to be a member of the spinoff group until I answered a question about Tony during all of the commotion. Apparently the administrators did not want their membership to see my answer. I, and my posts, were subsequently removed from the group which is their right so no complaints here. But I do think that the readership of this newspaper might be interested in the question and my answer.
The question posed by a member was, “What has Tony done lately to help the community?” The inference being that the incumbent is widely seen throughout the 41st District. I answered with the following:
Is this a serious question? I believe you know that Tony Barton is a pastor. His church ministers to Leavenworth’s most disadvantaged citizens. On any given day, Tony serves his community by performing acts of kindness and charity ranging from replacing broken bathroom fixtures for a struggling young family to picking up prescriptions for the elderly to feeding the hungry a hot meal … and so much more that you and others will never know about. Tony is one of the most modest men I’ve ever met. He will never tout his service to the community – not for recognition and certainly not to sway voters. Like many who are reading this post, Tony and his wife work long shifts at their jobs to make ends meet. They don’t live in a beautiful historic home on one of the nicest streets in Leavenworth. Every penny counts in their budget. Tony doesn’t need to drive an old pickup truck to make it look like he’s one of the “working class.” He is one of the working class. He did not attend MIT or the University of Oxford in England for advanced degrees. Instead, Tony enlisted in the Navy, then went to work at the Nebraska Department of Corrections while he pursued credentials in ministerial studies. Service to community means much more to Tony than making an appearance at nonprofit fundraisers, church festivals and school events and then using the appearance as a photo-op to promote himself on Facebook. He also knows that while it is imperative for a state representative to engage with constituents to listen to their positions on the issues and to make oneself available as needed, the centerpiece of the job is to go to Topeka during the yearly 90-day session and vote on behalf of those constituents. Unlike Jeff (Pittman) who missed 14 days of session and 22 votes in his first term, Tony had a 100 percent attendance record in his first term. He made it there every day despite family crises, bad weather, migraines and parental obligations. And he never voted “present” either.
Tony Barton has my full endorsement. On Nov. 6, let’s vote to send Tony back to Topeka.
Editor’s note: Rett Rogers is the chairman of the Leavenworth County Republican Party.