To the editor:
There is a very contentious race for the open seat in the 41st District of the state House of Representatives. The candidates have similar military backgrounds but are almost polar opposites in integrity, character and honesty.
Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold, a city commissioner for the past three years and president of USD 207 (Fort Leavenworth) school board, is a retired Army colonel.
Pat Proctor is a retired Army colonel with no political experience and is in partnership with his wife’s restaurant in Leavenworth.
I know both candidates, have talked with both and currently serve with Mayor Griswold on the Leavenworth City Commission. I have not agreed with Mayor Griswold on every issue which has come before the City Commission, but at no time have I ever thought his point of view was disingenuous or based in falsehoods. Mike Griswold’s integrity is beyond reproach. Unfortunately, I can not say the same about Pat Proctor.
I am a former Army officer and the defining attributes of any military officer are integrity, character and honesty. An officer’s word is his bond. An officer does not speak known untruths or speak to subjects of great gravity without knowing/researching the facts.
Having watched many of Mr. Proctor’s stump speeches on social media, I have found some of them to have had untruths and misinformation to the point that some people have called them lies.
Mr. Proctor said Grinders restaurant closed because of the high taxes imposed on them. I confronted Mr. Proctor about this posting. I asked where he got the information and he replied "I was told that by someone involved in real estate." Having knowledge of the business issues Grinders experienced which had nothing to do with taxes, I asked Mr. Proctor why didn’t he talk with the owner to get the true story. I chastised him a bit for posting a falsehood just because it fit into his political narrative. To Mr. Proctor’s credit, he did then contact the owner of Grinders and was told taxes had nothing to do with the demise and he removed the social media post.
Another falsehood Proctor maintains is Leavenworth has lost population consistently every year over the past 10 years. Leavenworth has actually slightly grown in each of the last 10 years. Mr. Proctor said his information is from a member of the school board and a county commissioner (who did not represent the city of Leavenworth). Why wouldn’t Mr. Proctor seek a source that has verifiable information?
In another of Mr. Proctor’s social media posts, he is in front of a Leavenworth house worth $60,000. Discussing the price of rents, he says the monthly real estate taxes are $150 per month – $150 per month is $1,800 per year. The fact is taxes on a $60,000 house is less than $75 per month and an additional $7 per month for the stormwater fee. Where does Proctor come up with the $1,800 which is twice the actual amount? Shouldn’t he know the tax rates for the district he wants to represent?
There are other falsehoods Pat Proctor has espoused all of which are meant to challenge his opponent’s qualifications for office. I believe these falsehoods reflect directly on Mr. Proctor in a very negative manner.
Integrity, character and honesty do count for me which is why I am voting for Mike Griswold. I know Mike represents the values of the citizens of Leavenworth and his opponent does not.
Mark Preisinger is a member of the Leavenworth City Commission.