OPINION

LETTER: Endorsements

Rep. Pat Proctor/Leavenworth

To the editor:

I enthusiastically endorse Edd Hingula and Griff Martin for the Leavenworth City Commission because we desperately need change at City Hall.

Two of the incumbents running this year, Commissioners Mark Preisinger and Mike Griswold, are the architects of the mandatory mask ordinance rammed through in a hastily organized meeting with less than 24 hours notice. They packed the hearing room with only supporters of the ordinance and then used emergency action to avoid giving the public a day to object. While over 40 of our neighbors protested outside, Preisinger and Griswold overrode the county health board, passing an ordinance that threatened to fine businesses if they didn’t enforce this ill-conceived mandate.

The third incumbent, Commissioner Jermaine Wilson, voted against the mandate but voted with Preisinger and Griswold for four straight years of rising property taxes, as well as an ill-conceived stormwater fee scheme that’s cost our local businesses thousands of dollars each year.

Reforms to our property tax system that passed in Topeka this year will give our city commissioners greater power and responsibility in determining how much we pay in taxes. And the land bank scheme the commissioners are currently hatching will give them the power to take away people’s homes rather than tear them down. These incumbents have proven that they can’t be trusted with this kind of power. We need commissioners who will act transparently and respect the will of the people of Leavenworth.

Edd Hingula grew up in Bronx, New York, in the Catholic school system before beginning his lifetime of service in the U.S. Army. After a three-year enlistment, he completed ROTC through Fordham University and returned to the Army as an officer, serving in posts from El Paso to Leavenworth to Germany to Korea.

As a lieutenant colonel, Edd and his wife chose to retire in Leavenworth because of the strong sense of community, low crime, good schools and great recreational opportunities.  After retirement, he continued to serve his nation, first as a contractor then as a federal employee, educating Army officers. Now retired, he continues to serve the community in the Knights of Columbus and veterans’ service organizations. He hopes to serve again as a city commissioner, restoring our voice in City Hall to make Leavenworth a better place to do business and raise a family.

Griff Martin was born and raised in the Kansas City area and has lived in Leavenworth, Kansas, for the last eight years. He is a successful business development leader, developing winning sales and marketing strategies for Fortune 500 and 100 companies. 

Griff is running for the future of his four children. He’s become increasingly concerned by the direction of our nation and our community. The government’s infringements of our liberties during the pandemic, exemplified by Preisinger’s and Griswold’s onerous mandatory mask ordinance, finally convinced him to run. His top priority is restoring transparency to the Commission to move our families and businesses forward with new opportunities in Leavenworth.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that local government – where the rubber meets the road – has the biggest impact on our daily lives. We need city commissioners who will govern with transparency and reflect our will in City Hall. That’s why I’m voting for Edd Hingula and Griff Martin in the primary Aug. 3.