OPINION

Proctor: Reflecting on first legislative session

Pat Proctor
Shown is Kansas state representative Pat Proctor.

My first legislative session serving you as your State Representative is over. We accomplished a ton of important priorities for our city. But there is a very important decisions being made right here in Leavenworth in the next few weeks that I wanted to make sure you know about.

Rep. Pat Proctor

During this first legislative session, there were two votes that I was especially proud to take on your behalf.  The first was to restore accountability to our property tax system. Previously, county and city commissioners and school board members could evade responsibility for skyrocketing property taxes, keeping mill levies “flat” while still raking in huge revenue windfalls as unelected county assessors raised property valuations each year by many times the rate of inflation.  After the reforms we implemented — with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in each house — these local elected officials have to actually raise their hand and vote to raise your taxes or the mill levy will automatically drop so that our property tax rates actually stay flat.

Another vote I was honored to take on your behalf this session was reform to the Kansas Emergency Management Act that restore your voice, through your elected representatives, in the response to the pandemic. Previously, the Governor and unelected bureaucrats at the state and county level, had unrestrained power, with no checks or balances, to shut down businesses, impose restrictions on your liberty, or mandate medical measures. Our reforms restored your voice, through your elected legislators and county commissioners, the people entrusted by our Constitution to balance the edicts of bureaucrats against the violence those measures will do to our economy and our liberty. 

But all of these critical reforms only work if we have good people serving in our local government, our city commissions and school boards. Even with the dramatic reforms, the Legislature has made to our property tax system, our property taxes will continue to rise if our school board members and city commissioners put the interests of administrators and department heads before the concerns of retired residents on fixed incomes who are in danger of losing their homes because of rising property taxes. And it won’t matter that we gave the county commission the power to opt-out of Covid mandates if our city commissioners ignore the will of their citizens, suppress dissent, and ram the mandates through as ordinances anyway.

That’s why I am urging each and every one of you to get out and vote!  Primary elections for the Leavenworth City Commission and Lansing School Board are going on right now — from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the County Court House. Or you can vote on primary election day, August 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  And don’t forget to get back out to vote on November 2 in the general election.

Thank you for your letters, emails, and phone calls. And thank you for your prayers for my family and me. I am humbled and honored to serve you as your State Representative in Topeka.

Pat Proctor is a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for the 41st District.