OPINION

LETTER: Support for incumbents

Sen. Jeff Pittman

To the editor:

While I have been asked, I have chosen not to endorse candidates this election. Other politicians are actively pushing candidates in a bid to politicize nonpartisan races at the local level. That said, I will share some thoughts on why I’m casting my vote for the incumbents – Preisinger, Griswold and Wilson – in the Leavenworth City Commission race.  In a time of division, I can tell you that the current group of commissioners work well together and that’s something I certainly value. They bring varied viewpoints, different life experiences, yet they each have a long, local connection. I believe that voting them back in is much better than rolling the dice on newcomers. Continuity and stability are essential as we continue to invest in key areas like the Metropolitan development area and position our industrial parks for high-value manufacturing, and the renovation of downtown lofts and Price Chopper. When guests from across the state come to town, they inevitably talk about the vibrant downtown, the historic aspect of the city and our many engaging and entertaining community events. Northeast Kansas will continue to grow, and Leavenworth will continue to be at the forefront. In the past few years, I have been impressed with how, under the watchful eye of the current commission, the city has invested in miles and miles of road improvements and drainage modernization. The city supports programs that get statewide attention like the Leavenworth Main Street program and the Grow Leavenworth initiatives. I also appreciate that for the first time in history, the current commission put in place a rental coordinator whose focus is on resolving issues for renters and landlords, a key challenge during the pandemic.  While I haven’t always agreed with decisions each has made on one policy or another, I can focus on the strengths of each, which is better than the unknown alternatives at this time. Strengths such as Mr. Preisinger’s business acumen, deep Leavenworth roots and early military service; Mr. Griswold’s lengthy school board experience, devout leadership in the mental health task force and years of service as an Army officer; and Mr. Wilson’s role as a community unifier, an advocate for the youth, someone who understands the perspective of the underrepresented and brings his personal story of inspirational redemption. Each brings something unique and valuable. I see them time and again showing up, whether it’s feeding the needy in churches, supporting the schools or scholarship fundraisers, civic entertainment events and much more. They are approachable, knowledgeable and put in the extra time to be a part of the community. There’s a lot to be said for those who show up to be a part of the community and those who show up to divide.

– Sen. Jeff Pittman/Leavenworth