OPINION

LETTER: Candidates for office

Howard Kirk

To the editor:

Our city and school board elections have reached a new level of polarization in Leavenworth. Recent political activities have Republican leaders creating divisiveness that may not have been seen since the days of Bloody Kansas.

I applaud County Commissioner Vicky Kaaz’s letter to the editor describing in detail the achievements of our three current city commissioners running for reelection. I cannot add to her words and her support of the incumbents, Mark Preisinger, Mike Griswold and Jermaine Wilson. I can only add that Mark Preisinger, supported by the other incumbents, is a principal reason that the federal government changed the per diem rate in Leavenworth which has resulted in five quality hotels being built in Leavenworth in the last 11 years. That is what I call economic growth for Leavenworth – many new jobs, sales taxes, property taxes and transit guest taxes that were used to pay for the recent Camp Leavenworth festival and the return of Melissa Etheridge, which were paid without using taxpayer money.

She did avoid one major point though, the elephant in the room. I have only lived in Leavenworth for 37 years, but never have seen one person create such divisiveness in Leavenworth as the 41st District Rep. Pat Proctor. In one email exchange with me he quickly, within five minutes, responded that I was not in his district. True, I live three blocks south of his district in Leavenworth. However, he is constantly attacking the employees and commissioners of Leavenworth and our school board.

Mr. Proctor is clearly an intellectual based on his many articles in military magazines and published books. I have read several articles but cannot afford his highly price books on Amazon. His wife created a wonderful restaurant in Leavenworth which he probably financed, but often takes full credit for its success.

Mr. Proctor has created a following in Leavenworth in a very short time. He has posted over 100 high quality videos on his Facebook page in the last year. However, no one can comment on the videos or his postings other than those he allows. Transparency? His video attacking the City Commission for paying for the recent Camp Leavenworth has had over 1,200 viewers. His message about taxpayer money funding the event is misinformation, or a lie, and he, as a knowledgeable state representative, certainly knows it.

My concern is that Proctor’s Republican candidates, who are undoubtedly wonderful Leavenworth citizens, are simply lackeys. The candidates did not attend some candidate forums I suspect because of Proctor’s guidance. In the We the People of Leavenworth County forum, the three Republican candidates spent a large portion of their two-minute allotted introduction in parroting Proctor’s speeches from his Facebook videos.

I am a Republican, but certainly a RINO after the last few years. Proctor has been endorsing “conservative candidates” for city and school board positions. We are in an election for apolitical, nonpartisan organizations and Proctor is advertising for “conservative” candidates – read Republican candidates. He clearly wants a few Republican folks to take over Leavenworth County. The Leavenworth County Elephant Organization, clearly Republican, has even paid for mail campaign materials for Leavenworth commissioner candidates – the organization’s leaders live in Tonganoxie and Basehor. Do we want them influencing the city of Leavenworth elections?

Who are we going to vote for? Experienced candidates with an incredible record for Leavenworth, or some nice folks who want to devastate our city’s budget while following the desires of their leader.

– Howard Kirk/Leavenworth