Archive for Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Sheriff Nye rejects run for county commission

May 29, 2002

The field of potential candidates has dwindled for the First District seat on the Leavenworth County Commission.

For several months, Sheriff Herb Nye has contemplated running for the county commission post now held by Don Navinsky.

"I'm not going to do it," Nye said Tuesday. "Basically it boils down to: I asked for this job, and I need to see it through to the end. I'm not discounting what may happen I the future. I think I could lend something to the board of county commissioners a different light. But I'm going to finish my term, and then I'll weigh my options."

No one has filed for the commission seat, which represents northern Leavenworth County, along with portions of the city of Leavenworth. But incumbent Navinsky, an Easton Democrat, has said he will see re-election to a third term. And J.C. Tellefson, a Leavenworth stock broker, has said he will file for the seat as a Republican.

Two incumbent Republican state legislators from the area filed last week for re-election.

Kenny Wilk, Lansing, who represents the 42nd House District, which includes Tonganoxie, and Ray Cox, Bonner Springs, will ask voters to return them to the Statehouse.

For Wilk, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the 2002 session was particularly grueling.

"The bottom line is, though this was clearly a most difficult and challenging session, they're not all like this," he said. "We've got another couple, three years that are going to be pretty tough. Experience does matter in Topeka. I've reached a point where I'm better able to serve my constituents and the state."

Wilk, who is seeking a sixth term in the Legislature, will keep a keen eye turned toward the Kansas economy.

"I'm really very concerned about the next 12 to 18 months," he said. "It's going to be really tough. Our economy has not bottomed yet. We hope, by early summer, to reach bottom. It's going to take some time to work out of this."

Education, Cox said, will continue to be the bedrock of his campaign and his service in the Legislature. Cox, who is seeking a sixth term in the House, served as chairman of the House Financial Institutions committee and also served on the House Federal and State Affairs and New Economy committees during the 2002 Legislature.

"Education's always been a big thing of mine for 10 years," the 68-year-old former teacher said. "Two-thirds of our money goes for Kindergarten through Regents. This is something that should be a priority and always is."

Although legislators added $20 in state aid to local districts for each student, Cox said it wasn't enough. And the 2003 session likely will be tougher.

"It will be ugly," he said. "I think we're going to be facing even a bigger shortfall next year, unless this economy really turns around."

Even though the 2002 Legislature was contentious, Cox found it invigorating.

"It energized me," said Cox, who owns an investment firm with his family. "It did. I just realized that, my land, we've got to keep working and I've got to be there to do it. This last session really opened my mind and made me realize that we've got to keep another voice in there for fiscal responsibility. It's just got to happen."

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