Primary election to narrow field of candidates
When voters head to the polls in the Feb. 25 primary election, they'll be asked to narrow the field of candidates for Tonganoxie mayor and city council.
And voters in southern Tonganoxie will narrow a field of three school board candidates to two.
Four of the seven city council candidates will progress to the April 1 general election, while two of the three mayoral candidates will move onto the general.
Last week, The Mirror published profiles of these candidates: Ron Kampfer and David Taylor, for mayor; Tammy Bartels, Ron Cranor, Velda Roberts, James Truesdell and Lois Seelbinder for council; and Wally Brawner, Richard Dean, Kris Grinter, Rick Lamb, Ron Moore, Kay Smith and Joel Stinson, for school board. Following are profiles of the remaining candidates, except for council candidate Mike Weston. Repeated attempts to reach him have failed.
For Herb Robbins, the title of mayor would be nothing new. Robbins, 71, served as Tonganoxie mayor for 12 years, until 1999, when he was defeated by John Franiuk. Franiuk is not seeking re-election. Robbins also served eight years on city council.
When asked why he's running again for office, Robbins smiled.
"I've had several telephone calls, and I told my wife that if I collected from everybody who offered to pay my $5 fee, I could have laid off for the day," he said. "Quite honestly, I guess that I just thought that maybe I'd do it again."
High on Robbins' list is adequate water for the city.
"It's a big one," Robbins said. "I'm not sure I could add anything to what's been done, but perhaps I could give some direction."
Robbins is certain about one thing: He has no hidden agenda.
"I think one of the things that most people know me well know is I don't have an ax to grind with anyone," he said. "I'm not mad at anyone, and I don't intend to go in and clean house. It's not my nature.
Robbins calls himself a fiscal conservative.
"It's not my money," he said. "It belongs to the people in this community."
Robbins, who retired about eight years ago, works part time at Midwest Carpet and he is a substitute school bus driver.
He moved to a farm west of Tonganoxie 40 years ago, and moved into town in 1969. He and his wife, Wanda, have three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Jonathan Boone is no stranger to city elections.
The 30-year-old Boone, who has lived in the area since 1977, has run unsuccessfully two times for city council and once for mayor.
"I think the city needs to get back on track," he said. "I think the council needs to start representing the city and taxpayers, whether it's just the citizen on the street or the small businesses in town. I think we need to strive to be more business-friendly and get more new businesses to town."
New businesses would broaden the city's tax base, which could finance additional improvements to the city's infrastructure, including work on streets and the water supply improvements.
The union millwright has aspirations beyond city politics.
"I feel like it is a stepping stone to Topeka," he said. "I'd really like to go to Topeka."
He and his wife, Audra, are the parents of a 2-year-old and 7-week-old twins.
Position No. 1
For the past few months, Brian Daily has been stationed overseas with the National Guard. That has underscored for him the importance of public service, so he's seeking a seat on the school board.
He said he hears people complaining about problems.
"Yet I never see the people who are complaining stepping forward to do anything about it," the 31-year-old said.
His top priority is resource management. He's not convinced building new schools is necessary in Tonganoxie.
"That's not to say I don't want a new school," he said, "but I don't want to do that at a burden to the community. I want to make sure that if we do have to take that route, I want to make sure it's a necessary route, and not necessarily the easiest route."
The Wellington native said he's concerned that students who live outside the district may be draining the district financially because it doesn't receive property taxes paid on those out-of-district students' homes. He said he would favor evaluating a no-transfer policy.
Daily has lived in Tonganoxie since 1998. He is a Tonganoxie police officer. He and his wife, Megan, have a daughter, 14, and a son, 5. An infant son died a year ago from complications of leukemia.
Position No. 2
April Dohle believes it's important for a school district to be proactive, rather than reactive. And she believes she can help the Tonganoxie school district achieve that goal.
The 37-year-old said she's seen how lack of preparation in Kansas City, Kan., schools has haunted school districts.
"And now they're scrambling," she said.
She doesn't want that to occur in Tonganoxie.
"I tend to be a visionary in my thinking," she said. "I'm an entrepreneur, so I understand the importance of visioning and planning and being prepared."
She said it's critical children, parents and teachers collaborate to ensure children receive a high-quality educaiton.
Dohle, who has lived in the area about nine years, operates Gotcha Covrd Concierge, which provides time and convenience services, and project management and event planning.
She holds a bachelor's degree in organization management and leadership from Friends University in Wichita and a master's in management from St. Mary College. She and her husband, Tom, have a son, 12, and a daughter, 3.
Position No. 3
For the past several months, Leana Leslie has attended school board meetings, as well as facility improvement committee meetings.
It's been interesting, said the 34-year-old business analyst for Sprint.
"I see a need to continue what the current board has begun," she said.
That includes alignments in curriculum, centering on student achievement, ensuring the district is financially solvent and improving facilities.
"I've been watching how the facility limitations have been affecting our teaching staff," she said. "They've been forced to use their creative talents to over come that."
And she's concerned it's affecting learning. One example is the lack of space for computer labs at the high school and the elementary school. She wants the school board to look at the short- and long-term when carving plans for buildings.
Leslie and her husband, Ron, are parents of a kindergartner and a third-grader. For about four years, they have lived in the house where Leana Leslie's father, Charles Mitts, was raised.
She is vice president of the PTA this year, and chairs the annual carnival committee. She holds a degree in education from Kansas State University.