Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Two Basehor area Republicans jump into race for commission

June 16, 2004

Two Republican candidates beat last Thursday's filing deadline in announcing candidacy for the Third District Leavenworth County Commission seat, bringing the total number of Republican candidates to six.

Two Republicans, Jon Gallion and Fauna Dean, both Basehor residents, were the final candidates to officially declare candidacy and will oppose Richard Brauer, Ken Rahjes, Marvin Torneden and Dean Oroke in an Aug. 3 primary election. Democrat Jerry Willburn has also filed for the position that Commissioner Joseph Daniels Jr. will vacate this year.

Gallion, who was raised in Ohio and moved to the area in 1989, said he chose to file by a signature petition rather than pay the filing fee to allow himself an opportunity to meet a variety of residents in the county.

"I got to listen to a lot of the issues," he said. "I told them that I had done my fair share of complaining for the last eight years and now had an opportunity to do something about it."

One important issue that elected officials will continue to face in the coming years is the prospect of the growth and development of the county.

"My objective is to encourage more business development in this part of the county," he said. "Hopefully, that could offset the tax base enough to not see an increase in the real estate taxes."

Gallion said business development and infrastructure development should go hand-in-hand to yield combined benefits to the county.

"If infrastructure is not adequate enough to accommodate new or growing businesses, then you are out of luck," he said.

Additionally, Gallion also said reviewing and possibly updating the county's comprehensive plan and fostering improved and open lines of communication between county commissioners and residents and media are also important factors to him.

Meanwhile, Dean, a fiscal conservative, entered the race by filing Thursday morning, just before the noon deadline. Dean said she would like to see Leavenworth County be efficient with its money, use existing and new technologies to its benefit and build on its relationship with neighboring areas.

"Leavenworth is not a county unto itself or an island," she said. "We need to remember that and work together with other parts of the Kansas City region and not stand by ourselves."

Dean said her work in the transportation division of the Midwest Regional Council, which involved working with many elected officials and providing a forum for area leaders, will benefit her greatly. She has, however, since resigned the position to avoid any potential conflict of interests associated with her candidacy, she said.

"The last 10 years there will be helpful to me fulfilling my role as county commissioner," she said. "I have seen all of the processes take place."

In regards to her campaign, Dean said she plans to attend meetings and events throughout Leavenworth County to make herself known to the voters and to appraise herself of the issues that concern them.

"I want to hear what concerns them, what the average voter thinks," she said.

"What I think is not important, its what the voters think that is important."

Now that the filing deadline has passed, the GOP candidates will focus their efforts on preparing for the August primary while Willburn will not face opposition until the November general election.

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