Archive for Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Longtime Leavenworth County employee seeks commission seat in crowded Third District primary race

Smith pushing for transparency, efficiency whlie on campaign trail

July 5, 2016

Doug Smith has worked for Leavenworth County for 34 years.

It’s those more than three decades of employment and experience that have led the county’s current roads and bridges superintendent to seek a seat on the Leavenworth County Commission.

Smith, 54, is running in the Third District Republican primary against incumbent Dennis Bixby and fellow challengers John Matthews and Bev Hill.

On the campaign trail, he is carrying messages of transparency and fiscal responsibility.

“I believe in having more public input and not going into executive session for matters that should go before the public,” he said.

Smith also would like for all commission meetings to be recorded so residents who can’t attend the meetings still can check in on county business by viewing the meetings on the county’s website so people can “come home from work and see what went on at the meeting that day and watch it.”

And he favors more evening meetings so people have more opportunities to attend in person. Currently, meetings generally take place starting in the morning on Mondays and Thursdays.

Smith also is concerned about how sales tax revenue has been used. When the sales tax ballot issue came up more than a decade ago to fund County Road 1 and a radio system upgrade, there also was literature earmarking those funds for road projects. But Smith said those projects haven’t been addressed. He also has concerns about the county issuing bonds for a sales tax that doesn’t begin until 2017.

“I would be prudent with taxpayer money and not increase taxes and county debt,” Smith said. “And there appears to be a reckless tendency to sell these bonds for a sales tax we haven’t started collecting yet.”

If elected, Smith said he also would push for strategic plans being made for each county department.

A Tonganoxie High School graduate, Smith earned a degree from North Central Kansas Area Technical College before beginning work with the county.

He has lived in the Third District much of his life and has been a registered Republican since he was 18. His wife, Kay Smith, is a Leavenworth High School teacher and fellow lifelong Tonganoxie resident who has served on the Tonganoxie USD 464 school board for 13 years. Their children, Allee, 26, and Mac, 19, also are THS graduates.

Smith also currently serves on the Rural Water District No. 8 Board and past boards for District No. 9 and Public Wholesale No. 6. He is a member of the Kansas County Highway Association and is a graduate of the Southern Leavenworth County Leadership Development program.

It’s those civic-minded experiences that Smith said additionally help him as a commission candidate.

“People work very hard and they expect their commissioner to do the same,” Smith said.

Smith will be available to hear from more residents with a meet and greet from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Basehor City Park.

“What I’m hearing going door to door,” Smith said. “What the people desire is a more efficient government.”

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