Archive for Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Incumbent Bixby hopes for another term as crowded primary looms Tuesday

July 26, 2016

Dennis Bixby is seeking a second term as the Leavenworth County Commission’s Third District representative because there is more he’d like to accomplish.

“I got a lot of stuff done, but that four years went really, really quick,” Bixby said.

The Republican incumbent faces plenty of competition in the primary, which likely will decide who will have the seat for the next four years. There are no Democrats awaiting in the general election. Challengers are John Matthews of Basehor and Bev Hill and Doug Smith of Tonganoxie.

Bixby, 55, defeated Democrat and former Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez in 2012 for his first term. Bixby was serving on the Tonganoxie City Council when he ran for county commission.

A graduate of Fort Hays State University with a degree in industrial technology, Bixby served for more than 25 years as a construction project manager. When he’s not involved in commission duties, he works at his home business of tool sharpening and wood carvings. He also helped in tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo., and West Liberty, Ky.

He also is the northeast Kansas director for the Kansas County Commissioners Association.

Originally from Silver Lake, Bixby lives in Tonganoxie with his wife, Denise. Their daughter, Amanda, died in a vehicle accident near Basehor in 2007 at the age of 19.

Bixby said he was proud of initiating a social media presence for various county agencies and working with others to create guidelines for use. He said it took some time to initiate, stressing that with any decision it requires one of the other two commissioners also being on board with a decision.

The county commissioner said roads would continue to be a top priority if he were elected, noting that the county has 900 miles of roads, but only 200 are paved currently.

He said he also is working with others on a marketing plan for the county that not only would involve industrial park development but possibly travel, tourism and retail also. He said that’s in the early stages of development, but said he’s been trying to get it launched for much of his term.

The commission recently pledged money toward infrastructure at the industrial Park on Eisenhower in Leavenworth and the industrial park south of Tonganoxie for a total of roughly $10 million, though Bixby said exact amounts still were being determined.

He said he would like to continue to represent residents in the southern portion of the county, which includes Tonganoxie, Basehor and Linwood.

“You have a lot of interaction with other county and state government agencies, and the idea that it’s a part-time job I think is somewhat of a myth,” he said. “Because if you want to do it and do it well, it’s definitely a full-time job.”

Bixby also has not voted for a property tax increase while on the commission, contending that other measures can be explored to cover county costs.

Primaries are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday at polling sites throughout the county.


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