Stieben: Commerce secretary comes to Leavenworth County
Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Toland visited Leavenworth County last month, making several stops within the county.
The Leavenworth County Development Corporation coordinated Toland’s visit. His Sept. 19 tour of the county involved a breakfast reception in Tonganoxie, a meeting with city, county and state officials in Basehor and a business meeting and lunch in Lansing, followed by a tour of county industrial parks to promote industrial development. The commerce secretary also toured Fort Leavenworth where he met with military and civilian officials. He met the new warden, Shannon Meyer, at the Lansing Correctional Facility. The Secretary was given a tour of the facility during his visit.
Gov. Kelly appointed Toland to his current position. He previously worked as the director of “Thrive Kansas,” an economic development corporation based in Iola. Toland is a 2001 graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in political science.
During each of his public appearances, Toland delivered remarks touting his vision for economic development efforts in Kansas. Some of the specific issues addressed included workforce development, interaction between the state and local government and changes being made within the Department of Commerce. Specific to the Department of Commerce is the development of a state-wide comprehensive plan for economic development. Toland indicated that the last such plan was adopted in 1986. The Kansas comprehensive plan will involve specific goals, economic targets, and a re-branding of Kansas economic development efforts. During the LCDC board meeting at noon Toland presented a Powerpoint presentation that reviewed a history and timeline of economic development in Kansas and the founding of the Kansas Department of Commerce. The organization originally was largely funded by proceeds from the Kansas Lottery. The lottery has been a prime funding mechanism for economic development in Kansas since its creation in 1986.
Following a lackluster review of Kansas economic development efforts, Toland praised the new Department of Commerce vision calling it “best in class.” Toland stated that the vision is designed to be a team effort and that his agency is seeking a bi-partisan approach.
State Sen. Kevin Braun, R-Leavenworth, attended the Tonganoxie breakfast. He emphasized his desire to see local and state officials work together to bring good jobs to Leavenworth County. The senator was glad to see local leaders such as Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward and Tonganoxie City Council members working with county and state officials to seek a bi-partisan approach on economic development.
Other local and state officials there were Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, Tonganoxie City Council members Rocky Himpel, Curtis Oroke and Loralee Stevens and Linwood Mayor Brian Chrisentson.
— Stieben is Leavenworth County Commissioner for the Fifth District.