ELLIS, Kan. - Two Kansas politicians have been getting the kind of media attention in the last week that should make citizens of this state cringe with embarrassment. One of these Kansas politicians is a sitting U.S. Senator, and the other one wants to be.
Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Elections: February 2010
"Kansas needs strong leadership - now. Holland can provide that, without the political baggage his opponent carries." - Baldwin City Signal
TOPEKA, Kan. - After months of speculation about who would compete against Sam Brownback, Wednesday brought good news for the Kansas Democratic Party when Tom Holland announced his candidacy for governor. Already, endorsements are rolling in.
"Tom has what it takes to be a great governor and I fully support him. Governors are CEOs of their states and as a successful small business owner, Tom's experience in balancing the books and getting the most out of every penny is exactly what Kansas needs," Governor Mark Parkinson explained.
Holland's name recognition may not yet be as widespread in Kansas, when compared with Brownback, but as Kansans learn more about Holland's experience, they are likely to find him a worthy and impressive candidate for the job of governor.
GREAT BEND, Kan. - State Senator Holland's biography offers some interesting comparisons and contrasts with his Republican opponent U.S. Senator Sam Brownback. One of these men will be the next Governor of Kansas.
One area where Holland has a huge edge over Brownback is in business experience, time spent working in the private sector. Holland has spent 29 years in the information technology business, first working on a major IT systems initiative at the ATSF railway.
Sen. HollandHe founded Holland Technologies, Inc., an information technology firm in 1992, serving as the company's president. Holland is clearly a "private sector" guy, who got involved in politics fairly late in life to push for better education opportunities for Kansas children.
Senator Brownback's resume is pretty thin on private sector experience. He worked for a radio station as a broadcaster for about a year after his undergraduate work at KSU, and then went to law school at KU. After law school, he spent several years practicing law in Manhattan before becoming State Agriculture Secretary in 1986.
Brownback left the private sector permanently in 1986. Brownback has spent the last 24 years working for the government, while Holland continues to run a small business while serving as a part-time citizen-legislator.
"I'm standing here today to let Kansans know they DO have a choice for Governor. My name is Tom Holland, I'm a problem solver and a small businessman and I'm running to be the next Governor of Kansas!"
TOPEKA, Kan. - Announcing his candidacy for Kansas Governor before a crowd of supporters today, Tom Holland said he will use his small business experience to solve the problems facing our state.
"Kansas needs a problem solver with a business mindset for its next governor," Holland said. "I have a proven track record in running a successful business, making a payroll for over 15 years, creating jobs and bringing people together to find solutions."
Holland, joined by his wife, Barbara, and their four children, announced his candidacy near Lowman Hills Elementary School in Topeka. The location called attention to problems facing communities across Kansas dealing with public school closures and overcrowding.
GREAT BEND, Kan. - Senator Tom Holland is the opposite of a "sacrificial lamb." A "sacrificial lamb" is a metaphor that refers to a person or animal sacrificed for the common good.
If Tom Holland were an animal, a lamb would be the last species you would think of. The lion-hearted Holland has a certain swagger about him: call it guts, confidence, courage, ambition, or whatever you want. But he's not running against Sam Brownback to get run over. He's running to win.
And Holland's confidence is coupled with likability, two qualities that are usually mutually exclusive. When I was a long-shot candidate for State Representatives in 2004 against House Tax Committee Chairman John Edmonds, Holland treated me well, while also expressing respect for my opponent.
Chris BiggsTOPEKA, Kan. - As readers will recall, Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh (R) announced his early resignation on February 8th.
In the next couple of weeks, Governor Parkinson (D) is expected to name an interim appointee to take Thornburgh's place through the November's election.
Chris SteinegerPoliticos are speculating if Parkinson will appoint a Democrat or Republican and whether or not he'll attempt to influence the upcoming election by anointing a potential incumbent that will run for the spot in November.
"I am committed to naming a Kansan who can represent the office with honor and distinction while protecting and assisting Kansas voters and businesses," Parkinson said.
Meanwhile, replacement candidates (and appointment hopefuls) are queuing up. Chris Steineger (D) filed January 21st and subsequently asked Parkinson for the appointment. Steineger has served in the Kansas Senate for 13 years and currently sits on the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, Education Committee and Tax Committee.
Today, another candidate, Chris Biggs (D), entered the race. Biggs has served as securities commissioner for six years and is a former county prosecutor and public defender.
GREAT BEND, Kan. - A famous workers' rights leader (it was either Mother Jones or Joe Hill) said, "Don't agonize, organize."
Yes, candidate recruitment is off to a slow start for Kansas Democrats this year. However, nobody needs a permission slip to recruit candidates. Just start recruiting.
There's still plenty of time.
I helped recruit Christina Stein in the 112th District, and she's going to be good. I had Mike Laudick all primed for a rematch with Bob Bethell (R-113th), but sadly, Mike Laudick passed away suddenly. Now I'm looking for his replacement.
I have some feelers out for potential candidates against Rep. Mike O'Neal (R-Hutchinson).
OSKALOOSA, Kan. - Is Senator Brownback an unbeatable candidate for Kansas Governor? I don't think so. Many of the republicans that I have had the chance to visit with seem to think that he is a classic politician who doesn't know much about anything. I've heard time and time again that he is a lot like Jim Ryan in the case that he is only engaged during election season.
GREAT BEND, Kan. - Democrats who complain about House Speaker Mike O'Neal's pattern of using his public office to benefit himself, his wife, his law firm, and the clients of his law firm should recruit a Democrat to run against him.
The voters of Reno County, 104th District, hired O'Neal. And the voters of the 104th District are the only one's who have the authority to fire him. But O'Neal never seems to have a Democratic opponent.
Libertarian Ben Ferguson seems to run against O'Neal every time, and his showings of 21.7% (2006) and 18.7% (2008) are proof that not all Reno Countians believe O'Neal is in Topeka due to altruism.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and any officeholder will tend toward misadventure if he or she has no competition.
SALINA, Kan. - Latino voters will once again be a powerful force the upcoming elections. Candidates who want to court their vote will probably need to do more than just say a few words in Spanish.
Latino voters were pivotal to the victories of both President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats during the election of 2008. These voters are poised to prove pivotal yet again in 2010 in a number of battleground U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and gubernatorial races across the nation. Latinos are a core constituency in many less competitive districts as well, including Kansas.
A new report published by America's Voice says, "Candidates for political office in 2010, elected officials, and political strategists would be wise to not just look at how Latino voters are likely to vote this cycle, but why."
LYONS, Kan. - Mike Laudick and I became friends when we were both candidates for the Kansas House of Representatives, myself in the 112th District, and Mike in the 113th District.
Mike was interested in public service for all the right reasons. He wanted to help others. I last saw Mike at a Rice County Democratic Christmas party in December. After hearing a spirited speech by Rep. Don Svaty, Mike told me: "Marty, after attending this meeting, I've made up my mind: I'm going to run for State Representative again this time." Mike was excited about a rematch this year with Rep. Bob Bethell (R-Alden).
Running for office as a Democrat in Western Kansas is considered to be an exercise in futility by many. But as Mike told me once: "The important thing isn't to win, the important thing is to run." He was a man of principle who courageously stood up for what he thought was right regardless of personal consequences.
SALINA, Kan. - The policy to ban corporations from using their corporate wealth to influence federal elections, whether by making contributions or expenditures, dates back 50 to 100 years.
Everything changed last week. So much of it was undone last week by an activist right-wing Supreme Court. Not only will corporate interests trump individual or voter interests, but now global interests will trump U.S. interests.
Since corporations have deeper pockets than any citizen or group of citizens, the recent Supreme Court ruling gives corporations implied control over influencing all elections.
It may not even be necessary for corporations to actually invest in every election or even in the majority of them. Just the fact that 'they can' throw their huge war chests into buying ad campaigns is enough of a threat to effectively control candidates and legislators - and the laws that get passed.
In effect, our so-called elected officials will tow the corporate line because they will see this as their only hope of personal survival and continued employment.
HAYS, Kan. - It's been a great winter - that is, if you are an opponent of global warming theory. Bitter cold temperatures and plenty of snow makes this winter one of the most memorable in a long time. Some say that we're entering another ice age, and mastodon sightings have been reported in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.
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