Daily Archives: June 7, 2010

Goyle officially launches Congress campaign with house parties and call for bipartisanship

goylePulling a page out of Barack Obama’s campaign playbook, state Rep. Raj Goyle is officially launching his campaign for the 4th District congressional seat with a series of house parties and calls for bipartisan cooperation in Washington.

Proclaiming “good ideas do not come with a party label,” Goyle unveiled his stump speech at a campaign kickoff on the porch of his east Wichita home.

As a Democrat running in a Republican-heavy congressional district, Goyle is hoping to — and needs to — attract independents and crossover Republicans in the November election. Read More »

Sedgwick County tax collections drop

moneyWICHITA — Sedgwick County revenues dropped more than expected in April, prompting officials to begin taking cost-saving steps.

County Manager William Buchanan said Monday he hasn’t frozen any positions yet, but is making departments justify new hires.

The county also is looking at not doing some capital improvement programs it had planned, and re-bidding long-term contracts that were bid a couple of years ago to try to get better prices.

Buchanan called these measures “preliminary baby steps of financial caution.”

Losses came in 13 major sources that account for 97 percent of the county’s revenue. They were heaviest in real estate taxes. Although assessed valuations were down slightly, the drop was due to people not paying their taxes, Buchanan said.

“There’s no harm that comes to folks not paying their taxes except you owe interest at some future date. And you’re not going to get foreclosed on your property until about 3½ years after the first time you miss,” he said. “This is a business strategy some people in this community use.”

The delinquency rate normally is 2½ to 3 percent, and is about 5 percent now, he said.

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Elizabeth Ensley files for Kansas secretary of state

ensleymugTOPEKA – Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth “Libby” Ensley filed today to run for Kansas secretary of state.

Ensley called for government photo identification to be shown by voters at every election to prevent election fraud. She promised that the requirement would not restrict the elderly and others who could legitimately vote but did not have photo identification.

“The politics of fear and intimidation end here today,” she said.

A Republican, Ensley will face off against former Kansas GOP Chairman Kris Kobach and J.R. Claeys of Salina, a former CEO of the National Association of Government Contractors, in the August primary.

The Democratic primary features incumbent Chris Biggs and state Sen. Chris Steineger of Kansas City. Biggs was appointed to serve the remainder of the term for secretary of state after former Secretary Ron Thornburg, a Republican, left to take a job in the private sector.

Thornburg has endorsed Ensley’s campaign.

Ensley followed her morning announcement in Topeka with a similar event in Wichita.

Among the supporters who attended were former state Sen. Pat Ranson and retired Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Marilyn Chapman.

Ranson served eight years in the Senate and was a longtime leader of the moderate faction of the Republican Party. She has largely stepped out of the spotlight in recent years.

But she said Ensley is the rare candidate “worth spending my time coming out of retirement to support.”

Chapman served 22 years as Sedgwick County’s top election official before retiring in 2003.

She worked closely with Ensley on election matters for years and said she thinks Ensley is the best qualified to take over the secretary of state’s duties.

Chapman’s duties as election commissioner required her to be politically neutral and she has not been an active campaigner for candidates since leaving the post.

“This is a different kind of endeavor than I’ve had before,” Chapman said. “I guess I feel more passionately about this race than any of the others that are going on.”

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