WICHITA — When invitations recently went out for the Feb. 11 Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Chairman’s Lunch, three speakers were listed, but only two by name.
The third speaker is the Sedgwick County Commission chairman, who at the time the invitations were printed was not yet elected.
Now he has been, and it’s Karl Peterjohn. As in the same Peterjohn who in 2008 claimed there was a “political jihad” against him by the Chamber and its political action committee.
“I was the No. 1 candidate that the Chamber opposed,” Peterjohn says.
“Oh . . . that is all old history,” says Chamber president and CEO Bryan Derreberry.
“I’m trying to look forward and not backward,” he says.
The two meet for lunch about every five weeks.
They discuss business, economic development and community issues.
“I think that there’s a lot of common ground,” Peterjohn says.
“Karl is a very astute student of economics and taxes,” Derreberry says. “It’s been valuable to learn his perception of the world and what makes it tick.”
He says they “have a fun and vigorous exchange of ideas.”
“We’ve got a good relationship with Karl.”
So does that mean the Chamber is likely to support Peterjohn if he runs again?
“I think today we’ve got a good relationship with Karl,” Derreberry says. “I enjoy working with him. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.”