Four years ago, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and its political action committee fought hard to keep professional anti-taxer Karl Peterjohn off the Sedgwick County Commission bench in what Peterjohn called a “political jihad” against him. In one of the strongest arguments against Peterjohn at the time, Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner said, “If his views were to prevail in this community, companies like ours would be hard-pressed to invest anymore in this community.” Peterjohn won, though, and by early 2010, then-chamber president Bryan Derreberry said “that is all old history.” Still, it was striking to see Peterjohn’s name last week on the list of endorsements by the chamber’s political action committee, along with his challenger for re-election in the Aug. 7 GOP primary, Wichita City Council member Jeff Longwell. Though Peterjohn hasn’t been the wrecking ball the business community had feared, in part because he’s mostly been in the minority on the commission, Peterjohn hasn’t really changed his views. The Wichita chamber PAC and its priorities certainly have changed, though.
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