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The issues facing Independence aren’t flashy but still important, commission candidates say

Four candidates, including the current mayor, Louis H. Ysusi, are vying for two spots on the Independence City Commission in the Nov. 5 election. Their agendas include items that aren’t flashy but are important: renovating City Hall, selling the former hospital that’s serving as a temporary City Hall and maintaining the community’s infrastructure.

Read more about each of the candidates in their own words below.

Your Local Candidates: In Their Own Words Nov. 5 2019 Kansas local election

Independence City Commission

Editor’s note: To help readers make their voting choices in the Nov. 5 general election for local offices, The Journal, the Kansas Leadership Center’s quarterly magazine, sent out a survey to more than 250 candidates in communities where our magazine’s readership is the largest. What follows is information from your local candidates, in their own words.

Louis H. Ysusi, candidate for Independence City Commission

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

Running for re-election. I wanted to bring a different perspective to city government. Have been involved city through years of city commission meetings and thought I could bring fresh ideas and help implement changes that would move the city forward in a responsible way in adopting policies and expenditures of taxpayers dollars. I am also the first minority to serve in the capacity as a commissioner.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

Moving forward with renovation of historic 1916 city hall and building new living quarters to house our fire and EMS employees. Selling the former Mercy Hospital facility that is currently being used as a temporary city hall.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

Identify the specifics of each project with design and costs and a plan to finance payment to build and renovate facilities. Build consensus within the community as to the reasoning the governing body has selected this course of action and work within the community of taxpayers to buy into the project.

To what extent are you concerned about the future of healthcare in your community?

To a great extent

Do you see health care as being primarily a local issue or a regional one?

Regional issue

What role, if any, does local government have to play in ensuring the availability of health care in your community?

Making sure we have a good working relationship with medical providers in our city and county (Montgomery). Working hand in hand to make sure are policies help promote a healthy environment for medical providers to operate in an effective and efficient manner building partnerships with our medical providers.

How would you prioritize healthcare in comparison to other issues that you expect to deal with while serving in office?

Health care would rank at the top with meeting infrastructure needs such as water, wastewater, street improvements and tax relief a close second

Dean Hayse, candidate for Independence City Commission

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

Born and raised in Kansas, I earned an Engineering Degree from Kansas State University and an MBA from Texas A&M. My wife Jodi and I have raised six children and I have resided in the city of Independence for over 22 years. I retired from Cessna Aircraft as a process/industrial engineer. I spent my career identifying manufacturing improvement opportunities and applying a “cost vs. benefit” analysis and will be uniquely qualified to research and analyze urgent needs of the City of Independence, while also considering the long term issues.

I have served on the boards of First Leadership, Leadership Independence, Independence Area Community Chest and the Community Mission for Improved Housing. I am an active member of the First United Methodist Church and a member of the Rotary Club.

I do not have an axe to grind or a score to settle. I believe each of us has a role to play in making our city a better place to live. That’s why I’m running for Independence City Commission.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

Infrastructure maintenance. It is not flashy or exciting, but it is very important. We have some very good city amenities and services. But, we have not done a good job of prioritizing and funding the maintenance of the infrastructure. Good maintenance requires good processes and good discipline. This is particularly daunting because our city is not growing and maintenance costs are rising. We need to get the prioritization conversation started and then develop the processes to support those priorities.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

To get the prioritization conversation started, staff would develop useful life, and cost of maintenance or replacement for each infrastructure asset. The budget impact can then be projected. Citizens and stakeholders could then be engaged with focus groups or polling to develop priorities, and a strategic plan could be developed from their inputs.

To what extent are you concerned about the future of healthcare in your community?

To a great extent

Do you see health care as being primarily a local issue or a regional one?

Regional issue

What role, if any, does local government have to play in ensuring the availability of health care in your community?

The local government has the opportunity to intervene with incentives where services are non-existent and thus influence healthcare providers to participate. When Independence lost the hospital here, the city worked with Labette Health and created the right situation to encourage there state-of-the-art building project and was able to return emergency room services to the community. The city owned EMS services have very good response times and capable staff.

How would you prioritize healthcare in comparison to other issues that you expect to deal with while serving in office?

Third, behind infrastructure and staffing. We are experiencing a stable level of healthcare services with 4 or 5 providers active in the community. It is likely to rise to the top of the list should there be a shake out of providers or should Labette Health fall out of favor.

Jeri Hammerschmidt, candidate for Independence City Commission

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

Independence needs positive change. We need to attract businesses, promote growth and have positive attitudes while dealing with existing and potential future businesses.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

Promote growth! We need to have open minds and find a way to get to “YES” with our businesses and citizens. We need to be focused on what is best for our city.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

We have to have an open mind, be open to new ideas, be willing to work as a team and be focused on a positive future. We have to talk to people and see what they need and how we can effectively help them.

To what extent are you concerned about the future of healthcare in your community?

To a great extent

Do you see health care as being primarily a local issue or a regional one?

Regional issue

What role, if any, does local government have to play in ensuring the availability of health care in your community?

We need to always be thinking of our citizens and how we can help them. Attracting the right health care providers is vital.

How would you prioritize healthcare in comparison to other issues that you expect to deal with while serving in office?

Healthcare has to be a priority. Providers in the SEK area have stepped up and offered options since we lost our hospital which has given us more options, however, we still have a way to go.

The Journal did not receive responses to its survey from Independence City Commission candidate Anthony D. Royse. 

 

 

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