instagram arrow-down
The Kansas Leadership Center Journal

Menu

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Salina’s growth an issue receiving interest from city commmission candidates

What will it take to position Salina for growth? That’s one of the issues that candidates for Salina City Commission are talking about in the run-up to the Nov. 5 general election.

Mayor Trent W. Davis and Commissioner Karl Ryan are running for reelection. Candidates James H. Bowden and Rod Franz are also running and joined Davis and Ryan in submitting survey responses to questions from The Journal. The Journal did not receive responses from two other candidates, Ben Pruitt and Jon R. Blanchard.

Read more about each of the candidates in their own words below or click on the jump link to read the survey responses of school board candidates.

Update: Click here for Tuesday’s unofficial election results as reported by KSAL.

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

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.

Click here to view survey responses of candidates for the Salina USD 305 Board of Education

Salina City Commission

James H. Bowden, candidate for Salina City Commission

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

As a Salina native, this community has had a significant impact in shaping me into who I am as an adult. As our town continues to evolve, we have remarkable challenges facing us to incorporate young adult perspectives into the decision-making process that will ultimately influence the future of our town. This chance to represent a voice that is currently under represented has encouraged me to reinvest in my community by ensuring that the people who will inherit Salina have a say in what the vision for our future looks like.

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.

I would like to develop Salina in a way that encourages young people to stay and engage in our community by encouraging policies that attract higher paying jobs and activities that contribute to a greater quality of life.

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.

The more we can be competitive with wages and salaries, the better chance we have to attract and maintain people here in Salina. We also have to keep an open mind to what innovative ideas are presented to us to solve these challenges, and act on those ideas.

Karl Ryan, candidate for Salina City Commission

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

I am a lifelong community member and part of the ownership of a multigenerational business. I am interested in promoting the growth and the social and cultural wellbeing of the community that has given so much to me and my family and the generation that is following me.

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.

I am interested in growing our community; making it the regional city of choice. To sustain our presence to our region, we must be able to attract our children, elders; millennials and centennials to our city by offering them engaging opportunities.This goes to infrastructure, build environment, educational opportunities, job training and job creation, affordable housing options, day care, events and opportunities that promote civic engagement and social relationship building. We must help the community to develop and grow a culture of association in new ways that fit a new generation.

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 must continue to leverage partnerships; we must use best practices to understand our best options and remember to understand who we are and the length of our grasp; we must continue to invest in our infrastructure. I will work to support the development of a well rounded housing stock. I will support and promote the educational opportunities in Salina. I will promote our parks and parks programming for the positive social engagement they encourage; the cultural effects they have on community health through communing with nature and deploying greenspace; and the positive effect the community realizes in economic development. I will promote a city that is healthy, safe and vibrant through a city organization that sees itself as a service organization and a staff that is energized for success and diligent and passionate in securing the best solutions and highest customer care. We will broadcast Salina’s story.

Trent W. Davis, candidate for Salina City Commission

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

I have served on the Salina City Commission for nearly six years and currently serve as Mayor. In previous roles as President of the local hospital medical staff, Salina NAACP, and Chairman of the (former) Salina- Saline County Board of Health, I am comfortable guiding an organization towards its stated goals. Moreover, I have placed the highest importance on effective communication, even when opinions are seemingly opposed to each other. Progress often moves slowly and there is room for everyone to be a part of shaping our future. No voice is too small, no opinion too insignificant.

I am running for reelection to maintain a sense of balance, fairness, and integrity in the way the Salina City Commission handles its business. Blind obedience to a personal agenda, retribution, and obstructionist behavior do not belong on this Commission. Salina has seen in the recent past how this erodes our ability to conduct business and maintain the public’s trust. 

This is not to say that I don’t have opinions on how I want to see Salina twenty years from now. But, the “process” is of utmost importance. I am able to communicate with different types of messengers, “meeting people where they are at ,” to borrow an oft-used term. I completed the Certified Public Manager curriculum at the University of Kansas in 2018, while serving as Vice Mayor. The knowledge and perspective gained on the technical and human resource aspects of municipal government have already been employed in my efforts to guide the process of setting the future course for Salina. I have much more to offer that will benefit our citizens, city employees, and the strategic vision for our wonderful city.

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.

  1. Alignment of our annual budget with our Strategic Plan.
  2. Where necessary, realign the Strategic Plan to adapt to the realities of the next five to ten years.
  3. Discuss the “Budgeting For Outcomes” approach to our annual budget and operations . Integrate over time if a majority of the Commission agrees.
  4. Create user friendly economic, social, health, and educational dashboards for Salina. Use trending to assist in good decision making.

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.

  1. Commissioners should participate in regular educational activities that improve their skills in listening, framing issues, soliciting input, administrative efficiency as a commissioner (e.g., parliamentary procedure), and subject matter unique to running a municipality (bonding, debt management, healthcare and other employee benefits, zoning, development, etc.)
  2. Reinfuse Citizen Advisory Boards with motivated persons operating under a clear mandate of mission and responsibility, chain of command, proper training in administrative and parliamentary procedure, and sense of purpose.

Rod Franz, candidate for Salina City Commission

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

Salina has been an excellent place to live and work the past 23 years, a safe and secure city to raise and educate my two sons. I want to give back to the community that has given me so much. I believe I have a unique blend of experience, education and skills to contribute to moving Salina forward. I will encourage civil conversation, continue responsible financial planning, consider issues based on benefits to the community and value citizen engagement.

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.

I do not have a particular “important” issue. Issues come and go, an unimportant issue today may be important tomorrow. In addition, every issue is important to someone. What is critical is how we approach addressing complex issues. We should listen to, value, and engage with citizens. We need to remain open to different or creative ideas. It is essential to maintain a long term outlook in financial planning, operational goals, and service excellence to guide our actions.

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 need to keep a forward, positive focus in the community. We should continue and expand traditional forms of participation: Open public meetings, open records, public hearings, news releases, social media sharing etc. We need to add to this by being more assertive about engagement–perhaps through the use of moderated focus groups or similar mechanisms.

The Journal did not receive responses to its survey from Salina City Commission candidates Ben Pruitt and Jon R. Blanchard.

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

Salina USD 305 Board of Education

Allan Lytton, candidate for Salina USD 305 Board of Education

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

I am currently the Captain at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy. I formerly taught government and history at Minneola High School. I have served as City Council President in Minneola and as City Commissioner in Hays, Kansas. I am a 2012 graduate of Leadership Salina and former attendee of the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita. I am running for office because I believe it is important for citizens to serve their communities. I am extremely proud of USD 305 and the support the Salina community has given to the district. I want to be a part of continuing that tradition while working to keep USD 305 on the leading edge of education in Kansas.

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.

Addressing the social and emotional needs of our students. Student anxiety and decreasing self esteem are problems that interfere with a child’s ability to learn and cope in the classroom. Teachers are the front line to address these problems, but are not traditionally trained in dealing with these issues.

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.

Increasing the number of trained mental health professionals on staff, or partnering with area mental health facilities to offer more services to individual students. Training teachers in best practices for assisting students in crisis, as well as ways to improve classroom culture so students feel they are a valuable part of their school.

Scott Gardner, candidate for Salina USD 305 Board of Education

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

I am Scott Gardner, and I am a lifelong resident of Salina, and I am running for the School Board to help support our children and teachers.

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.

I would like to see our educational staff fairly compensated for the work that they do.

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.

Clearly define our objective, and the need that it addresses. Collect and understand the data that reflects the concern. Analyze the data to clearly understand the problem. Develop a plan to resolve the problem. Set up measures to ensure the concern remains fixed.

Ann Zimmerman, candidate for Salina USD 305 Board of Education

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

My name is Ann Zimmerman. I grew up in Salina and am a mediator and lawyer in private practice. I am a singer-songwriter with four albums of music and about one hundred gigs each year in Kansas and elsewhere, some shows for adults and some for children, including concerts and workshops in Salina schools. My husband and I run a horse boarding stable north of Salina. I am finishing my first four-year term on the school board and am currently serving as president.

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.

A higher graduation rate is a high priority for me. To get there, we need to increase the sense of belonging for students across the board – preschool to seniors, low-income to high, light skinned to dark, girls and boys and every variation. If all students know they are cared for, then they can care for others and for themselves and are then free to learn, accomplish, graduate and succeed in life.

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.

As I have been trying to do so far, I will aim to keep everyone communicating with each other and sharing and implementing the very best ideas. I communicate often with our legislators in Topeka and in Washington. Our school finances have improved since I joined the board, but we are only finally returning to funding levels of ten years ago. More funding means we can increase the number and pay of talented people supporting and surrounding our students. We must not back track now!

Mark Bandré, candidate for Salina USD 305 Board of Education

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

As a 31-year employee in private colleges, a parent, concerned citizen and holder of a doctorate in educational leadership, I am very interested in participating in community involvement. The school board is a key piece of the infrastructure in making sure our communities develop confident, competent and responsible contributors who can shape our world for the future. Should the electorate provide me the opportunity, I look forward to serving and sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years towards helping Salina schools continue to prosper.

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.

Salina has been fortunate the last two years to have a very strong school board in place. The superintendent, administration and faculty are excellent meaning the school board can focus on assisting with details such as how to attract increased numbers of quality full-time and substitute teachers. The issue of financing our public schools remains at the top of the discussion list as well with this blending into ability to continue attracting and retaining quality teachers. Combining these issues into a focus on quality of life and job satisfaction for all employees is a key issue on which I hope to assist.

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.

Any such mobilization efforts must start with collaboration between the school board and administration while actively seeking input from teachers and parents. First working with colleagues to develop continuity of focus and then implementing listening sessions will harness the approach. Next comes discernment of budgetary possibilities and realities so as to enable realistic action. USD 305 is fortunate in many ways to not have significant problems, so diving into the key issues described here has the ability to make sure the approach is realistic.

Dana Kossow, candidate for Salina USD 305 Board of Education

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

I am passionate about children and I have always been involved in my own children’s education while attending USD 305. I believe coming off of 17 years as a parent in this school district. I have valuable insight into the unique dynamics of USD 305.

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.

Communication – As a board, we need to be open and listening to ideas that the new leadership brings to the table. We need to be in consistent communication with not only the new leaders but also with the staff, parents, students and community members so that the board can make decisions that best benefit the community we serve.

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.

I would continue the great work that the School Board has already started as well as continue reaching out to staff, parents and community. With the School Marathon Program, I am already in every elementary school every fall. I would like to be present in every school during the school year. I believe our best resource is the people on the front lines, who work day in and day out with the children we are educating.

The Journal did not receive responses to its survey from Salina USD 305 Board of Education candidates Cori Sherman North and Roy B. Miller Jr.