Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): The race no one is talking about

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The race no one is talking about

While everyone is busy fighting for seats in the Kansas Legislature, there’s one local race that absolutely no one is talking about. In that race, four Republicans vie for a seat on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners.

The job pays quite a bit more than the Kansas Legislature, and the board’s members spend millions of taxpayer money each year so it’s surprising to me how little has been written about the four men squaring off in a nonpartisan primary on Aug. 7.

The candidates are Benjamin Hodge, Steve Klika, Michael Lally and TerryPresta. All four are registered Republicans. One of the four will replace David Lindstrom on the county board.

I know very, very little about three of the candidates, and only a little bit about the fourth, Benjamin Hodge.

Hodge, of course, is a conservative who has served in the Kansas House and on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees. After one term in the House, he moved to run for a seat in the Senate. He lost.

Politicos tell me he’s “not a team player.” Whatever the hell that means. I know he’s occasionally rustled feathers for telling a Star reporter that JCCC board members violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act by discussing the budget in an executive session. The fallout probably cost him re-election to the college board. He also has a political action committee. I don’t know if he has a job other than running for office, but his conservative credentials are top shelf.

Presta is the chosen candidate of Lindstrom himself. A word about Lindstrom – he’s a former Chiefs player who now owns a string of Burger Kings. At least, I think he owns Burger Kings – it could be some other fast food chain. His daughter works for the Governor, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Lindstrom is leaving the commission for some cherry role in Brownback’s administration. Each of these things makes me think a tiny bit less of his chosen replacement. I despise the way all politicians try to handpick their successors. The practice leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Presta owns (or did own) a bunch of convenience stores. I believe he recently sold them all, but I could be wrong.

The other two candidates I know virtually nothing about. But from what little I’ve read, I can’t say I’m enthused. Klika told the Star that he’d like to see improved public transportation and better schools in Johnson County. I can read between those lines – that dude wants to spend more money. No thanks.

And according to his website, he’s won some award from the Mid-America Regional Council. I don’t want to sound like I’m wearing a tin-foil hat, but MARC is nothing but a front for the United Nation’s Agenda 21. Trust me, the road to hell is paved with the ideas MARC wants to implement.

The final candidate is Michael Lally, who said he doesn’t support tax increases at this time. That’s a start. In the past, he served on the Overland Park City Council. Based on his website, he strikes me as a very typical, common Johnson County politician. He says nothing controversial in questionnaires or on his website, but none of it rings quite true. Most tellingly is an answer about a new Johnson County courthouse. He opposes it, but only because the citizens did not support the idea on a survey.

I would suggest that perhaps an effort to educate the citizens at large about the condition of the courthouse is in order. My sense is that if they learned what I learned that they may be supportive of a phased approach to a new courthouse later in this decade.”

I am not a fan of politicians who think that if the people only really understood the issues, the people would agree with the politicians. It’s quite arrogant to assume that the people don’t like something because they don’t understand it.

Two of these candidates will advance to the general election after the Aug. 7 primary. Eh. 

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