Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): O'Neal joins Chamber

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

O'Neal joins Chamber

This creeps me out.

Former Speaker of the House Mike O'Neal will be the new President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. I don't like it.

O'Neal, a Hutchinson attorney, announced his resignation from the House of Representatives last year, and now he'll serve in a cushy role at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

It's really, really tough to put my finger on exactly what bothers me about this hire. I'm going to make an attempt, but it's probably going to sound like a bunch of rambling, but stick with me.

First, O'Neal himself is a little bit of a creepster. He's got a few ex-wives that he seems to replace regularly with younger models. If you look at his former office staff, he also has a real gift for hiring young, attractive women who sport short skirts and thigh-high boots around the Capitol. Again, it's just a little skeezy.

Second, O'Neal's resignation came at a really, really odd time. Just when he was riding high on the political wave, he jumps off his surf board. Was he stepping aside for Ray Merrick? And if so, what favors are in the offing for the future for moving on?

Third, I've heard that O'Neal's goal is to eventually serve on the Kansas Supreme Court. If that's his goal, shouldn't he, I don't know, work in the legal profession?

Finally, a word or two about the Kansas Chamber:

I have a real disdain for Chambers of Commerce in general. At the local level, they run around asking for handouts. To its credit, the state Chamber appears to be more interested in economic liberty as opposed to handouts. But the O'Neal hire makes me question that assumption.

And then there's the re-shuffling of existing Chamber employees. Kent Beisner, who has been the CEO, will now be the Chief Operating Officer. This all sounds like make-work for lobbyists. It's not cool.

Also, the Chamber is well-known as a misogynistic lot. I mean the horror stories from the way women are treated in that particular organization is legendary, at least if the rumor mill can be believed. And that brings me back to O'Neal and what I perceive to be his pension for surrounding himself with sweet, young things and replacing his wives with younger models. Adding him to the Chamber mix creates a dish sure to leave a bad aftertaste.

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