Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Q and A with John Kanaga, candidate for JCCC Trustee

The Konnection recently interviewed John Kanaga, candidate for Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees in the April 7th election. Kanaga is one of 10 candidates seeking a position on the 6-member board which oversees policy and budget for the community college. You can find out more about Kanaga's candidacy at www.johnkanaga.com.

1. Why are you running for JCCC trustee?

Public service has become a passion of mine since I first worked on a congressional campaign several years ago. I have since helped others in their pursuit of this passion and I felt it was time that I got involved. I believe the purpose of a community college is to provide affordable and accessible education, which Johnson County Community College clearly does, and I intend to continue that tradition if elected to the board of trustees. This being said, the first meeting after the election will have the budget vote, and I will not vote for an increase in the mill levy. Increasing the burden on the taxpayer in these economic times would not be prudent, and we must look within to find the necessary fund for the college to continue at its current success.

2. What is the single most important issue you will have to confront if elected?

The biggest challenge currently facing JCCC and its board is the budget. It will become increasingly difficult in the upcoming years to continue the fiscal balance that has allowed the current growth and success of the college. With lower valuations the income from the mill levy will be lower than it has been in years. With the approval of a small increase in tuition it is important that the school looks within to find the money to continue its success.
A major opportunity for the college is an increase in non-degree programs for the residents and businesses in the community. For example a recent grant for a sustainability office at the college will directly translate into opportunities for local businesses to increase sustainability training through the school.

3. How does your experience and perspective qualify you for the office and how do you differentiate yourself from your opponents?

I come with a unique and new perspective to this board. I believe I have the most direct experience with the modern education system that this board governs. I have received two bachelor’s degrees (in economics and geography) from the University of Kansas, and am currently pursuing my J.D. at the University of Kansas School of Law. With this education I have developed an understanding and appreciation for an open and diverse environment at institutions of higher learning. I bring the unique insight of the consumer of JCCC’s product, and I will work tirelessly to ensure its continued excellence and accessibility.

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