Tuesday, March 31, 2009
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.
- Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, owed $10,000 in taxes
- Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary, owed $34,000 in taxes
- Tom Daschle, HHS Secretary, owed $128,000 in taxes
- Nancy Killefer, Chief Performance Officer, owed unemployment taxes
Monday, March 30, 2009
Many of the county's cities have intense races for mayor and city council--some of the races could be characterized as bizarre, unpredictable, incendiary, and disorganized, such as the municipal races in Roeland Park and Merriam. As these races are officially nonpartisan, the Kenig Konnection usually refrains from making endorsements, however, we will take this time to highlight the school board races and the JCCC Trustee races.
For Olathe School Board, we endorse known Republicans Mike Poland and Jim Churchman, who are known fiscal conservatives who have worked hard to protect taxpayers while ensuring that Olathe schools grow and prosper.
For Shawnee Mission School Board, we endorse Cynthia Jarrold, for the simple reason that she is not Cindy Neighbor. Neighbor serves simultaneously as state representative and SMSD board member and we feel that she should step down and allow someone else to run for SMSD--her work in Topeka in the legislature keeps her busy enough, and serving on the school board requires additional time and energy, which she just does not have. We know very little about Jarrold other than her PTA experience, but we believe she remains a much better alternative to liberal Neighbor.
Voters will have the option of selecting up to four candidates for JCCC Board of Trustees. Jerry Cook, Bob Drummond, Ben Hodge, John Kanaga, Melody Rayl, and Stephanie Sharp are the known Republicans running for a position on the 6-member board. The ballot includes 10 candidates.
Soon, we will post an interview with John Kanaga, candidate for JCCC trustee, about his campaign. In full disclosure: Kanaga and I have worked together on previous campaigns, and I know Kanaga well--much more so than most of the candidates running for the position in this cycle, which is why I fully support and endorse his candidacy.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Next Tuesday, March 31st, the party and Michael Steele, the new chairman at the helm of the RNC, will face an early, crucial test. A special election will be held in New York's 20th congressional district, vacant after Gov. Patterson's appointment of Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand to Hillary's senate seat. The 20th congressional district is slightly Republican (+3 R) and was held by Republican John Sweeney until 2006, when he lost his seat to conservative, Blue Dog Democrat Gillibrand. The upstate district stretches along New York's eastern border, taking in the far-flung NYC exurban areas and the more rural areas, up to the Adirondacks, Catskill Mountains, and Hudson Valley.
State Assembly leader Jim Tedisco is running on the Republican side and Wall Street Businessman Scott Murphy is representing the Democratic party. Murphy faces fire for his Wall Street dealings, a major concern especially for New Yorkers who have lost many of their savings and investments in scandal-ridden Wall Street, which is practically next door to this district. Murphy's anti-death penalty views--even for known Islamic terrorists--have also been criticized. Yet, this is still a close race, with most polls showing either candidate leading by just a point or two.
We predict this will be a close race, and despite the millions spent by outside liberal special interest groups, we predict a win by Tedisco is the realm of 3-5 points. The Republican base will turn out, but the Democrats will have trouble producing the momentum and turnout needed on their side. If you want to help push Tedisco across the finish line and ensure another seat flips to the GOP, visit www.jimtedisco.com and make a last minute donation.
Later this year, the Republicans have great opportunities in November's gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. New Jersey always seems like fools' gold for the GOP, but every once in a while, the stars align just right and New Jerseyans eventually tire of Democratic party corruption (see Christine Todd Whitman's win in 1993 and re-election in 1997). Gov. Jon Corzine's approval ratings are at an anemic 30 percent. Corzine faces voters' wrath for slashing state jobs, raising taxes, and his former work for Goldman-Sachs. Polls show Republican U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is running on reform platform, with an 8-9 point lead over Corzine.
In Virginia, the Republicans have great opportunities in November's gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. The GOP has rallied around Attorney General Bob McDonnell in VA, while the Democrats face a crowded and divisive primary, and most polls show McDonall leading his probable Democratic proponents. A win here would be a major boost for the GOP, which has not held the governorship in 8 years.
Judging by recent elections in northern Virginia, Republicans have reason to be happy. In January's special election to fill Brian Moran's state house seat, Republican Joe Murray almost won, losing by only 16 votes in the heavily-Democratic, Alexandria-based district just minutes from D.C., scaring the lights out of local Democrats who never expected an election to occur with a margin of less than 20 points, much less an election with a margin of 0.59% !
Recently, a Republican almost won the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (for KC locals, this is similar to Annabeth Surbaugh's position as chair of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners or Scott Burnett's chairmanship of the Jackson County legislature). Since Republicans only hold two seats on the board in D.C. metro's most heavily-populated and most affluent county. Additionally, a special election just occured for one of the Board of Supervisors seats vacated by the Democrat who ran for chairman--the election was won by a Republican, a change-over in the previously Democratic-held seat.
A Republican does not need to win northern Virginia (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford) to win the state, but the GOP must hold their own and do reasonably well, remaining competitive. If local elections are any indication, the GOP may be more competitive in this region for this fall's gubernatorial race than in many years prior.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Blow #2: As he arrives in the U.S. for his first official state visit with Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is told Obama will not be attending the joint press conference that is planned, leaving the British scrambling to arrange a solo act for PM Brown.
Blow #3: The leaders exchange gifts--a customary tradition that should include thought and consideration as to the relationship between the two nations. Gordon Brown gives Obama a pen holder carved from the H.M.S. Resolute, a British naval ship commissioned in 1880 that carries great significance and sympolism for the presidency, as the famed "Resolute Desk" in the Oval Office was carved of the same wood and given to President Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880. Brown also gave Obama the framed certificate for the ship and a seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill.
Obama's sole gift to Brown? A DVD box set of some American movies, a set sold in big-box retailers, chain stores, and even gas stations across America. Even more embarassing, Obama does not seem to realize that Brown cannot watch the films in the UK, as U.S. DVDs are formatted for "Region One" format and will not play on UK DVD players, which are formatted for "Region 2."
The embarrassing faux paus extended to the exchange of gifts for the children between the leaders' wives. Brown's wife bought the Obama girls outfits from one of Britain's most trendy and upsale clothing retailers. In return, Michelle Obama had a staffer run down to the White House gift shop to buy a few toy helicopters for the prime minister's sons.
Adding insult to injury, when an Obama administration official was asked by a British reporter about this series of slights towards our most reliable democratic ally, the official responded:
There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."
This astounding and outrageous response, while verifying typical liberal disdain for western democracies and the moral relativist view that Britain is equal to Iran morally, should have been the topic of discussion by political pundits on cable news and should have even made local newscasts for the stir it caused across the Atlantic. But alas, you can hear crickets chirping--no coverage on this side of the pond.
Naturally, the British are miffed and the British press has reported thoroughly on this, while the U.S. press has conveniently ignored the story.
And just this week, unnamed British officials say the PM's office cannot get through to the White House in their attempts to coordinate the upcoming G8 summit. Their calls are unreturned and unanswered.
Don't believe me? You can read about it here and across the pond in these publications: here and here.
Some of the tantalizing pork:
- $200,000 for "Tattoo Removal Violence Prevention Outreach Program"
- $5.8 million for the creation of a "Ted Kennedy Institute for the Senate"
- $473,000 for the National Council of La Raza
- $2 million for the promotion of astronomy in Hawaii
- $143,000 for the Las Vegas Museum of Natural History (where Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid's son serves as a board member--mere coincidence, right?)
Money may not grow on trees, but at the rate the treasury continues to print money to fund corporate bailouts, spikes in social spending, and pork projects, we will need to start planting trees.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
To recap the list of Obama nominees with tax problems:
- Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner owed $34,000 in back taxes and interest on income during his employment at the U.S. Monetary Fund
- HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination after the revelation that he owed $128,000 in back taxes and did not report his use of a limousine and chauffeur on tax forms, giving new meaning to the expression "limousine liberal."
- Obama's pick for performance officer, Nancy Killefer, failed to pay unemployment taxes for her household help
The profiles in liberal hypocrisy continue. Is it any wonder Obama's approval rating was as low as 59 percent last week and his negatives are steadily climbing?