Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2003

Woman weighing Senate campaign

August 14, 2003

Although an official announcement won't come for another couple of weeks, Jan Justice, a resident of southern Leavenworth County, is pretty well decided she's going to run for the Democratic nomination to the District 3 seat in the Kansas Senate.

District 3 covers Leavenworth County -- excluding the cities of Lansing and Leavenworth -- Jefferson County and northeast Douglas County. Sen. Bob Lyon of Winchester, a Republican, currently holds the District 3 position.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to run," said Justice, 53, a Democrat. "I believe I have the skills I think the Legislature of the future needs to have."

Justice said she'll make a firm decision by Labor Day on her possible campaign.

Her platform includes fiscal responsibility, workforce and small business development, affordable health care, education -- K-12, secondary and otherwise -- as well as working family issues.

In an interview this week, Justice said an "unhealthy balance of power," in the Senate as well as difficult times ahead are prime considerations in her choosing to seek the District 3 seat.

"We're about to face a very critical time in Kansas history," Justice said.

"How are we going to support Social Security? How are we going to support the work force? How do we make Kansas a state people want to stay and live in and raise their families? I think we need to plan proactively and not reactively.

"I think those things are badly needed in Topeka right now."

Helping burgeoning small towns such as Basehor and Tonganoxie -- the fifth and third fastest growing communities in the state, respectively -- develop is another concern and platform linchpin for the Senate hopeful.

"We can do a much better job of helping small towns grow," said Justice, citing that more coordination and cooperation is needed between the state and cities for funding capital improvements.

Justice is the executive director/CEO of Community LINC, a 15-year old not for profit corporation serving homeless and at-risk families in Kansas City, Mo. She has worked for the corporation for the past six years and in that time has noticed the lines of disparity between the low- and middle- classes become less and less.

"The middle class is disappearing," Justice said. "We're seeing more and more people we never would have before. If the bottom erodes, where do they go? Not many families could go three months without a paycheck.

"We can't look at politics as usual. I look through a different lens than a lot of people."

Her work with Community LINC has enabled Justice to work with a diverse group of people, the experience of which she said would make her an ideal Senator. No one should be left behind in government, Justice said.

Justice is also the CEO of New Idea Workplace, a fee-based service providing corporate recruiting, training, diversity processes and coaching. She holds degrees in agricultural economics, marketing and business and is an ordained minister. Other previous work experiences includes working as sales manager for DeCoursey Business Systems, now IKON Office Solutions, a Fortune 500 company.

"Every organization I've ever been in I've been able to make a difference," Justice said.

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