Q A Candidates speak out before election
Basehor city council candidates Jason Gorup, Iris Dysart, Terry Hill, Roger McDowell, George Smith and Jim Washington made the cut in the primary election Feb. 27 and will be vying for three open seats on the council in the general election April 3.
The candidates were asked four questions about their campaigns and were asked to be as specific as possible in their answers. Here are their responses:
How do you feel about your standing in the primaries?
Gorup: "Actually I was pretty happy with it. Having been a short-time resident of Basehor, I was pretty happy with it."
Dysart: "Optimistic. It's just something you can't predict. I really feel I'll be re-elected."
Hill: "I really was not overly excited or disappointed considering the low number of votes. It really didn't tell us much."
McDowell: "I'm comfortable given the low voter turnout and relatively small gap between first and last place."
Smith: "I was really disappointed. Obviously I need to get out and talk to people about who I am and what I've done around town."
Washington: "I was very encouraged to be first in the primary. It may show that people share the same concerns that I've been talking about in front of the council the past few years."
What do you think about the low voter turnout and small audience at the candidate forum?
Gorup: "I think that the issues aren't interesting enough for the citizens and I think that the candidates didn't really put anything out there for review."
Dysart: "Regrettable. I think council people have an important function and I just hope the voters would show an interest, vote and come to those forums to hear what we have to say."
Hill: "I really didn't expect a high turnout in the primaries. It's not a major election year. There are no bonds on the ballot, so that didn't surprise me. On the other hand, it's the job of the candidates to try to get voters to the polls. I was surprised at the low turnout at the forum but later learned there was an event at the high school that probably reduced the number of available audience members."
McDowell: "I am always disappointed to see low voter turnout, regardless of who is running or what is being decided. The right to vote is one of our fundamental rights as Americans and I strongly encourage all registered voters to make their voice heard in the main elections. I was not able to attend the candidate forum due to business travel, but I was disappointed to hear about the small audience. Overall, I'm concerned that the citizens of Basehor are not more interested in the leadership and future of our city based on the response we've seen so far."
Smith: "Again I was pretty disappointed. I do think, historically, turnout for primaries -- unless there is some heated issue -- is pretty light. I hope we see a bigger turnout for the general election because it's important people research and know who the candidates are. After all, they are the ones that are going to make the decisions that affect the city now and into the future. Again I wish that we would have seen a larger turnout for the forum. I thought that it was an excellent opportunity to meet the candidates and ask questions."
Washington: "Democracy needs the participation of everyone to make it work. There's nothing closer to our daily lives than city government. We need input from as much of the community as possible to get the good government that we deserve."
The field of candidates is separated by just a few votes. What will you do to sustain your position or gain those few votes to move into the top three spots?
Gorup: "I plan on getting out there, shaking hands and letting people know who I am. I am going door to door and eventually sending out a mailer."
Dysart: "To sustain my position I'm going to mail fliers, put more signs up and put an ad in the paper -- just something to remind people to vote for me."
Hill: I put out street signs in the areas I felt would be most interested in voting for me. I sent a post card out with a reminder of the election date. As many times as you can let people see your name and interest in the position, maybe that will help."
McDowell: "I'm conducting a standard campaign to get my name out there on signs, etc., like all of the candidates. I do believe my campaign has gained significant momentum since the primaries based on the positive feedback and encouragement I've received from many concerned constituents. The key is that the voters have to take an interest and evaluate the candidates based on whatever criteria they feel is most important so they can make a choice on Election Day."
Smith: "I'm going to get my signs back out. Then between now and election time, get out, knock on doors, introduce myself to people, hand out fliers, let them know who I am and make them aware of where I've been and what I'm doing."
Washington: "Obviously I'm going to work as hard as I can to find people who care about the issues in Basehor. I'm going to listen to what people have to say and what their concerns are. I suspect that many are the same as mine, and I might be surprised with others. I just want to get the pulse of the people and get their recognition."
What will be your main focus if elected to the council and how do you plan to follow through with this?
Gorup: "I want a community center for everybody first of all. There's a very large veterans community, and I think we need to build an official VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post."
"We need to get the police department what it needs. We need to offer better protection for the citizens and better protection for the officers. Why not give them what they need? The best bullet proof vests and cars."
"And, just make this government more user friendly. It's going to be very difficult to carry that out, but I think the key is to just keep going."
Dysart: "Three agendas and city council meetings per month are sufficient focus requiring a great deal of time. The agendas will be my focus and commitment for the citizens of the community for the next four years. There are so many new things coming at us constantly, and it's a forever learning situation. That's why my focus has to be on the agendas."
Hill: "There are so many issues that people are interested in. There are different people in different parts of the city that are interested in different things. As a councilman, you represent all of those people. My focus is to look at long-range consequences of decisions and stewardship. You're a steward of the affairs of the city, and we need to spend a lot of time and be influenced by long-term solutions rather than short-term solutions. I would try to make the decisions that have the best long-range impact."
McDowell: "My primary focus will be infrastructure such as sewage facilities and roads. I believe we have fallen behind in the development of our infrastructure due to explosive growth in residential building the last few years, so it's time to catch up. I think controlled growth and solid planning is a key to going forward to ensure our infrastructure supports the population."
"My secondary concern is with the ongoing development of the 24/40 corridor, in addition to the revitalization of the downtown Basehor area. I think it's important that we attract businesses and services that will better serve the needs of the people and make our community more self-sufficient."
Smith: "My main focus and what's been my focus is planning. I think planning is the most important thing you can do. When you do not have a plan, it implies that you are open to anything. A strong plan says this is the way we want it and we will only deviate from it if you can show that yours is a better plan for the people of Basehor."
"We've got to plan the expenditures for the city on not only what our taxes will pay for, but what we can afford. We need to be responsible and make the best use of tax dollars."
"It's important that we plan for zoning in the city because we rely on taxes. By zoning the city properly we can control the usage. At the same time, we provide desirable services that the residents want. By properly managing that land usage, we create an attractive, desirable place to live instead of a hodgepodge of things that don't fit."
Washington: "There are three areas I would focus on. First are the short- and long-term plans to the wastewater sewer system. I do support the council's decision to go with Burns and McDonnell for the plant, but I think we still need to do more studies to make an informed decision, then later explore a possible regional facility with the county, state and three surrounding communities of Bonner, Tonganoxie and Linwood."
"Secondly, I would make sure the K-7 corridor agreement is implemented and the development of the 24-40 corridor has the right mix of development, access and traffic capacity. I think it's going to be the main artery through Basehor, and it absolutely needs to be done in the right way."
"The third thing is to focus on development and work to revise city codes and subdivision regulations that make sense, then insist that they be fairly applied. Exceptions should only be granted when there's a benefit to all of Basehor. We need to try to attract high-quality developers that do high-quality projects."