De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson cites experience in Kansas House race
Dave Anderson, Republican
Occupation: Owner of a commercial construction company
Children: Four children
Religious affiliation: Lutheran
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and in mathematics from Western Illinois University.
Experience: Mayor of De Soto since April 2001. Served as board member for the Kansas City Area Development Council. Past chairman of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties Council of Mayors. Served eight years on the De Soto Planning Commission, the last two as chairman.
Quote: “Now that we have committed to a tax plan that was passed last year, we’d better all roll up our sleeves and try to expand our existing businesses and also attract new businesses. That would raise the level, and all boats would rise.”
In a district without an incumbent, Dave Anderson says he has the edge when it comes to experience.
Anderson, the mayor of De Soto since 2001, is running for state office for the first time as he aims to represent the newly drawn 38th District in the Kansas House. He’ll face Willie Dove of Bonner Springs in the Republican primary on Aug. 7.
He said his time as mayor, as well as his experience owning a commercial construction company for about 30 years, gave him the edge over Dove.
“You don’t stay in business for 30 years if you make many mistakes,” Anderson said.
He is the only candidate for the seat who has governing experience, he said, and he said his record in De Soto, which he said is in “the best financial shape it’s ever been,” shows that he can handle taxpayers’ money responsibly.
“You tell me: If you gave me a dollar as a legislator, how will I treat that dollar?” Anderson said.
And his time as a business owner, he said, gave him an idea of what businesses are looking for. Economic development would be his greatest concern as a state legislator, he said.
“Now that we have committed to a tax plan that was passed last year, we’d better all roll up our sleeves and try to expand our existing businesses and also attract new businesses,” Anderson said. “That would raise the level, and all boats would rise.”
He said he would propose a “business roundtable” with companies based in his district to see how the state could help them add jobs or make capital investments.
“I’m sure that businesses have a lot of ideas for us,” Anderson said.
Anderson also said he’d like the Legislature to get to work on a school funding formula that will last. He’s heard for too long that the formula is “broken,” he said.
“Let’s just do it. Let’s get schools in: What do we need to change here so that we don’t have to be talking about this year in and year out?” Anderson said.
He said he would favor more local control of schools.
“I think we get better government the closer we get to the local level,” Anderson said. “Local school boards know better than the state board.”
In general, Anderson said he would keep his mind open to input. He suggested that might not be true of his opponent, Dove, who he said has “toed the line” of conservative Republicans and said he would refuse to raise taxes.
“It’s all ‘I won’t do anything,’ basically,” Anderson said.
Anderson criticized the conflicts between moderate and conservative Republicans, saying he blamed both sides for a legislative session this year that failed to accomplish its task of redistricting, leaving it up to a panel of federal judges.
“I have proof that it doesn’t work: We’re the only state in the union that couldn’t draw a map,” Anderson said.
The 38th District, which was left without an incumbent inside its boundaries after this year’s redistricting, covers parts of Leavenworth and Johnson counties, including the cities of Basehor, De Soto and Linwood.