2015 Candidate questionnaire: James Blancarte, Linwood City Council
James “Mike” Blancarte is a candidate for Linwood City Council. He is running for election to one of two at-large seats against incumbent Brian Carter and fellow challenger Eric Koontz. Neither Carter nor Koontz returned their responses to The Chieftain/Sentinel's candidate questionnaire by the deadline. The following are Blancarte's responses.
Occupation: Supply Admin. Asst.-JC Penney Lenexa,Ks
Years lived in Linwood: 3 years
Previous political experience: No previous experience
Other community service: No community service
What made you decide to run for office?
I wanted to be more involved in the decisions the effect me and my neighbors.Ideas,suggestions and questions,serve no purpose when asked after the fact.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office?
My current position requires me to do a lot of purchasing.This involves dealing with a variety of vendors as well as individuals within my own company.Working with budgets and keeping spending in check,is something I deal with daily.
How do you plan to stay in touch with constituents if you are elected?
Living in a small town everyone is close by. Most often, if people have comments or questions, it's just a matter of a quick walk or drive to the next block.These days, with there being so many different ways to contact people, I'm always available in some form.
How do you think Linwood should plan for improving or repaving the city's streets and gutters?
Repairs to city streets, whether large or small, is a constant and ongoing necessity. Finding the necessary funding to pay for these repairs can be the most challenging issue faced by all towns, no matter what the population. Determining where the finances will come from, will ultimately decide when any plans can go forward.
What vision do you have for the city's future development? What do you think the city can do to make that happen?
The county of Leavenworth continues to grow. New housing is being developed each and every day. The city of Linwood needs to be able to take advantage of this growth. New business, no matter the size, will always benefit the citizens as well as the city, and can create a domino effect. One new business can result in making the city more attractive to all forms of future growth. The city can begin the process by keeping it an attractive, and inviting place, that makes people and business desire to locate here.
As you have been campaigning, what issue have you found is most important for constituents? How would you address this issue?
The main concern most people have is how will the plans for the city effect them. Whether it be the daily operation, or future plans the city might be considering,how it touches the citizens is one thing we all have in common. I must always remember that any decision I might make affects every person in town.
In your own opinion, what are the three most important issues facing the city? If you did not do so in previous answers, then please share how you would address these issues.
The most important issue I see in small town government is financial. There are always issues to be dealt with, major and minor. The plans for the future, both out of necessity and desire. Whatever the reason, finding the ways to finance these projects is always first. Linwood is no exception. Past and current city officials have found it necessary to be creative in finding ways to accomplish needed funding. I hope to able to continue finding the means to meet the needs of the community.
Community involvement in city plans and decisions is always encouraged as well as needed. People need to remember, it’s “their town.” Don’t wait to see what happens, be a part of the process. City officials can’t always know every answer. The idea you may have, just might be the right answer. There can never be too many ideas.
One suggestion I’ve heard over the past few years is to simply let the county take over many of the city's current responsiblities. It may seem at times this may be the easiest solution, however Linwood has managed to survive as a community for many years. Allowing the County to have major control over city issues, might not be in the best interest of the people of Linwood.