SNCO District 2 Commission Candidates Talk Top Priorities

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Shawnee County is getting to know it's County Commission candidates.

Candidates vying for the District 2 seat touted their top topics at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Monday night (7/23).

Three Democrats are seeking the seat, Incumbent Mary Thomas, who replaced Vic Miller, Kevin Cook and Linda Armstrong. No Republicans are running.

Monday's forum was hosted by the Topeka TurnAround Team.

Kevin Cook says he will bring a level of professionalism to the job. He's endorsed by the Friends of Police political action committee.

Mary Thomas has already been at the job for 10 months, and says she's constantly working to come up with ways to do more without raising taxes.

Linda Armstrong says she has formal budgeting training and experience. She says she wants to make Shawnee County as family friendly as possible.

We asked all three to tell us their top priorities.

Kevin Cook:
"We get through our list of needs, we start running through our
budgetary process and by the time we get to the public safety, we've
run out of funds. And I think we have to change that and just turn
that around a little bit to where our public safety is the number one
priority in Shawnee County."

"You have two choices. You can either sit back and you can complain
about it, or you can step forward and try to make a difference."

Mary Thomas
"The county has some serious challenges before it. I am working full
time to find some solutions to those challenges. And I'm really
enjoying the time I've spent so far, and I think I'll really get into
it, given another four years to get after it."

"It comes from creative solutions, and either you can be on the
sideline complaining, or you can roll up your sleeves and get in there
and see what you can do about it. And I think I offer some new ideas
and some different want of solving some of the usual problems in
addition to the new challenges the county is looking at."

Linda Armstrong:
"We need to get more officers out on the street, which would mean
increasing our Police and Sheriffs Department. They need to start
walking the neighborhoods, and neighborhoods need to start getting more active with each other, not being this East Topeka, West Topeka. We are all a community."

"It's not about who dresses the best of who speaks the best. It's who
has the heart and who basically has got the willingness to stand up to
the vote box and say I'm ready to make the change and let's do it."

Two candidates are running in both primaries for the 3rd District Commission spot, currently held by Chair Ted Ensley, who is campaigning to be a State Representative.


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