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One of the big debates that has consumed the race for the 3rd Senate District in the Kansas State House has been exactly who was responsible for pushing forward the effort to get cable median barriers on K-10.
On Wednesday, we received a letter from former KDOT Secretary Deb Miller talking about her recollections of who was responsible in bring cables median barriers to K-10.
Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson played a critical role. So did Sen. Holland. Both were involved from start to finish in the discussions that led to the installation of new safety barriers in the highway median. Rep. Anthony Brown simply was not. A review of my records and those of others indicate that he rarely if ever attended planning meetings and was not among those working to keep the issue front-and-center on my agenda and the department’s.
The letter was followed up Thursday afternoon by a press release from Sen. Holland’s office.
There were a couple of statements in the letter that were missing from the press release and we wanted to make sure all our readers saw those statements as well.
I want to make it clear that I wrote this letter at Sen. Holland’s request. But I agreed to do so because I believe it is important to clarify the record. I would have done the same for Rep. Brown had the facts of the situation been reversed.
Since the letter was originally titled as a letter to the Editor and to be fair to both candidates are entitled to an equal platform, we provided a copy of the letter to Representative Brown so that he had an opportunity to respond. In his response Brown said:
Let’s be clear here, Mr. Holland is still trying to use the death of a child for political gain. A tragedy should not be used for partisan political gain.
Previously I made public a letter from the current Secretary of Transportation Mike King showing my efforts to have safety cables installed on K-10. I have official minutes as well as saved email records but do not want to make a family’s tragedy a campaign issue. (Editor’s Note: You can view a PDF copy of that letter by clicking HERE).
I am astonished that a sitting State Senator would make this tragic death the center piece of his campaign strategy. The letter from former Transportation Sec. Miller even states she wrote the letter at Holland’s request.
Ms. Miller has a political axe to grind against me as well. I challenged her on several occasions about the out of control spending in her department and her lack of leadership in finding efficiencies. I voted against Ms. Miller’s nearly $1 billion transportation plan that required the largest tax increase in Kansas history to pay it.
The facts are simple. Mr. Holland’s bill failed in the Legislature. I was able to communicate our community’s desire to have safety cables built to the budget director and Governor’s staff. Because of those efforts the cables are being placed with no additional taxes or fees to pay for them.
Leadership should not be judged by press releases and TV cameras but by results. My opponent sought cameras and press releases I got results.
Miller was appointed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2004 and resigned to take a job with a private company in December 2011. The decision to place cable barriers on sections of K-10 including the Eudora area was made in November 2011.