Saturday, February 16, 2013

CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jarvis Collier, UG District 5

We continue taking a look at the political candidates for Wyandotte County offices today with Rev. Jarvis Collier, who's running for the Unified Government's 5th District position against incumbent Mike Kane.

1. What in your background (or what experience) makes you believe you are qualified to serve as UG commissioner for Wyandotte County?

I am a native of Los Angeles, Calif. I am a graduate of the University of California, UCLA, with a BA in Political Science. Additionally, I received the MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. I have other Graduate Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have written five books being used in churches across America.

I have been a resident of KCK since 2000. I came to serve as Pastor of the 146-year-old Pleasant Green Baptist Church. Over 13 years, we have served well in the community: feeding over 2,000 individuals/families each year; establishing a Christian School; annual blood drives (American Red Cross); and,we developed Northeast Junior High School into 43 units of senior housing.

Additionally I have served as Chairman of the Board for the United Way of Wyandotte County (2007-2008). I have met with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback regarding public education. Later, I testified before the Kansas Senate Education Committee. In consultation with US Rep. Kevin Yoder, US Senator Jerry Moran and other officials, I raised important concerns.

During the recent controversy regarding the move of the EPA to the suburbs, away from downtown KCK, I led the fight to keep that building and those employees right here. I also accompanied Mayor Reardon to a White House meeting with officials there.

Most dear to my heart, with other ministers and community leaders, I championed the need of a quality grocer in the urban core of our city.

2. As a candidate, what would be your top priorities as mayor if you’re elected commissioner?
  • Maintain positive momentum in county: developments; infrastructure; expand tax base
  • Ensure visibility, integrity, accountability by elected officials.
  • Enhance "livability": neighborhoods, schools, entertainment, low taxes.
  • Celebrate KCK diversity.
  • Fully utilize Google technology.

3. A two-part question - What distinguishes you as the top candidate for this position and what differences should voters in Wyandotte County look at before making their choice?

In humility, I shall bring fresh approaches, a positive outlook and proven creativity in considering what is best for the entire county. Moreover, I shall help the UG Commission grapple with the challenges which are before us.

In my judgment, voters should consider a candidate on the basis of achievements, ability to articulate a vision, curiosity, professionalism, prudence, problem-solving skills and more.

4. In the next three to four years, millions of dollars will become available after the city finishes off paying bonds that were issued to increase the economic development in Western Wyandotte County. As a commissioner, how would you encourage that money to be spent?

The UG Commissioners should be led by the County Administrator and newly-elected Mayor in developing a Master Plan for our county.

That plan should drive the allocation of new streams of revenue. What new revenue we anticipate from paying off bonds and that which comes from the Hollywood Casino should help to lower property taxes for all WyCo citizens.

At the same time, budgetary concerns reflecting the new revenue might include increased and targeted resources toward older, lower-income areas of our city/county.

In the broadest sense, in the urban core, we must concentrate on home improvement, ending blight, fostering small businesses, keeping taxes low, upgrading our parks, evaluating the infrastructure (sidewalks, streets, sewage lines, etc.).

Across our county, we must also ensure healthy neighborhoods, proper compensation for police/fire officials, quality service from city/county government personnel, a prudent plan for Indian Springs, transportation enhancements, celebration of General Motors and Cerner Corp. expansions, and more.

5. What in your opinion are the three biggest challenges facing Wyandotte County? If you feel there are more than three to list, feel free too.

A. Continuing positive momentum.
B. Enhancing the entire County.
C. Expecting and Welcoming new citizens.

6. Do you feel the Unified Government can do more to increase growth in areas outside of Western Wyandotte County, particularly the northeast part of Wyandotte County?

Focus on home improvements, ending blight, foster small businesses, upgrade parks and recreation centers, while ensuring the infrastructure will keep track with other areas of WyCo.

We need more citizens and elected officials to visit the area (without fear!). In so doing, they will discover intelligent, caring, friendly, Godly and engaged people. This area encompasses downtown and some of the oldest areas of our city/county. It teems with families, churches, businesses, lodges, and community organizations.

Wyandotte County will not operate at optimal capabilities until the entire county (including and especially its urban core), resembles the nicest parts of Western Wyandotte County.