Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We continue our political questionnaires with Mark Holland. Holland, who was recently endorsed by current Unified Government Mayor/CEO Joe Reardon, is currently on the UG Board of Commissioners. 

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

I am fourth generation Wyandotte County and third generation pastor in KCK. I have served the last 6 years on the UG Board of Commissioners, at-large Dist. 1.  As an at-large commissioner, I have been elected twice county-wide and I understand the big picture of looking at what is good for the entire community, not just one area.

2.    As a candidate, what would be your top three priorities as mayor if you’re elected mayor?

a.     Continue economic development that has brought 6,000 new jobs, and ensure that our citizens have training and mentorships for those jobs.

b.    Use the STAR bond payoff in 4 years to bring real property tax relief

c.    Continue to strategically invest in development throughout the city.

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?

I have demonstrated courageous leadership in supporting police and fire jobs during the greatest economic recession in a century.  I think citizens should look at the voting records of the candidates when jobs were on the line.  It is one thing to give verbal support to public safety, it is another thing entirely to VOTE for it.  Crime is at a 30-year-low in KCK and it is because Commissioners like myself have voted to keep the boots on the ground, even in times of economic crisis.

I am the only candidate who has the experience over the last six years serving the entire county as an At-Large Commissioner, not just a single district.  This experience given me the unique lens of understanding county-wide needs, and how to work across district lines.

My style of leadership is through active collaboration and partnership.  I have the vision and experience to see us through the next exciting chapter in our community's history.

Divisive politics will squander these unique -once in a generation-opportunities necessary for our continued growth and success. 

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 the mayor, how would you encourage that money to be spent?

I would encourage that money be “invested” rather than “spent.”  I think the first investment needs to be in our own citizens and businesses with real property tax relief.  The second priority would be to continue to invest in the infrastructure throughout the city.

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.    The biggest challenge right now is electing the right mayor for the city.  Without the right leadership in place, addressing any other issues will be even more daunting.

b.    Harvesting the fruit of success in the western area of the city and strategically planting that in other areas like 78th and State, 18th and I-70, 39th and Rainbow.  The next high priority areas are downtown and Indian Springs.

c.    Balancing external financial pressures with internal needs.  The federal government is cutting back on spending and increasing unfunded mandates with combined sewers and other regulations.  The state continues to balance its budget on the backs of the counties and cities.  It is imperative that we not allow these cutbacks to reduce services or growth in our city.

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?

Absolutely.  This needs to be a multifaceted strategy that includes housing, retail, and industry.  It will require public/private partnerships and the UG needs to be prepared to bring all economic development tools at our disposal to make this happen.