Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Candidate Questionnaire: Nathan Barnes, Unified Government Mayor/CEO

Another day, another candidate questionnaire or profile. Today we have our first mayoral candidate - Nathan Barnes. Barnes has served on the Unified Government's Board of Commissioners for 18 years. He was the first person to declare his candidacy, doing so even before current UG Mayor/CEO Joe Reardon announced that he wasn't running again. 

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

My 18 years in elected office as first district city councilman and first district county commissioner. I participated in the making of all the success that we are experiencing now in Wyandotte County. I have my personal fingerprint on all of the developers’ agreements on all projects out west and throughout the county.

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

Lowering taxes, jobs for Wyandotte County residents, and the stabilization of our transportation system

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?

My 18 years of experience distinguishes me as the top candidate. The voters should look for the mayor’s ability to unify the elected body. Your history of promoting togetherness or fracturing the elected body should determine your future as the mayor.

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 first encourage the commissioners not to spend it before they get it. I would encourage the commissioners to spend some of it on lowering taxes, strengthening the reserve fund, to fill critical vacant departmental positions and a very limited amount to balance the budget.

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 to.

The three biggest challenges facing Wyandotte County are: high taxes, jobs for residents and the revitalization of the urban core (especially Indian Springs).

Other concerns that rate high on my list are diversified housing for the influx of newly created jobs, transportation to get to those jobs, the access to healthy foods also known as “food deserts”, reserve fund balance, and the many unfunded mandates by the EPA.

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?

Yes. To do so requires that we make a long-term investment and commitment to the urban core and to employ a developer that specializes in urban core development. This effort could reap the same rewards as those being had in the western area of our county.