Monday, April 1, 2013

Final debate highlights: Candidates deny connection in flyers, both oppose HB 2069, ethics reform controversy discussed


In a 45-minute debate, it's tough to report on every single little detail.

However, I'll try to hit out the additional highlights real quick.


Both Mark Holland and Ann Murguia have been attacked by third-party political action committees in recent days after multiple flyers were distributed across Wyandotte County.

On Monday, both Murguia and Holland denied being connected to them.

The anti-Holland flyers point to Holland's votes to increase the mill levy in Wyandotte County. They were paid for by the Americans for Prosperity PAC.

"They have a problem with good government," Holland said.

The flyers targeting Murguia were funded by an organization called the WyCo JOBS PAC. One flyer attempted to connect Murguia to the Kansas Republican Party.

However, Murguia said she's been a "lifelong Democrat."

"The flyer itself is humorous," she said. "One side tries to connect me to the GOP and the other basically labels me a tax and spend Democrat," mentioning her votes for a sewer tax.

Holland said he reached out to Murguia after the flyers were mailed out.

"It upsets me when these third-party groups get involved," he said. "They discourage good people from running for office."


Last week, Unified Government/CEO Joe Reardon testified against House Bill 2069, a bill that would ban local governments from offering prevailing wage contracts for economic development projects.

Both candidates seeking to replace him also announced their opposition to the bill.

"That bill is being supported by the Koch Brothers," Holland said. "We need to oppose it. I'm the union supporter here and we need to support our union workers."

Murguia, pointing to her endorsements from local union organizations, said she's already working with local unions in dealing with the potential ramifications of the bill passing.

"We could sit up here to find people to blame," she said. "I'm meeting with unions on what we could do at the local level (in supporting the prevailing wage)."


Along with the property tax votes, one issue of the past that's dominated the campaign has been the issue of ethics.

In 2009, Holland spear-headed a reform in the Unified Government's ethics code, one that involved Murguia's role as the executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association.

Murguia accused the reform as a case of jealousy on Holland's part.

"It was jealousy of the success I was having in my own district," she said. "I abided by the ethics rules. It was never an issue until I became a commissioner."

Holland denied the charge and said he lobbied for the ethics reform to create a higher standard in government.