Douglas County Commission candidate Jim Flory chats about primary election
July 14, 2008
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Jim Flory is running for the Third District Douglas County Commission seat.
Good afternoon. I'm reporter Mike Belt and i will be the moderator today. We are chatting with Jim Flory, who is a Republican running for the Douglas County Commission in the 3rd District. Jim, thanks for being with us today.
It's a pleasure to be here and I'm looking forward to the "chat."
Here is our first question.
I am so happy to see you running, Jim, that I think about how things would have been so different had you been my commissioner the past few years. I have to submit a question, why did you wait so long. We need you! Thank you, Lynn
I only retired from the Department of Justice a couple of years ago and have had an enjoyable and relaxing retirement. I'm now rested and ready to get back into local government, and I appreciate your "welcome back."
Dear Mr. Flory,
From what I've read, there seem to be many issues of importance to Douglas County residents. How much time do you plan to devote to being a county commissioner?
Since I am now retired, I will be able to devote all the time necessary to the work of the Commission. I think my work history shows that I am willing to work the hours necessary to get the job done right, and I am fortunately in a position to do just that as a County Commissioner. You are absolutely correct that there are many important and difficult issues on the horizon, and I look forward to working on them.
Would you continue funding for the Division Pro Tem of the Douglas County District Court?
It is my understanding that the funding request is to continue the Pro Tem position until it can be funded by the State of Kansas in the next state budget. In light of recent discussions about the required mill levy increase just to maintain existing services, I believe the current Commission will need to weigh the Pro Tem position with all other budget items that are in danger of being cut. I do not have an easy funding solution for this position, and I know that it provides valuable relief to the already heavy workload for the District Judges. Funding for this position will have to stand or fall on its own merits when compared to other essential services that the County funds, and I do not envy the current Commission in dealing with that issue.
What do you think is the biggest issue the county faces and how would you approach it?
From various meetings I have attended and my door-to-door contacts during the campaign so far, it appears that the number one issue for most voters is holding the line on property taxes while still maintaining the quality of public services that we have come to enjoy. That will be a challenge, and I believe it will take both fiscal responsibility (spending reductions) and an increase in the tax base (growth) to meet this challenge. I am willing to make the difficult decisions that must be made, and I feel that I have the background and experience to make those decisions in the best interests of the community as a whole.
Someone named "birdie" sent in several questions. Here is one of them. "What role do you think the county should have in the effort to bring new jobs to the area?"
I think that the County, working in conjuction with the city governing bodies of Lawrence, Eudora, Baldwin and Lecompton, should play a role in bringing quality jobs to Douglas County. The best way to attract business (and the resulting new jobs) is to provide quality public services and a positive, business-friendly atmosphere. Rather that providing public financing with tax dollars for every economic development project, I believe the role should be more as a strong advocate for Douglas County and pointing out the benefits and attractive business climate of the community.
Where do you stand of the former Farmland acquisition and why?
In my mind, the most pressing question with respect to the Farmland site is obtaining an accurate and thorough assessment of the clean up costs. Although the location is ideal for development, I am very concerned about making any commitment of public funding when the final "tab" for the clean up is still so speculative. Very recently it was revealed that the clean up costs could significantly exceed both the initial estimate and the fund that has been established for that purpose. Currently, I have more questions than answers with respect to the Farmland site.
Please distinguish how your views would be different from your Republican primary opponent. In what way would they be the same?
I'm sorry, but I would not feel comfortable speaking for my primary opponent. The one thing I do know is that we both care deeply about Douglas County and would do our very best to serve the voters of the 3rd District.
Jim's opponent, John Tacha, will be here for an online chat next Monday at 11 a.m.
That's all the time we have for questions today. Sorry we didn't get to all of them. Jim, do you have a Web site where people can send you questions, or an e-mail address? And thanks for joining us today.
Yes. Please send your questions and comments through my web site which is www.jimfloryforcountycommissioner.com. I have been asked repeatedly what I think the important issues are, but in reality the pertinent question is what the voters think the important issues are. Please feel free to let us know!