Douglas County Commission Candidate Clenece Hills chats about primary election
July 28, 2008
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Hi Clenece. Welcome to the News Center on this rainy morning. Clenece, a Democrat, is running for a Douglas County commission seat in the 3rd District. This is Karrey Britt, assistant assignment director, and I will be the moderator for this chat.
Thank you, Karrey. I think it is great that you have invited candidates to this exchange. I have a very active online campaign, and I think the J-W is on the cutting edge of election coverage. I have tried to save trees and gasoline by doing much of my contacting online. Visit Facebook and see me there! And, please visit my website www.clenecehills.net or send me an email
What is your position on using tax abatements in an effort to allow companies already in the area to expand and as a tool to attract more industries to the area?
Unless tax abatements have a timely and regular review of the terms of the agreement, I am wary of them whether they are for existing companies or businesses that want to come to Douglas County. I see tax abatements as a tool, but not as the only way to attract and keep businesses.
What special talents do you possess that you believe qualify you to be a commissioner?
Are there any plans to take a look at cutting legal fees? Not that long ago the hourly rate for the county counselor was less then $100 an hour. Now it's far more.
Finally, how do respond to the criticism often leveled at many elected officials; they pass rules that only impact other people, but never themselves, or only do things that benefit their interests or friends?
Wow! So many questions, so little time. I am a mediator and I always look at ways that we can solve problems without going to court. So, mediation could help reduce or eliminate some legal fees. In fact, the going rate of $100 is probably a bargain for our county counselor, considering lawyers' fees in general. I have spent my life protecting the interests of those who are not able to be their own advocates: students. You will find that I listen, I learn and I lead. That is my process and I will stick to it.
How long were you a registered Republican and when did you become a Democrat and why?
Thank you for asking this question. I was a Republican most of my early years as a voter. Then I became an independent. But, on New Year's Eve this year, I decided that I need to participate and get into the arena. Like many disenchanted voters, I have been inspired and encouraged by Barack Obama. I needed to make public the inclinations that I have had in my voting history. So, I registered as a Democrat. I can tell you that I have voted Democratic a lot longer than I have been a registered Democrat.
In light of your history of running for office, if you lose, are you planning to publicly abandon your party and switch to another political party?
If I lose, I will support the Democratic candidate for the November election.
What is your position on the SLT?
We need this road NOW. I support the 32nd Street alignment and I agree with the current commission's endorsement of the Federal Highway Administration and the KDOT recommendations.
What do you believe is the largest issue facing Douglas County and how would you tackle it?
Douglas County is lucky to be facing issues of development. There are counties all over our state that are stagnant and would love to have our problems. I see these challenges as an opportunity to work with all of the stakeholders in our county to make growth and development a source of great pride and increased tax revenue for generations to come.
Do you know much about your primary election opponent, Ken Grotewiel? Any idea if the two of you differ on anything?
I do not know Ken well because he has only lived in Douglas County since January, 2008. We both care about doing the right thing. As we have crossed paths in this campaign, I have found him to be a gentleman.
If you were on the county commission for this year's budget discussions, what decisions would you have advocated for regarding the mill levy and possible service cuts?
The current commission has had to make some tough calls and I think it will continue to be difficult to make these choices until economic development catches up with public service needs. I would never cut our budget for public safety. That has to come first. I would like to ask all of the agencies in the county that request funds to coordinate their budget requests. I will work to bring these agencies together to help them find common ground, reduce waste, and combine resources.
Here's an easy one. Tell me about yourself and why I should vote for you.
On August 20, 1958, my mother moved here with my three brothers and me after our father died of a sudden heart attack in Great Bend. Douglas County immediately became home and has been the center of my private and public life ever since. All that I have done in Douglas County for the last 50 years has led me to run for the county commission. I finished undergraduate and graduate degrees at KU. My husband and I were married here on Christmas Day, 1962. We have reared our three children here, and I am still teaching English at South Junior High. I have given my time over the years to serve as chairperson of the Douglas County Bicentennial Commission, to serve as coordinator of the Haskell Centennial, and I am a proud graduate of Leadership Lawrence. Most recently I have served as president of the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission. In September I will lead a committee to complete private fundraising for Phase II of Sesquicentennial Point. I am proud that we have been able to complete Phase I without using public money. Please see my complete resume which is on my website www.clenecehills.net and send me an email if I can answer other questions. This has been a great experience today. Thank you.
We are out of questions. Thanks for coming in this morning.
I appreciate the World Company's support of the electoral process. Please vote on August 5th.