Paul Shivel nearly missed a face-to-face meeting Monday with Ralph Tanner, his Republican primary opponent for the 2nd District seat on the Douglas County Commission.
Five minutes into Tanner's remarks at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's candidate forum, Shivel slipped into a seat next to Tanner and in front of Sunflower Cablevision cameras.
Shivel, Lawrence, didn't miss a beat. He apologized for being late and launched into his campaign theme of improving job opportunities in the county.
"I'm mainly for jobs," Shivel said. "Without jobs, we don't have the tax base to do anything. The important thing is the quality of the job."
Tanner, of Baldwin, said he's a candidate for the commission because he wants to improve the public confidence in local government.
"This campaign is about leadership of government," he said.
Tanner, 65, is former president of Baker University in Baldwin and recently retired as president of the Kansas Independent College Fund. Shivel, 60, works in the Eudora office of Miller & Midyett Realtors & Insurers.
THE WINNER of their Aug. 4 primary will face James Chappell, a Lawrence Democrat and attorney, and Libertarian Damon Black, rural Lawrence.
One of the candidates will replace Commissioner Mike Amyx, D-Lawrence, who decided not to seek a second term.
The city hall forum, limited to contested primary races, was broadcast by Sunflower and radio station KLWN. The first half of the forum covered races for the 2nd District county commission and the 19th District of the Kansas Senate. The chamber will sponsor two more forums before the November general election.
The two commission candidates disagreed about plans for South Lawrence Trafficway and Eastern Parkway, two parts of a planned circumferential loop around Lawrence.
Tanner said he supports construction of both roads as planned. However, Shivel said the proposed location of the parkway will create traffic problems in downtown Lawrence. He wants the parkway to start in North Lawrence and cross the Kansas River downstream.
ASKED ABOUT the need to concentrate more services on rural areas of the county, Shivel and Tanner said county residents feel underrepresented.
"That is not going to change overnight," Tanner said. "That can be cured by the commission paying more attention to rural areas."
Shivel said he also would strengthen the voice of neglected areas of the district, including East Lawrence and North Lawrence.
Both candidates endorsed the idea of imposing land-use restrictions in unincorporated areas of the county.
"Growth without some notion of where we're going is going to produce mayhem," Tanner said.
THREE candidates have filed for the Republican primary for the 19th District Senate seat. They are: Walter Myers, Baldwin, and Wesley Glenn and Donn Reading, both of Topeka. Reading didn't attend the forum. The trio will fight for the opportunity to oppose incumbent Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.
Myers said his top priority would be to engage the Legislature in debate about the danger of a new world order characterized by a supranational authority that regulates industry, an international police force and elimination of the dollar as the base of U.S. currency.
Glenn said his primary focus would be economic development, primarily through the creation of good-paying jobs.
Both candidates said they would work to make state government more efficient. Myers said he would work to lower reliance on property taxes.
"Kansan taxpayers are tired of taxes going up," Glenn said.