Unfortunately, some Kansas legislators and other interested parties in Lawrence and elsewhere are engaged in an ego-driven, get-even, selfish political battle to try to keep former House Speaker Melvin Neufeld from becoming a member of the Kansas Bioscience Authority board of directors.
A vacancy developed on the board, and after Neufeld searched for a replacement and was turned down because of new ultra-restrictive and invasive requests for information required of KBA board members, Neufeld nominated himself. He was willing to go through the vetting process, and he has a deep interest in doing what he can to help develop and encourage the bioscience business and encourage entrepreneurs. As a farmer from the western Kansas town of Ingalls, he would like to encourage projects that would help his part of the state.
No other member of the KBA represents western Kansas.
The problem, in the eyes of those who are trying to keep him from becoming a KBA director, is that Neufeld knows too much.
He would be far more careful in the expenditure of KBA funds and would watch excessive compensation. He also would make sure the three major universities are treated equally in funding for strong, well-documented projects and would be sensitive to the needs of western Kansas.
Also, he would fight to keep the KBA from becoming a political tool for either the Democratic or Republican parties. Unfortunately, this has been the case with Gov. Sebelius who has used her influence to appoint board members who will echo her wishes and political agenda.
The KBA board needs a person such as Neufeld, who will not roll over and play dead for massive monetary requests from the universities. Tom Thornton, KBA president and chief executive officer, does not want Neufeld to become a board member.
Again, Neufeld knows too much!
He knows the history of the KBA and is fully aware of the political uses of the KBA and its huge potential cash reserves. He also knows how the successful National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility proposal was put together and understands the importance of keeping the many participants on the same track.
He is concerned about what seems to be an increasing number of executive sessions of the KBA board when there is an increasing public demand for openness in all government and government-related bodies.
Again, because he knows too much, Neufeld’s appointment and confirmation to become a KBA board member now is stalled for phony and selfish reasons. Some senior Republican senators should be embarrassed for their backsliding on this important appointment.
The residents of Kansas need Neufeld on the KBA board.