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Archive for Friday, December 10, 2010

Brownback picks Tafanelli for adjutant general; Garcia for Highway Patrol superintendent

Governor-elect Sam Brownback on Friday nominated state Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and Ernest "Ernie" Garcia, a retired Marine and former sergeant at arms of the U.S. Senate, to lead his public safety team.

December 10, 2010, 12:23 p.m. Updated December 10, 2010, 4:44 p.m.

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Tafanelli and Garcia detail their plans for the future

Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and Ernest "Ernie" Garcia discuss their plans, including training more Kansas Highway Patrol troopers, after Gov.-elect Sam Brownback nominated them to lead his public safety team. Enlarge video

— Gov.-elect Sam Brownback on Friday nominated state Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and Ernest “Ernie” Garcia, a retired Marine and former sergeant at arms of the U.S. Senate, to lead his public safety team.

Retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Ernest "Ernie" Garcia, Gov.-elect Sam Brownback's nominee to be superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol, speaks Friday during a news conference. Brownback also nominated Col. Lee Tafanelli as Kansas adjutant general.

Retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Ernest "Ernie" Garcia, Gov.-elect Sam Brownback's nominee to be superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol, speaks Friday during a news conference. Brownback also nominated Col. Lee Tafanelli as Kansas adjutant general.

Col. Lee Tafanelli who is Gov.-elect Sam Brownback's pick to be Kansas Adjutant General. Tafanelli is a Republican state representative from Ozawkie.

Col. Lee Tafanelli who is Gov.-elect Sam Brownback's pick to be Kansas Adjutant General. Tafanelli is a Republican state representative from Ozawkie.

Tafanelli will serve as Kansas Adjutant General, director of Homeland Security and director of Emergency Management. Garcia will serve as superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Both appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

They will succeed current Adjutant General Gen. Tod Bunting and Terry Maples, who is retiring from the highway patrol.

Tafanelli, 49, a colonel, has served in the Kansas Army National Guard for more than 30 years, including deployment to Iraq as a battalion commander. He is currently assistant adjutant general and a state legislator. His promotion to brigadier general is pending before the U.S. Senate.

Garcia, 64, a native of Garden City, is a retired lieutenant colonel with 35 years service in the Marines in active and reserve duties. He has served in numerous deployments, including Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and in Haiti. He was sergeant at arms and doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate from 1985 to 1987 and has served in various jobs for Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.

He is currently with the U.S. Selective Service System, and has served with that agency in the past as acting director.

“Both Col. Tafanelli and retired Lt. Col. Garcia know firsthand the sacrifices our Kansas troopers and military make to keep our state and country safe and free because they've been on the front lines themselves,” said Brownback.

“These are the two most qualified people I think there are in America to lead these two positions,” Brownback added.

Tafanelli said he will immediately set out to make sure state government is ready to respond to winter weather emergencies. Garcia said one of his priorities will be to focus on recruiting new troopers because many of the current troopers are nearing retirement age.

Tafanelli said he will continue his role as a state legislator until the 2011 legislative session starts next month. Then Republican Party officials in the district will have to select a replacement.

Tafanelli has served in the Kansas House since 2001 with an interruption in 2005 for a tour in Iraq.

Comments

Shardwurm 4 years ago

Wow...proof positive that politics - not competence - gets people promoted. Tafanelli is a perfect example of that.

Good luck Kansas Guardsmen - you'll need it.

jpalens 4 years ago

Yeah, Shardwurm. 30 years of military service, commanding a battalion of soldiers in Iraq for 15 months, earning two Masters degrees, graduating from the U.S. Army War College and serving as a program coordinator for the national bioterrorism lab is a pretty crappy resume. Tafanelli certainly doesn't have the competence for the job.

What have you done for your community or your country that gives you the right to call the credentials of Tafanelli (or anyone else, for that matter) into question? How's the view from the cheap seats?

armywife 4 years ago

COL Tafanelli is absolutely the best person that Brownback could have chosen!!! COL Tafanelli is highly respected in the Kansas Army National Guard, respected not only by his peers but also by the Soldiers he commanded in Iraq. He is a leader! COL Tafanelli understands what our Soldiers and their Families sacrifice when they head out on deployments, the difficulties when they return and he cares about each and every one of them. COL Tafanelli congratulations! They picked the best man as our new Adjutant General.

squeaker 4 years ago

From what I have heard and read, Tafanelli is a great choice, but I don't see how Garcia has any qualifications to lead a state police agency.

Garcia was appointed by Senator Bob Dole to be the Senate Sergeant at Arms 25 years ago (1985 -1987) and served a two-year term. The Senate Sergeant at Arms does have some limited law enforcement duties and serves as one of 3 members of the Board that oversees the Capitol Police (including the Capitol Architect and the House Sgt. at Arms). Most of the Sergeant is responsible for all Senate computers and technology support services, recording and photographic services, printing and graphics services, and telecommunications services. The Sergeant at Arms also provides assistance to all Senate offices with their staffing, mailing, purchasing and financial needs.

Yes, he served in the USMC Reserves and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel- and I respect his military service. I also understand that he has worked in the Selective Service Administration and served as "Acting Director" for a whole 6 months... Where is the real law enforcement experience? Has he ever answered a call, investigated a death or had to arrest a drunk? Does he know what it is like to stop a car on a dark, rural highway with no backup within 30 miles?

There are many career law enforcement officers in our own state who have experience and extensive education who would have been perfect for this position. To say he was the most qualified person for the job is a flat out lie. From talking to Troopers, this will be the first time in the history of the highway patrol that someone with no law enforcement experience has been appointed as Colonel, and only the 2nd time in nearly 75 years that someone from outside the Patrol has been the Superintendent.

Garcia's appointment smacks of pure political patronage- my elderly mother would be more qualified for this position than he is!

rhd99 4 years ago

Yes, great choices, indeed. I especially commend the soon-to-be governor for choosing Col Tafanelli. Iraq War veteran, Army War College graduate, legislator...etc. I agree with all of you, centerville, armywife, and jpalens. Col. Tafanelli's resume screams that he IS qualified to lead our Kansas National Guard into the future. Anyone who questions the mechanism by which soldiers like Col. Tafanelli keep our very freedoms alive can either stand at attention with a rifle in their hands or just say thank you to our soldiers. The disrespect you show to Col Tafanelli, WURM, makes me want to puke!!! Enjoy the cheap seats.

somebodynew 4 years ago

Just about can't wait for the rest of the appointments to come out. Like most on here, I don't have a problem with Col. Tafanelli (although I know a Gen who would have made a better choice), but I am really struggling to see how being Sgt @ Arms for a legislative body qualifies one to become head of a Law Enforcement agency. ???

As a veteran, I respect each one's military service and thank them for that, but just because I am a veteran does not mean I am automatically qualified to become chief of a large department.

volunteer 4 years ago

I also have heard great things about Lee Tafanelli. Straight talker, which one doesn't always asociate with a politician.

monkeyspunk 4 years ago

LOL at the KHP appointment. Maybe all your Brownback fanboys should take a look at what the Senate MSA actually does. He is nothing more than a glorified doorman who has the oh so awesome responsibility of guarding the senate gavel!!! Oh and lets not forget that they supply computers and such to the Senate.

Someone must have pushed the "Easy" button! Staples is on their way!

mr_right_wing 4 years ago

Gosh, I admit I very well could be wrong, but both those names sound somewhat 'ethnic'; not your standard 'Smith' or 'Johnson'.

I thought we in the right wing were racist and never appoint any minority...liberals have that market cornered.

(Of course when libs do appoint a minority, and you have any criticism of that person, you are immediately labeled a racist. So, if you have a problem with either of these appointees libs, wouldn't that make YOU a racist????)

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