Saying he would like to lower the volume of political discourse, former Leavenworth County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson has announced he will run for the 3rd District Kansas Senate seat.
Or at least that’s what he thinks.
Tellefson, a Republican, said although he currently lives in the 3rd District, he was unsure what district would be his home after the Legislature redraws district maps during the 2012 session. Whatever the fate of the 3rd District — which includes Leavenworth County with the exception of Lansing and Leavenworth, all of Jefferson County and eastern Douglas County — or the other districts that could include his residence, he was committed to a Senate run, he said.
“I want to quiet the discourse a little bit,” he said.
Currently, Republicans and Democrats think theirs are the only solutions to problems, Tellefson said. They also represent their backers to the exclusion of those who disagree with them, he said. That isn’t practical in a district that has 30 percent Republicans, 30 percent Democrats and 30 percent independents, Tellefson said.
Tellefson says he has nothing against 3rd District incumbent Democrat Tom Holland of Baldwin City.
Tellefson’s four-year term on the Leavenworth County Commission would inform his positions in Topeka, Tellefson said. He remains critical of decisions the Legislature made to address its budget problems by shifting the burden to local government. Those include cuts to demand transfers and the state’s decision to end property taxes on business equipment as an incentive to attract and grow business.
His tenure on the county commission also gave him experience in eliminating waste in government, Tellefson said. In 2008, the commission eliminated 21 county positions through reorganization and elimination of jobs, although only three employees were ultimately released, he said.
“Taxes stayed low,” he said of his term on the commission. “We did have to raise taxes some, but by far less than the 12 percent cost of living increase and while having to endure state actions.”
The big issue next fall will be jobs and the economy, Tellefson predicted.
“The best thing I can do is create an environment to create jobs,” he said. “That means good-paying jobs, not just jobs created by government, which is a taxpayer employment program.”
Tellefson graduated from Hiawatha High School in 1971 and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kansas State University in 1975. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1974, served full time from 1975 to 1995 as a flight officer. He was a stockbroker from 1997 to 2004. After an unsuccessful run for the Leavenworth County Commission in 2002, Tellefson won the 1st District commission seat in 2006, and he did not seek re-election in 2010.