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State legislator hears from local officials

Staff writer

A myriad of community figures expressed a myriad of concerns to Republican Don Schroeder (R-74) on Thursday, and were met with mostly sympathy from the legislator.

“He was receptive, but what you’re gonna need is somebody to get up on his desk, start his hair on fire and start screaming,” Holub said. “These guys are not listening.”

Schroeder agreed with a lot of the sentiments behind the concerns brought to his attention, but didn’t seem to be optimistic or passionate about inciting change in Topeka.

Commissioner Dan Holub, Marion City Administrator Roger Holter, Marion Mayor Todd Heitschmidt, and Sheriff Robert Craft were among those in attendance questioning the representative about everything from lost state funding to recent state legislation.

Holter was left with a different impression from the legislative session.

“I was encouraged at the open dialogue and anticipate his support of our community in legislative session,” Holter said. “This kind of discussion truly helps democracy work the way it was intended, so I give our officials a lot of credit.”

Marion was the only city whose officials attended the session, despite Marion being just outside of Kansas House District 74.

“I was hoping there would be more people from the cities, I mean the cities have big problems,” Holub said.

Holub was the only county commissioner in attendance. His commission district lies mostly outside of District 74.

Concerns raised included the state budget deficit, Medicaid expansion, state income tax, state revenue sharing, jail conditions for individuals with mental or emotional disorders, the Keystone Pipeline, and others.

Holub was frustrated because of the three legislators — including John Barker (R-70) and State Senator Richard Wilborn — he invited to come speak in a legislative forum, only Schroeder was available.

“We had half of November and December, and they couldn’t find a single day in that month and a half to come talk to us? Think about it: How bad do they want to talk to us?” he said. “I said that out loud. You can print it, you can quote it, you can mail it on a postcard to them, I don’t care. They work for us. I don’t work for them.

“I’m mad and I ain’t gonna take it no more.”

Holub was appreciative, however, that Schroeder took the time to visit.

“Frankly, he’s one man,” he said. “He did come, the other two didn’t.”

Holter said Barker, who represents Marion, was in Washington District of Columbia at the time, and called Holter and spoke with him on the phone for two hours to get his input.

“He and I talked through a number of options that he’s planning to address the budget deficit, he was soliciting feedback,” Holter said. “I guess that’s why I’m so encouraged, he’s looking for solutions.”

Last modified Dec. 18, 2014

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