Archive for Leavenworth

Fitzgerald says strong conservative needed to keep Kansas’ 2nd District in GOP hands

Kansas State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a Republican from Leavenworth, announced his bid for the 2nd Congressional District on Thursday in Topeka. (Photo by Jim McLean, Kansas News Service)

by Jim McLean, Kansas News Service

Kansas State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald says he’s running for Congress in the 2nd District to keep the seat in Republican hands.

Five-term Republican Lynn Jenkins now holds the seat, but she is not running for re-election.

A former Army officer and Green Beret from Leavenworth, Fitzgerald has earned a reputation at the Statehouse as an outspoken, often blunt conservative. He trumpeted that reputation Thursday in announcing his candidacy to a crowd of about 40 supporters in Topeka.

“We do not need politicians who tell us what they think we want to hear rather than what we need to know,” Fitzgerald said. “Politicians with big plans for themselves but have never been toe to toe with those who deny the right to life, who are eager to limit your 2nd Amendment and other rights, and who see your wallet as the answer to their government spending problems.”

Illustrating a tendency to defy political convention, Fitzgerald went out of his way to link himself to President Donald Trump despite the president’s free fall in national polls.

“My vision for the next Congress is the rapid accomplishment of that agenda that President Trump brought to us and we approved in the last election — a strong, free and prosperous America,” Fitzgerald said.

Noting reports that Democrats have circled the 2nd District seat as one they hope to pick up in their effort to regain control of the U.S. House, Fitzgerald said Republicans need a candidate capable of keeping it in GOP hands.

“Bernie and Hillary’s Democrats are desperate to retake Congress and resume their death march to socialism,” he said. “We cannot let that happen.”

At the moment, the race for the GOP nomination is between Fitzgerald and Basehor City Councilman Vernon Fields. But others, including State Sen. Caryn Tyson of Parker, are looking at joining the GOP field.

Former Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis has launched an exploratory campaign for the Democratic nomination but has not officially filed. Davis has been out of politics since losing a close race for governor to Sam Brownback in 2014.

Fitzgerald currently represents the 5th District in the Kansas Senate, which includes western Wyandotte County and Leavenworth County. Wyandotte County is in the 3rd Congressional District, which is represented by Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio and KMUW covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to

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Business owner pleads guilty to theft

An area business owner has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of theft from an employee benefit fund, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said today.

Brenda Wood, 48, Leavenworth, Kan., pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft from an employee benefit program. In her plea, she admitted the crime occurred while she was owner of PCI, a building cleaning service, and CDM, a construction and property management service.

She set up a 401K plan, encouraged PCI and CDM employees to participate and began withholding employee contributions.

In 2011, employees learned that no contributions had been deposited in their accounts. Wood falsely assured employees that their funds were being held in escrow. In fact, she used their contributions for her own benefit and without their permission.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 24. She faces up to five years in federal prison and restitution.

A separate trial is set for Dec. 5 on 21 other counts including bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and committing a felony while on supervised release.

Beall commended the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Special Investigator General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jabari Wamble for their work on the case.


Tractor-trailer catches fire near I-70 toll plaza; traffic backed up

I-70 eastbound and westbound has been closed near the I-70 toll plaza because of a tractor-trailer fire and multi-vehicle incident about 2:36 p.m., according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. The location of the toll plaza is in Leavenworth County. Traffic is backed up to Wyandotte County, east of K-7. (KC Scout photo)