by Mary Rupert
Running for Board of Public Utilities Districts 1 and 3 in the Tuesday, Aug. 6, primary election are seven candidates.
Incumbent Robert “Bob” Milan Sr. faces Ken Snyder and LaRon Thompson in the 1st District, while incumbent Jeff Bryant faces Aaron Coleman, Dustin K. Dye and Stan S. Frownfelter in the 3rd District.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, and voters should go to their assigned polling places on Election Day.
Also on the Aug. 6 primary are contests for the BPU at large position 3 (http://wyandottedaily.com/bpu-at-large-3rd-district-race-attracts-six-candidates/) and Unified Government commissioner positions for the 1st District at large, 3rd District and 4th District.
More details about voting are at http://wyandottedaily.com/early-voting-begins-saturday-for-primary-election/.
BPU, 1st District
Robert Milan Sr., with 28 years on the board, is the longest serving member of the board, and was first elected in 1991. He is retired from the Department of Labor, where he worked more than 30 years, ending as a federal representative.
Milan has been a member of the Northeast Optimist Club and NAACP, and is a past state president of AARP, in 2001.
At the July 17 candidate forum, he said he had heard some misinformation in the discussion. Individuals’ contracts and personnel issues cannot be discussed in public, he said.
“I aim to serve the best I can, and let the record speak for itself,” Milan said at the July 17 forum.
Ken Snyder also is running for the BPU, 1st District. Snyder, a lifelong Kansas City, Kansas, resident, is a Marine Corps veteran who was deployed overseas.
Snyder is a former BPU employee who once sued the BPU over employment issues.
He said his campaign slogan is, “Have you had enough?”
“Have you had enough of the secrecy, have you had enough of the mismanagement, have you had enough of the privilege, have you had enough of the poor customer service?” Snyder asked at the July 17 campaign forum.
He said he wanted to open up the secrecy that surrounds BPU and get to what really matters to the ratepayers.
LaRon Thompson also is a candidate for the BPU, 1st District.
A lifelong resident of Wyandotte County, Thompson said he is standing up for the community because it is the right time to do so.
“We need a voice to represent the common individuals, citizens of Wyandotte County, and I believe I can be that voice,” he said.
He attended college at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the interim pastor of the Paseo Baptist Church.
Transparency, community engagement and education, and sustainability are the three key ideas of his campaign, he said at the July 17 forum.
“It’s important that we stand up and be voices for those who may not be able to speak for themselves,” he said. While campaigning door-to-door, he said people have told him about their electricity being cut off for 4 cents, and he said it breaks his heart.
BPU, 3rd District
Jeff Bryant, incumbent BPU member, is running for re-election to the BPU, 3rd District.
A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Bryant has worked more than three decades for Plastic Packaging, a company in the Muncie area of KCK.
“My talent in costing has helped me to learn about watching how dollars are spent, and I bring this skill to the BPU. Spending money to ensure that we have safe water and reliable electricity is necessary, but I want to make sure we are getting our biggest bang for our buck,” Bryant said at the July 17 forum. “The citizens of this city deserve a representative they can reach. I attend a wide range of neighborhood meetings, community gatherings and other events for an opportunity to meet more of our city’s residents.”
Through conversations, he finds out issues that need to be addressed by the BPU, he said.
“I believe the BPU is at a critical point, and we are laying out the groundwork for the future of our city,” Bryant said at the July 17 forum. “There are many projects that need to be completed, and it’s important they get across the finish line in budget.”
Dustin K. Dye, also a candidate for the BPU, 3rd District, said he is a third-generation Kansas City, Kansas, resident. After graduating from the University of Kansas, Dye worked abroad in Japan for three years, then returned to Kansas City, Kansas.
He worked as a fire and medical dispatcher for the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department before going to the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he received a master’s degree in public administration. As part of his work toward his degree, he studied abroad in South Africa.
“I bring 10 years of public sector experience to the table and a new perspective to the BPU board,” Dye said.
“I’m running because the BPU’s slogan is the ‘Power of Community,’” he said. “I see the publicly elected board’s role to strengthen the partnership of the community.”
He said most of Wyandotte County’s challenges are inter-related, and the BPU is in a position to intervene by being a partner in the community and creating jobs for the next generation, he said. It also needs to be forward-looking when it comes to renewable energy generation, he said. Climate change will be the defining challenge of the 21st century, he added.
Stan. S. Frownfelter, who has served seven terms as a state legislator from the 37th District, also is running for the 3rd District, BPU.
Rep. Frownfelter, who is not running again for the state Legislature, said at the July 17 forum, “I’ve seen my time there, it’s time for me to leave.”
Because of his time in the Kansas Legislature, he feels he can help the situation at the BPU, he said. He spent 10 of his 14 years on the Utilities Committee dealing with the private utilities and BPU. He also spent 10 years on Financial Institutions Committee, which deals with retirement plans, and also has 10 years’ experience on the Insurance Committee. He has been the ranking member of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, dealing with economic development and labor issues.
Frownfelter said he has gained the ability to work across the aisle with other people, which is a valuable skill at the BPU, where members have to be able to work with other BPU members and the Unified Government.
Aaron Coleman, also running for the BPU, 3rd District, did not attend the July 17 forum.
The July 17 forum was sponsored by Business West and KCKCC.
More in-depth views from the candidates on the issues is available through candidate forums being shown on the KCKCC cable television station, on Spectrum and Google channels. Videos of the candidate forums are being shown on the KCKCC cable television station, KCEC. Videos also are being shown on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/KCECable. For more information on the schedule for cable television, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/candidate-forum-to-be-shown-on-cable-tv/.
Voters with questions about their polling places may contact the Wyandotte County Election Office at www.wycovotes.org/ or 913-573-8500.
Past stories about the 2019 election are online at http://wyandottedaily.com/category/election-2019/.
To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email email@example.com.