Four candidates are running for Unified Government Commission, 8th District.
The primary election will be Tuesday, Feb. 26. The 8th District is in the middle of Kansas City, Kan., sometimes called the Midtown area.
The candidates include incumbent Commissioner Butch Ellison, who is running for re-election.
The candidates include, in alphabetical order:
Unified Government Commission, 8th District
Benoyd (Butch) Ellison, incumbent commissioner, 73, is running for re-election to a fourth term. He was first elected in 2001.
Ellison is retired after 37 years as an instructor and administrator in the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools. His assignments included Washington High School. Ellison also is the former director of the Model Cities Program; and Jobs Program, Fairfax Industries.
He has a master’s in education administration from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s from KU, where he played varsity basketball. He also has an associate degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College and is a Sumner High School graduate.
Ellison cited his 12 years of experience, and added he did not support increased taxes, but would maintain the tax levels. He also wants to encourage development, and stabilize the midtown area. Development in areas such as Indian Springs is needed. The UG needs to be more aggressive in collecting delinquent property taxes from those who owe the largest amounts.
“I am working for the betterment of everyone in Wyandotte County. My philosophy is to respect the work and dignity of each human being,” he said.
Veronica Knight, 56, is a philanthropy director with Truman Medical Center.
She is a former director for Title III, Kansas City Kansas Community College; former vice president of the Boys and Girls Club of Wyandotte County; former executive director of Missouri School Age Community Coalition; and former vice president, Youth Volunteer Corps of America.
She holds an executive master’s degree in business administration from Benedictine College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wichita State University.
Knight was appointed by former Gov. Mark Parkinson to the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, and also serves on several other boards.
She stated she was in favor of more representation for the district; was against excessive regressive taxation; wanted to bridge the divide between the haves and have-nots in the community; was in favor of safe neighborhoods and improving the quality of life; and favored quality education and training opportunities for everyone.
Kendon McClaine 32, a branch manager for a financial services company, is running “because I believe District 8 needs someone to speak up for our neighborhoods and schools. I’d like to strengthen and improve the quality of life in our homes by making sure people know the resources that are available to help them. This applies to our local businesses as well.”
McClaine is a graduate of Washington High School who attended Kansas City Knasas Community College and the University of Kansas.
He stated he would like to restore the pride of the neighborhoods in the 8th District.
“My role would be to be a bridge between City Hall and our neighborhoods and businesses making sure people know where to go and how to improve their lives and bottom lines,” McClaine said.
He said he would be visible and accessible in the district.
Jane Winkler Philbrook
Jane Winkler Philbrook, 62, an optometrist, said she would like to help reduce property tax burdens for Wyandotte County taxpayers through responsible solutions.
“I feel I am called to do this,” she stated about running for office. “It is the right time for me. With all of my community involvement over the years I believe it is time to step forward and use my experience, knowledge and passion for my community as a leader in the position of 8th District Commissioner.”
Philbrook holds degrees from the University of Missouri St. Louis School of Optometry, Park College and Washington High School. She has served as the vice president of Business West, on the State Avenue Improvement Committee, as past president of the Kiwanis Kansas City West, and on several professional groups.
Her 20-plus years of being a small business owner would help to find efficiencies in the system to help lower costs and increase services, she noted. She stated she brings small business experience with more than 20 years of serving residents from all walks of life, and understands the needs of residents and businesses.