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Walker, Reardon running for UG Commission, at large, 2nd DistrictHal Walker, left, and T.J. Reardon are running for the Unified Government Commission, at large, 2nd District. (Photo by Debra DeCoster)
Walker, Reardon running for UG Commission, at large, 2nd District
Candidates for an open seat, Unified Government Commissioner, at large, District 2, are Thomas (T.J.) Reardon and Hal Walker.
At a candidate forum last week, a little friction was noticed between candidates Reardon and Walker. There is no incumbent in the contest, as Commissioner John Mendez is not seeking re-election.
When asked his top three budget priorities, T.J. Reardon, a long-time critic of the local government, said transparency was the top priority, then he talked about the UG budget increasing $200 million over the years, high salaries, and that the UG was killing itself with interest on its debts. He said his second priority would be to get rid of whoever is doing the budget.
Walker responded that rhetoric is one thing, but the reality is that everyone’s budget has increased greatly through the years. Walker said his priorities would be to reduce the real property tax burden, and to provide basic services such as roads and sewers extremely well.
“This is about knowledge, experience and character,” said Walker, a retired UG attorney who has worked with the local government over 30 years. “He has no plan.”
In the primary election, with a low 6 percent turnout, Walker won with 803 votes to Reardon’s 766. Daniel Serda was third with 559 votes.
Walker, 62, an attorney, stated in questionnaire responses that he is running to achieve real reductions in the citizen cost of taxes and public utilities. He stated he would like to see reductions by the Unified Government, and also through development of a coordinated countywide approach involving all taxing units in a combined effort to reduce taxes.
Walker, the UG attorney for more than 20 years, stated he wanted to see economic growth and development in all communities and neighborhoods of Wyandotte County.
Walker holds a bachelor’s and a law degree from the University of Kansas, and is the president of the Turner Community Connection neighborhood group; vice president of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association; past president of the K-State Research and Extension Council of Wyandotte County; and past president of the Wyandotte County Historical Society.
Reardon, 60, is a long-time critic of the local government. During the campaign this year, he was fighting an indictment against him in a case involving petitions he submitted that were asking for a grand jury investigation of the local government. Some of the signatures on the petitions were questioned. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
Reardon’s reasons for running, according to his questionnaire, include stopping political corruption, graft and greed; reducing the city budget and reducing taxes; supporting police, firefighters, city and BPU employees but not city and BPU executives; and to stop the sale of the BPU.
Reardon attended K-State, and previously ran for the BPU and UG Commission, losing both contests. He has served as a precinct committeeman. He is a member of the American Legion and the Taxpayers League.