Archive for Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Douglas County candidate capsules

November 1, 2000

Douglas County Commission, 2nd District

Dan Gregg (D)

The family of Dan Gregg, a 34-year-old Eudora Democrat, has lived in Douglas County for five generations.

Gregg, who grew up in Lecompton, got his first taste of politics last year when he was elected for a four-year term on the Eudora City Council. He said he has enjoyed being involved in the community and would like to carry that effort to the county level.

"I'm running because I truly care about this county and the community," he said. "With my family history in the county, I want to continue to ensure this is a good place to raise a family and to work."

Gregg runs his own business, Gregg Painting and Repair, where he had worked with his father, Dale Gregg, when he was a teen-ager. He also did administrative work for a few years at Hall-Kimbrell Environmental Services before the company's layoff in 1989.

Gregg attended Johnson County Community College where he received his emergency medical certification. He serves as a volunteer firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate for Eudora's Fire Department. If elected, he said one of his goals is to improve emergency response services in the county.

Gregg and his wife, Carol, have three children: Ben, 16, Danielle, 12 and Hannah, 6.

Bob Johnson (R)

Bob Johnson, a 63-year-old Baldwin Republican, has lived in Douglas County the past 32 years and lived most of those years in Lawrence.

"We're all in Douglas County," he said. "While I'm not a farmer and don't pretend to be, I'm certainly open-minded and willing to listen and to learn."

Johnson grew up in Springfield, Ky., and, in 1957, began his career at Hartford Insurance in Illinois. Four years later, he was transferred within the company to Topeka. In 1966, he was transferred to Detroit, where he was the marketing manager of Hartford's regional office.

While in Topeka, Johnson and his wife, Polly, grew to like Lawrence and moved here in 1968 to raise their family. For 30 years, he worked at Charlton Manley, a Lawrence insurance company, before retiring as the CEO in 1998.

He is a former member of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce board of directors and past chairman of the Community Task Force on Elementary and Secondary Education for the Lawrence school district. He also serves on the governing board of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and is a board member of Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence and Douglas County Bank.

Johnson and his wife have eight grown children: Bob, Tom, David, Mary, Beth, Paul, Patrick and Julie.

Douglas County Sheriff

Rick Trapp (R)

Republican Rick Trapp, 53, has accumulated a variety of law enforcement experience during his 33-year career.

He started in law enforcement in 1967 at the Douglas County Sheriff's Department. He worked first as a dispatcher, then as patrolman while studying at Kansas University.

He got his law degree from KU in 1975, and went straight from graduation to the FBI, where he spent the next 10 years with postings in Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Kansas City.

Trapp said he wanted to use his FBI training to improve the sheriff's department.

"The FBI academy is the best academy in the world," Trapp said. "I've had the opportunity to see the best and the brightest work. I think this can all be incorporated into my leadership."

Since 1985, Trapp has been in the Douglas County District Attorney's office, first as a drug prosecutor, and more recently as the No. 2 man in the department.

Trapp has the backing of many top county law enforcement officials, including former Sheriff Rex Johnson and Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich.

Ron Wilson (I)

Ron Wilson, 42, rural Vinland, has been a member of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department since 1989. He first was a corrections officer at the Douglas County Jail, then as road patrol deputy and training officer.

Wilson, an independent, said he has always wanted to work for the Sheriff's Department.

"Rex Johnson was sheriff when I was a kid," he said. "I always admired him, and that's what I always wanted to do."

After graduating from Santa Fe Trail High School in 1976, he spent a year at Washburn University, and then dropped out to get married. He spent the next decade doing remodeling jobs. In the late '80s, he decided to pursue his old dream of a law enforcement career.

He says his friendly personality will help him be a good leader for the department.

"I am a people person," he said. "My enthusiasm and leadership style can make every (sheriff's) employee want to make a difference."

Douglas County Treasurer

Diane Kennedy (R)

Diane Kennedy, a Lawrence native and a Realtor with Coldwell Banker McGrew Real Estate, 1501 Kasold Drive, has more than 25 years of experience in accounting and financial management.

"My expertise is in financial analysis and cost control, but I've done fiscal accounting and tax preparation as well," she said. "I'm wanting to bring a new, professional management style to the office."

A mother of two grown sons, Kennedy received degrees in accounting and business administration from Kansas University. She said her business experience will help her streamline customer service at the downtown treasurer's office and more efficiently use clerks at the satellite branches.

Pat Wells (D)

Incumbent Douglas County Treasurer Pat Wells, a Democrat, came to the treasurer's office from the Lawrence school district in 1996.

"I've been trying to get across to people my experience in the office. I've had seven year's experience four years as deputy, three as treasurer," she said. "In just two years time (the office opened) two new satellite offices for the taxpayers."

County residents are now able to pay county taxes for real estate and private property and register their motor vehicles and trailers at the new offices. At the two old branches, the treasurer's office handled motor-vehicle renewals and titles for 101,423 people.

Last year, Wells said, her office sold all of the properties on which it foreclosed in 1993.

"That's the only way we are going to get money back into the county funds," she said.

Before taking over as treasurer, Wells worked off and on for Lawrence schools for 26 years.

During the 1980s, she worked 4 1/2 years as deputy treasurer for Nancy Hempen, who retired in 1996.

Douglas County Commission, 3rd District

Larry Kipp (D)

A 53-year-old Democrat, Larry Kipp plans to bring the tenets of "smart growth" to county government.

"The most important issue we face is trying to keep this county affordable to the people who are already here," Kipp said.

Kipp said he wants to initiate studies of how different kinds of development put demands on government services to determine what kind of growth should be encouraged.

Kipp, a Manhattan native, grew up in Wilmington, Del. He owns a publishing company and has interests in a Canadian fishing lodge and software company.

Kipp attended Ottawa University, has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Delaware and a doctorate in biology from Kansas University.

The father of an 18-year-old, Kipp is the director of the Friends of Douglas County and a member of the Douglas County Property Owner's Assn., a tax watchdog group.

Kipp was a Palmyra Township Trustee from 1980 to 1984.

Jere McElhaney (R)

Jere McElhaney points to past county commissions, including those of his father, Louie McElhaney, who served from 1989 to 1997.

"We have had such great county commissions in the past," McElhaney said. "They have set a good precedent, and I want to continue that."

McElhaney, a 42-year-old Republican, is a Lawrence native who has owned McElhaney Fence for 20 years.

He has a bachelor's degree from Kansas University and an emergency intensive care degree from KU Medical Center, allied health.

The father of three children, ages 5, 9 and 16, McElhaney served one year on the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Ballard Center board, board of directors at Trinity Lutheran Church and committees for the American Fence Assn. and International Fence Industry Assn.

He was a volunteer firefighter for Wakarusa Township fire department for 25 years.

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