Archive for Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Local man seeks House seat

May 22, 2002

Poor leadership in the Kansas legislature, especially in public education, is one of the main reasons rural Baldwin resident Tom Holland is running for a seat in the 10th District in the Kansas House of Representatives.

"I really think there has been a failure in the leadership in Topeka," he said. "Our legislature has not made long-term, fiscally prudent decisions when managing the budget."

Holland, 40, who filed as a Democratic candidate last Tuesday, seeks the position currently occupied by Baldwin resident, Republican Rep. Ralph Tanner.

Holland, a Baldwin resident for eight years, said he is disappointed with the Kansas Legislature's lack of foresight, especially when planning for the state's education needs.

"It strikes me as being unacceptable," he said. "Classrooms are crowded. Teachers have lost ground in this state. They are more stressed out and paid less. We're not investing in higher education programs.

"I think our kids will be hurt by that," he said. "I really question how competitive are kids are going to be."

Holland, who has four children with the youngest in kindergarten and the oldest a college sophomore, said the Legislature could have avoided the budget shortfall.

"I'm not one for saying we need to raise taxes. I think there's a lot of waste in the government," he said. "Through the lack of long-term foresight in fiscal planning, Kansas families are paying for it now."

Holland, who is president of the Baldwin-based Holland Technologies, an information technology professional services firm, said even though he has never run for a political office, he believes he is a good candidate.

"I've got business experience and financial knowledge," he said.

His experience as a facilitator, he said, also gives him the experience of working with a variety of people.

"I'm a people person," he said. "I just enjoy working with people."

Though he filed as a Democrat, Holland said he considered himself a moderate candidate who would attract voters from both parties.

"Labels don't mean anything anymore," he said. "I'm hoping people will say here's a guy that might be able to help us out in the Legislature."

If elected, he said he would like to focus on and find common interests between Kansas families that generate tax revenue, small businesses that generate tax revenue and public schools.

"They are the road to long-term economic growth," he said. "I'm looking to implement programs that are sustainable for the long term."

Holland said he is interested in hearing what people have to say.

"I am here to listen and learn about their problems, their interests and their concerns," he said. "I don't think the Legislature is doing a good job of that."

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