The Garden City Telegram
11/3/2012
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

County seat

Fort would know to place emphasis on collaboration.

Voters in Finney County's Third District have a choice when it comes to filling a position on the county commission.

Veteran educator Patsy Fort, a Democrat, is on the ballot against local farmer and Republican Duane Drees in the race for the commission seat to be vacated by Don Doll.

Fort has had an uphill battle because she's a Democrat, which always is a challenge in heavily Republican Kansas.

But the hope is when voters make their choice Tuesday, they'll consider more than party affiliations.

They should know Fort would approach her post on the commission as a creative problem solver — a skill she's honed over the years thanks to a notable variety of accomplishments.

Fort's background includes achievements beyond her work as a family and consumer sciences teacher. She's also been a small business owner, state director for Odyssey of the Mind (a creative problem-solving competition for students) and an adviser for Problem Solvers, a student group that solves such school-related problems as graffiti and trash generated by other students.

Considering her experience, it's no surprise to know Fort wants to do more to recognize and build on existing strengths in the county as a way to boost community pride.

Fort also knows the benefit of individuals and groups working together. One big issue before the county commission — sufficient funding for economic development — would be a situation in which collaboration would be key to ensuring the best outcome, she said.

Fort did acknowledge the potential benefit of allocating a portion of significant funding brought in via a bed tax in the county — and now used to bring visitors to town — for economic development incentives,

She also rightly cited the need for any agency given those sales tax receipts to spell out specifics on how they're spent, and to not let those public dollars simply accumulate in a fund.

On that issue and others, Fort would push for collaboration and creative problem solving by a county commission that would benefit from as much. Voters in Finney County's Third District should embrace such an approach, and give Fort the nod on Tuesday.