Several Southeast Kansas (SEK) Counties have been working together to organize and host a Republican Governor’s Forum. The intent of the Forum is to educate voters and promote the SEK region. Four Republican county chairs, Don Alexander of Neosho County, Marsha Wallace of Crawford County, Mike Howerter of Labette County and Virgil Peck of Montgomery County have invested many hours in preparation for what they expect to be a big event for SEK.
The event will take place in Parsons, at the Parsons Municipal Auditorium, located at 112 S. 17th – one block west of the main north-south corridor (Hwy 59 or 16th street) in Parsons on the evening of June 16th. The doors will open at 5:00 and the Forum will formally start at 6:00.
Virgil Peck, the “unofficial chairman” of the group, said the idea came to him in the middle of the night several months ago. Soon after, he approached the other county chairs about the idea and says, “They all liked the idea and were immediately willing to join together to make it happen”.
The group first met at the Republican State Convention in Wichita last February to start the process. Peck reports that they have worked hard at planning and making the necessary arrangements to ensure that the Forum is a first-class event for SEK. He says he is very grateful to the many area businesses and individuals who have made financial contributions to cover the expenses, especially the Platinum sponsors: Monarch Cement of Humboldt, Taylor Crane and Rigging of Coffeyville and Ash Grove of Chanute. “Their contributions make it possible for the event to be free to the public,” said Peck. He went on to say that some Forums and Debates around the State have charged an admission of as much as $20 per person to attend their event. “We didn’t want to exclude any Republican voter, so we are making this happen at no cost to those who wish to attend.”
All five leading Republican candidates for Governor have confirmed their attendance and participation. They are Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, State Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, Dr. Jim Barnett and Patrick Kucera. In addition to the candidates seeking the office of Governor, several Republican candidates running for 2nd District Congress and other statewide offices will be at the event to visit with voters.
Alexander said, “This forum gives the people of SEK an unprecedented opportunity to personally meet future leaders in Topeka and Washington.” He encourages voters to: “Come talk with the candidates, shake their hands, and ask serious questions.” Alexander adds, “The forum also gives these future leaders a look at what we have to offer in SEK – so a good turnout is important.”
Howerter informs area residents that if they just can’t make it to Parsons on the 16th, they can listen to the forum live on KGGF radio (690 AM) or view it live on the internet – as it will be live-streamed worldwide. “I have run several of this type of meeting in the past. I commend my fellow chairs, especially Virgil (Peck) and Don (Alexander), they have really been doing a great job.”
There will be free literature and yard signs from the many different candidates attending the Forum. It is recommended that attendees arrive early to get the best seats. Additionally, at 5:40 there will be a pre-forum event to introduce and hear from the candidates for Second District Congress.
Joining with the other Chairs to encourage attendance at the Forum, Wallace says, “Although it is beneficial to read about the candidates and listen to what they have to say on the radio or internet, there is no better way to get a feel for who a person truly is than to look them in the eye, shake their hand and visit with them in person.”