Name: Robert McClelland
Political affiliation: Republican
Campaign address: 1267 Road 371, Allen, KS, 66833
Campaign phone: 620-344-0444
Campaign email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign website: www.robertmcclelland.com
What skills and experience do you bring to the position of County Commissioner?
This is my first attempt at public office, my background for most of my career has been centered around developing, and managing all aspects of business from the ground up.
Like so many children in our community today, growing up in Lyon County had its own set of challenges for myself. Through my childhood and teenage years I was a product of a broken home, however I never viewed myself as a victim. These experiences have allowed me to understand the specific challenges that many families in our community face today. Almost 20% of our population live below the poverty line, and our hospitals are seeing a large numbers of drug overdoses every single month.
Over the years I have tried to learn from the mistakes that I have made, along with trying to understand and avoid mistakes that others have also made. In business I focus on being a good listener with the ability to formulate, execute, and track a common goal centered around sound judgment and decision making skills.
What are the most critical financial challenges for Lyon County, and what do you propose to address them?
We currently have a declining and aging population in our county, many of our children are moving away due to perceived lack of opportunity, and the agricultural industry continues to be hit hard year after year. We rank lowest in the state in per capita income yet we have some of the highest taxes. If this trend doesn’t reverse our current taxpayers will continue to be over burdened with higher and higher taxes. Currently our government leadership isn’t focused on bringing jobs and development to our communities. We do not have a Government Economic Development Team specifically engaged in conversations within different industries. In order for people to move to our county they will need to be able to prosper and have a way of life that meets their needs and expectations.
We can address this with the right leadership and conversations. We need to have a pro business and home ownership philosophy in our county. Our zoning ordinances and regulations need to reflect that, we should be encouraging entrepreneurship in our county and not discouraging it.
The new Emporia Lyon County Comprehensive Zoning Plan developed by an Oregon based engineering firm does not reflect our mid west values. This will eventually turn every municipality who decides to adopt it into a large home owners association. It will dictate what you can do with your property, how it will look, Increase the cost of a remodel project and is a complete overreach of our local governments.
I would vote No.
How will you prioritize weighty decisions such as infrastructure improvements or capital outlay projects?
Infrastructure is high on my list. Any infrastructure improvements or capital outlay projects need to be prioritized on a safety perspective first. We need to move our county into the 21 Century and really start to look at and expanding our internet connectivity and broadband internet coverage. We will not be able to attract both business and young people back to our communities if we can not meet these needs. The more people that live here the lower our taxes will be over time. Internet is no longer a luxury it needs to really be treated as a utility, just like water, gas, and electricity. Many business and individuals make decisions on where they will build a future based around utility accessibility. Our county roads continue to be a concern of many people in our community. The Road and Bridge Department currently maintains 1337 miles of total road surface. We need to continue to improve efficiency, cut wasteful spending, and reinvest so we have safe reliable roadways.
What is a county commissioner’s responsibility during a public health crisis?
A county commissioner’s number one responsibility in my opinion is public safety first and foremost. 2020 has been a challenging year one that I thought I would never see in my lifetime. I believe in making sound decisions based around all data points available. I do not believe in the government overreach that has occurred through this pandemic or in the manner we have handled it. Our government should be here to provide the framework that protects our individual rights and liberties. Our government doesn’t have a right to control healthy individuals movements or health decisions.
Since July 4th 1776 we have had moments in history that stood out and have defined us as A People, A Republic, and A Nation. Two hundred and forty four years after our Independence, in this moment in our history we have replaced the word fascism with safety, allowed the phrase democratic socialism in place of communism, and somehow gave up our legislative process to administrators to act as dictators.
Where do you see Lyon County in the next 5 to 10 years? How will you make your prediction(s) happen?
I would like to see our county be the economic powerhouse that it can be. We have great access to railways and major highways, this makes us strategically located in our Country and State where industries can thrive.
I would like to continue to see our drug overdose rate and substance abuse issues decline in the county. I think we can do this by providing our children with transportation and tools to be successful, prevention is a lot cheaper than rehabilitation.
I want to continue to build on our heritage of entrepreneurship spirit by reducing regulations and overreach by our government that discourages this creative effort. The new Emporia Lyon County Comprehensive Zoning Plan that is being approved right now does just that. It creates unnecessary regulations to solve issues that we do not have in our communities. This will ultimately reduce development.