Citing “courage of my convictions” and a willingness to take on “difficult and unpopular tasks”, former Salina Mayor and current city commissioner Jon Blanchard announced late Friday afternoon that he will run for another term on the commission.
Blanchard read a prepared statement to a media gathering at the Salina City / County Building.
“Over the past forty years we have commissioned several Comprehensive Plans. Many of the decisions made in the past have strayed from these plans and our vision for the future. These detours have led to wasteful land-use policies, costly urban sprawl and stagnant growth. I ran for City Commission in 2013 because I felt that, as a land planner with over 25 years of experience (now over 29) in real estate development, I possessed the necessary tools to begin to create policies that would promote a quality and sustainable community. Our citizens must understand that we cannot continue to expand our city footprint (in the form of infrastructure and the ever-increasing expense of the maintenance obligations in perpetuity) without a proportional growth in population. This is fiscally unsustainable, and irresponsible. I have led the effort to provide a balanced, fiscally responsible approach to residential development base on free-market principles. Another important area where I have provided leadership is economic development. I, along with a great deal of citizens and small business owners, have felt for some time that the model for delivering economic development services needed to be reconsidered. We reconsidered and have initiated a new model in the form of an independent Economic Development Organization, whose primary task is to deliver more quality and premium wage jobs. These have been very difficult, and at time, contentious issues. I have stood strong for the people I represent, and I have the scars to prove it.
As I see it the challenges moving forward area as follows: we need to resist the temptation of trading our long-term economic sustainability for short-term gains. Bigger is not always better, and the easiest way is rarely the best. We need a balanced our past approach by focusing on redevelopment opportunities that take advantage of our existing assets (infrastructure) and utilizes our resources in the most efficient manner possible. Strengthening and expanding locally-owned business opportunities will help broaden and secure our economic base and provide future economic development opportunities.
In 2013, I was asked in a Salina Journal Candidate Questionnaire: What should voters know about you?
I am confident that I have lived-out my response which was: “I have the courage of my convictions, am willing to take on difficult and unpopular tasks
I was also asked one word to describe you? PREPARED was my response.”
During his tenure on the city commission Blanchard has served as mayor, and vice-mayor.
Blanchard’s current term was set to expire. Two other terms are also set to expire, including Mayor Kaye Crawford, Commissioner Melissa Hodges.
Joe Hay, who narrowly missed winning a commission seat in the most previous election, has also filed to run.
The deadline to file for the fall election is June 1st at noon.