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Kansas legislator Howell to seak seat on Sedgwick County board

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, at 8:39 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, at 8:39 p.m.

Rep. Jim Howell says he wants to solve problems “closer to home” and announced Tuesday his intention to run for the District 5 seat on the Sedgwick County Commission.

Howell, a Derby Republican, filed by petition, saying he submitted 800 signatures to the election commissioner’s office.

“I am excited to file by petition,” he said, explaining he spent eight weeks knocking on doors and talking to county residents. “It is important to listen to the people of Sedgwick County to learn their priorities.”

Howell, whose legislative term is up in 2014, said he’s running on three R’s: real jobs, the right priorities and reducing the burden of government.

“People are tired of big government solutions,” Howell said.

In a campaign speech in front of the historic downtown Wichita courthouse, Howell called for government to be more fiscally responsible. Residents want more efficient and effective government, he said, as well as better infrastructure, increased property rights and principled leadership.

Howell seeks the seat currently held by former Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton, also a Republican. District 5 covers southeast Wichita and Derby. Skelton is chairman of the board.

With 22 years in flight-test engineering, Howell said, he identifies himself as a problem-solver.

He said he worked hard to get an additional $750,000 for the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch, which has faced the possibility of closure because of a funding gap at the state level.

“That took a large part of my time last session,” he said.

A second driver’s license site for the county – in Derby – is another project Howell touted Tuesday.

“That’s a real solution,” he said.

Howell is vice chairman of the General Government Budget and Pensions and Benefits committees and also is on the Judiciary Committee. He is vice chairman of the South Central Legislative Delegation.

Cregg Hansen, past commander of the American Legion 408 Post in Derby, spoke on Howell’s behalf and said that as a fellow veteran, “I trust him to serve Sedgwick County with honor.”

Max Brown, a small-business owner, said Howell has “helped ease burdens on the tax front.”

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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