Prairie Politics

Ranzau, resident spar over public health

Immigrant and progressive groups announced their desire to launch a recall effort of Chairman Richard Ranzau at a news conference on Monday .

But at Wednesday’s Sedgwick County Commission meeting, the opposition to Ranzau’s views on public health got more up close and personal.

Janice Bradley, a Wichita resident, told the commission it was wrong for Ranzau to formally ask the state to block illegal immigrants from participation in the federal Women, Infants and Children program, which issues checks to low-income mothers for foods like milk, eggs, cheese, cereal and formula.

“Bringing pregnant mothers’ immigrant status into this issue is irresponsible, shameful and unconscionable,” Bradley said.

Ranzau defended his stance on restricting WIC eligiblity, which his opponents say was the tipping point in the decision to try to recall him from office.

“I’m not saying they can’t get food or clothing or health care; they can,” Ranzau said. “But their parents will provide it, or they can go to the private sector or the food bank or health clinics.”

“We have absolutely no responsibility to subsidize illegal immigration in any way, shape or form,” he said.

Bradley blasted recent county votes on public health, addressing Ranzau directly multiple times.

“One of our primary responsibilities of our county government has been to promote and protect public health and welfare,” Bradley said.

Bradley said the County Commission has been skirting that responsibility through decisions to reject or trim health grants and cut health department spending.

But Ranzau said some public health programs are naive attempts to solve complex social problems, like obesity or infant mortality.

“It’s a myth to think there’s a government solution to every problem we have,” Ranzau said. “… We have to stop kidding ourselves.”

“There are some people that, no matter how many times you explain it to them, don’t care about the facts because they have their ideology they want to push.”

Reach Daniel Salazar at 316-269-6791 or Follow him on Twitter: @imdanielsalazar.