Michael B. Kearns has filed for the first district Riley County Commissioner seat. Russ Frey who currently holds this position has stated that he will seek the Kansas Legislative seat being vacated by Rep. Jeff Peterson.
Kearns, a Republican, has lived in Manhattan for seventeen of the last twenty two years. He and his family first moved here in 1980 when he was assigned to the legal office at Fort Riley.
Military orders required his absence from 1983 to 1988. In 1988 he and his family returned here upon his requested reassignment to Fort Riley and in 1991 he retired from the Army’s legal branch as a Lieutenant Colonel. Since 1991 Kearns has engaged in the practice of law for the State of Kansas as a Staff Attorney in the Department of Administration, as a prosecutor in the
Riley County Attorney’s office as an Assistant Riley County Attorney, as City Prosecutor for the City of Manhattan, and as a private practitioner. After thirty one years, in the practice of law he retired a year ago. In addition to the practice of law Kearns has been involved as a officer with various charitable or civic groups such as Youth As Resources, the Knights of Columbus, and CASA.
Kearns believes there are many issues the County Commission will face in the foreseeable future.
A leading one is keeping taxes as low as possible. It is his position that an elected officer must be frugal with the tax payers’ dollars. In that regard it is his position that "Government must prudently spend what is needed to provide for the needs of the community but not one dime more. People do not work to pay taxes."
Economic development is another matter that Kearns sees as needing attention. Government must help to create an environment in which established businesses can flourish and new businesses join the community and grow. He believes there is a need for the various governmental entities throughout Riley County to work together to create economic growth. For example Kearns believes that "A new and prosperous business in Ogden would be good not only for Ogden but for Manhattan and Riley County."
Kearns also sees the need to preserve the beauty of our area. He knows that economic development and preserving our wonderful surroundings are not mutually exclusive. It will take planning, listening to the citizens, and hard work to reach both goals and he is ready to undertake that challenge. Kearns said "One of the reasons my family and I decided to make Manhattan and Riley County our home is the beauty of the area. We love this place and I will not let it be ruined.
But we also need to have good jobs in order to keep our youth here and an inviting retail market in order to stay competitive as a regional shopping area."
Kearns also believes that it is very important to keep Fort Riley open as an active military post.
One way to do that, he believes, is to maintain close and cordial relations with Fort Riley so that
Riley County is seen as a good neighbor and a good place to live and shop.
Working with Kansas State University, especially its business development
programs, is also a priority with Keams. He believes that county government
must communicate with the University and identify and work on mutual goals.