Ken White, a Democrat running for the Kansas House District 79 seat currently held by Republican Cheryl Helmer, issued a press release earlier this week stating that he is running to seek consensus-oriented solutions in the Kansas Legislature for the challenges facing south central Kansans.

White, of Belle Plaine, said in the release that his focus will be on taxes and jobs, as the current Kansas tax structure no longer reflects the great and growing disparity in family incomes.

“Currently, I have opponents on the far left and far right. I represent the middle ground. The Heartland of Kansas,” White said.

White began his career as a professional musician, touring and recording nationally, and has performed at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield. He settled in Kansas in 1997 and, for the past 18 years, has been a principal owner and chief financial officer of Wichita-based integrated marketing agency Howerton+White, working closely with regional and national companies to grow their businesses. He and his wife, Robin Macy, are stewards of the 110-year-old Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine.

White sees a run for public office as the next logical step in community service, the release states.

“I want to represent the interests of small businesses and rural Kansans at the state level,” he said. “As a small business owner, and steward of the Bartlett Arboretum, I’ve learned invaluable lessons about the critical importance of hard work and cooperation and believe I can be a solution-driven voice for our district.”

White said in the release that democracy is about compromise and achieving things by working together. He is especially concerned by political polarization, which he said leads to the best interests of the great majority not bring represented. White also thinks he can be part of the state solution for COVID-19.

“COVID-19 continues to put an unprecedented strain on our state and national economies. I believe I can be part of the solution, because I can listen, learn and meet in the middle. I especially want to be a voice for lower- and middle-class families, who are all being overlooked right now.”

White has been endorsed by Ed Trimmer, the former six-term sate representative for the 79th district.

“Ken will make an outstanding legislator. He is intelligent, rational, thoughtful and he sincerely cares about people more than party politics,” Trimmer said.

Helmer and another Democratic challenger, Richard Donovan Kautz, have also filed to run. Attempts to contact Kautz have so far been unsuccessful.

Kautz and White will compete in the Aug. 4 primary for the right to face Helmer in the November general elections.

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