Michael Kelley, of Winfield, who has filed for one of two open seats on the Winfield City Commission, said he is running in light of recent actions by the board relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the natural gas crisis.
Kelley gave three reasons why he is running for the city commission.
The first reason is to be involved in keeping Winfield a great community. Kelley said he has extensive experience in managing large organizations, including more than a decade working at Koch Industries managing multi-million dollar budgets and reviewing multi-million dollar contracts.
“As far as I know, I am the only candidate who has been attending city commission work meetings since last July, ensuring that I had a good understanding of the city business and am well prepared from day one to serve on the city commission if that opportunity arose,” Kelley said.
Another reason is in response to the natural gas crisis in February, which saw prices soar amid record freezing temperatures. The City of Winfield ended up taking out a state-backed loan to cover its share of the utility costs, resulting in a surcharge that will be added to customer bills for the next six years to pay it back.
Kelley said he can’t imagine how a contract was signed with gas suppliers that established no limits for the downside, and this decision alone should be reason enough for citizens to consider new leadership.
“While I do not fault the commission for the cold snap, nor for the market driven pricing increases, what I find incredible is that no thought appeared to have been given to limit the damage of such a situation. No planning appeared to have taken place for this type of scenario,” Kelley said.
The third reason he is running is to give voters a choice between someone who knows how to lead, and who will consider their personal freedoms, constitutional and God-given rights above all else, and someone who believed in a nanny state, said Kelley.
“Last year we witnessed governing bodies take away freedoms that they had no right to take, shutting down businesses, shutting down churches. Locally, we saw the commission treating the residents and business owners of Winfield as though they were five year olds, with no capacity for weighing the evidence and making a responsible, coherent decision for themselves, their businesses, their churches and their families,” Kelley said, referring to the city’s mask ordinance that was in effect from July 2020 until May 2021. Kelley said he is not against mask wearing, but is against mask ordinances requiring people to do so.
Kelley said he supports the ongoing fire/EMS center project, but would like to ensure it is being done in the most economical way possible.
Kelley said there are a lot of citizens who feel overlooked by local government, and he wants to give them a voice.
Kelley, who has lived in Winfield most of his life, is married with three daughters. He currently works for Gartner as a senior research director Secure Business Enablement group. This is his first run for public office.
The general election is Nov. 2.