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Ready, willing and qualified

John Ball

By A Contributor

In April, we will be voting for three open City Commission seats. I urge you to get to know your candidates and to make a wise choice… one that best represents your views and positions on the issues.

I hope that as you get to know me and my positions through my ads, radio spots and candidate forums, you will decide to cast your vote for me as your city commissioner. My goal is to represent your interests, to balance city income with outflow, to minimize debt, and to improve the city’s fiscal discipline. I am committed to work with the other commissioners to reduce property taxes and debt, build consensus and make good decisions in the challenging years ahead. 

In the past several years our city debt has reached high proportions. The property taxes are higher due to economic develop-ment commitments, and the city faces more decisions on how to best distribute the tax money. 

I am a retired Army colonel, parent, foster parent and grandparent who cares about the citizens of Manhattan. My past experience in finding solutions that balance needs and spending will allow me to help Manhattan move forward responsibly while ensuring balance between taxes, social services, infrastructure and growth. 

I grew up primarily in Oklahoma but also lived in California. I attended Norman High School and the University of Oklahoma, earning a B.S. in science education with an emphasis in zoology. Judy and I were married in 1975, and I was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps officer in the Army in 1976. In 1990, I completed a master’s degree in operations, and in 2002 one in strategic studies. My service included multiple com-mand and staff posi-tions, as well as service during Desert Shield-Storm as chief, Medical Operations Officer (3rd Armored Division).

I believe I am uniquely qualified to be your city commissioner. My final military assignment was as the garrison commander of Fort Derrick, Md., where I provided executive management and supervision for over $80 million in installation resources. As garrison commander, I performed functions similar to those performed by mayors and city managers. As a special project, I also facilitated the development of the National Interagency Bio-defense Cam-pus encompassing six federal medical research organizations with a budget of approximately $1.5 billion. The NBAF facility scheduled for Manhattan is strategically related to this bio-defense work. People have concerns about the relocation of NBAF facilities to Manhattan. My experience and expertise will allow me to help people understand the complexities of the issue and to facilitate acceptable solutions.

After over 29 years of active-duty service, I retired from the Army. For three years, I worked as deputy program manager for DESE Research Inc., in Spring-field, Va., managing internal operations for the Washington, D.C., office as well as assigned customer projects. DESE does theoretical and analytical research in the fields of Defense, Energy, Space and Environment.

In 2008, I accepted an Army civilian position at Fort Riley, and Judy accepted a teaching position at Junction City High School. Over the last four years, she has taught chemistry, physics, meteorology and Earth science. 

Since moving to Manhattan, I have been able to take part in many community activities and gotten to know the people of Manhattan. I volunteered for the Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program and multiple board positions in non-political, non-profit organizations such as the Fort Riley Outdoorsman’s Group (FROG) and Friends of Sunset Zoo (FOSZ). I am serving as both the chairman of deacons as well as the chairman of Buildings and Grounds for College Heights Baptist Church. In June of 2012, I was appointed to the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board. Judy and I have come to feel at home in Manhattan, and I hope to continue to serve the community as your city commissioner.

Judy and I have been married for 37 years and have raised three sons, who are all Eagle Scouts. The “boys” (John Jr., Timothy and James) have all graduated from college with advanced degrees and are pursuing their careers in nuclear engineering, cardiology and dentistry. Judy and I have been foster parents in Alabama and Kansas and have three grandchildren. 

Thank you to the many who have already showed their support. Judy and I extend an invitation to you to join us in supporting my candidacy for Manhattan City Commission. To read about my approach to the issues and how you can help, go to my website: To support my campaign financially for any amount, you can contribute via the website or by mailing a check to “John Ball for City Commissioner,” PMB #235, 1228 Westloop Place, Manhattan, KS 66502. 

Paid for by John Ball for City Commissioner, Robert Friesen, Treasurer.

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