Editor's note: The following is a paid political letter.

Fang wants to expand expand healthcare, ensure equitable housing

To the editor:

A promise I made to myself, long before I decided to run for Riley County Commission, District 2, was that I would amplify the voices of the unheard so that we can have the healthy and equitable community we have always deserved.

Many of the stories I hear from residents speak to strong resiliency and solidarity — values that capture the greatness of Riley County. But in them are also layers of challenges and grief.

Northern Riley County residents, largely composed of farmers, help keep our country and region fed. Yet, if they were to be injured and in need of medical attention, it could take up to 45 minutes for an EMS ambulance to arrive.

College students, soldiers and working class people reside in our community often with the hopes of making Riley County home. Yet, much of the housing available is not only unaffordable but also unsafe.

Parents, local business owners, and senior residents have all stepped up to support our community. Yet, when we needed our local government to do the same, they have turned their backs on us.

Unfortunately, these problems have always existed in Riley County. The pandemic has just made them more visible, and more widely and deeply felt: poor access to healthcare, unaffordable and unsafe housing, and a broken democracy. Yet, leaders in our community continue to ignore these issues. Some even deny their existence. The story they try to sell is that everything is fine. Well, we’re no longer buying it.

These lived experiences and stories of Riley County residents are why I am running for office.They are what have informed my platform and my promise to the people of Riley County: To fundamentally transform the structure of our county government, To prioritize our people over their politics, and To be Human First.

This is my vision for my time in office:

Expand healthcare and EMS.

We must enact an evidence-based COVID pandemic response. We must utilize the best available scientific and local data to enact policies that will first, protect county residents, and second, allow our economy to grow. This includes enacting a mandatory mask mandate and creating guidelines and phases for reopening.

We must expand medical services to our rural communities, including creating a new EMS station in Northern Riley County, and assistance for EMS to implement community paramedicine — a basic practice that has drastically increased access to basic healthcare across the country.

We must also adequately fund mental health services, and adopt a “Health in All Policies” approach to decisions made at the county commission level.

Ensure equitable housing.

Short term, we must enact a local eviction moratorium, should the federal order expire. I promise to also firmly support rent relief and rent & mortgage cancellation efforts.

We must also create an affordable housing advisory board. This is long overdue. The board must include the voices of people who directly experience the greatest housing challenges in our community. This diverse board that includes the real housing experts — the people who live these challenges — will recommend policy changes at the county level to address the deeply rooted systemic issues in our housing system.

In addition, I will fight for an affordable housing trust fund to create permanently affordable housing and put people over profits.

We must work collaboratively with city governments to develop community-driven, equity based criteria for evaluating land use decisions. Coming from a family of landlords, I know both sides of the story and of what goes on in the life of renters and landlords. I will fight hard to achieve truly affordable housing and not bandaid solutions or those that benefit only the wealthy.

Community-led democracy

We must strengthen our local democracy, put the community in control, and bring more transparency to our county’s decision making process. There are very simple steps we can take.

We must move our meeting times to evenings, streamline the meetings, and implement mechanisms for live virtual public participation.

We must provide childcare at in-person commission hearings, because having a child should not be a barrier to participation in the democractic process.

We must have regularly scheduled commission meetings in rural Riley County so that everyone can participate, regardless of where they live.

We must also ensure that membership on the County Advisory Boards is equitable. People closest to problems are closest to the solutions, and our advisory boards should center their voices.

Last but not least, I will adamantly advocate for language accessibility in county government programs and services. America is a land of immigrants. I come from an immigrant family. I have seen firsthand how leaders in this country use language to exclude citizens from exercising their rights, and I will not let that happen in Riley County. I will fight for inclusion of all county residents in our process.

To me, this election isn’t about politics. This election is about being honest — about the real challenges we face and about shaking things up and re-orienting ourselves to how we address these challenges. It is about creating the change we wish to see in the world, starting with our own backyard.

We can start by strengthening local democracy and making sure people have the basic necessities of healthcare and housing. If you share this vision, then vote for me, and we will make this change, together.

Our voter registration deadline is Oct. 13, and early voting begins Oct. 14. You can request a vote-by-mail ballot, find your polling location, as well as other important info at FangForRileyCounty.com/VOTE.

Fanny Fang, 

Candidate for Riley County Commission District 2

Editor's note: The following is a paid political letter.

Vote for Tom Hawk for Kansas Senate

To the editor:

I am voting for Sen. Tom Hawk to be re-elected to the Kansas Senate District 22. Among his accomplishments for our area are protection of legacy farmers, preservation of conservation easements at Fort Riley and the repaving of Randolph streets. he is the first senator in a long time who has given such attention to the rural areas in his district. His advocacy has convinced me that he really cares about his rural constituents. 

Jennifer Byarlay,

Randolph

Conservative former mayor: Black lives matter to all of us

To the editor:

So, K-State football jerseys are now carrying a "BLM" patch. And this has caused a degree of angst amongst some Wildcat fans. So much so that they have withdrawn support in an amount yet to be quantified by the Athletics Department.

As a conservative former mayor of this fine town, and an avid fan, my hope is that we accept this slogan as a statement about the culture we hope to further at our university and within the athletics program.

That in fact black lives do matter to us, all of us. That we recognize being a black youngster carries with it challenges that perhaps we have not recognized. And that better-policing benefits all of us.

Now some will read this as Bob Strawn kowtowing to some far-off leftist agenda. To which I say, poppycock! Black lives matter to you, to me, to all of us. To deny that is evil.

So, get behind these administrators, coaches, and youngsters. See the good in their hopes. Cheer your hearts out for them. And oh, yeah, EMAW!

Bob Strawn,

1551 Williamsburg Court

Shouldn't K-State say that all lives matter?

To the editor:

I am Randy Rich, KSU BSME '68. I grew up in St. John, Kansas, listening to KSU basketball with my dad on the only radio in the house. In 1963 I was asked by Tex Winter to walk on the basketball team some months before being asked by Coach Howie Shannon to walk off. I have closely supported the university and CAT sports since, being an avid fan just short of obnoxious. My wife suggests sometimes I cross the line. I have invested in Bill Snyder Family Stadium as well as have pledged multiple six-figure dollars to FarmHouse for the current remodel construction. I bleed purple. My tag reads A68CAT. Finally, I am a Christ follower, sinner but forgiven!

As I watched the game on Sept. 12, I was sad to see that K State sports has become political. Apparently it is no longer the goal of the Athletic Department to only put quality, competitive teams on the field/floor while embracing integrity, but to additionally push a political agenda. Of course I am referring to our alliance with Black Lives Matter as signified by the CATS sporting a BLM icon on their jerseys.

What does BLM stand for? Well it could stand for just a phrase that is true, black lives do matter. Or, it could stand for a Marxist movement supported by corporate and private dollars to aggressively push the US into socialism. Certainly I don't think the people of Kansas or KSU support the actions of BLM protesters such as those standing outside the Compton hospital shouting, "I hope the (expletive) cops die." Apparently the BLM protesters don't think Black Lives Matter since at least one of the cops is black. BLM is not about black lives, it is about a movement. It is not about diversity, it is about a movement. It is about a movement I trust K State does not support.

I am aware of the blackmail of the KSU family by a handful of football athletes supported by most KSU athletes. And I am aware of your caring and extensive response by, within a couple of days, creating Student-Related and Faculty-Staff Related Action Steps. Good Work! Further, I am aware of KSU receiving the Excellence in Diversity Award each year since 2014. Good work again!

Diversity is defined as the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion or socioeconomic stratum. If KSU is to be diverse, shouldn't our public image suggest, All Lives Matter? Shouldn't we care about all colors? Shouldn’t

all colors and all origins be equally supported and equally promoted? Shouldn't the icon on our jerseys say All Lives Matter or maybe nothing at all? I'm confused and sad.

Randy Rich,

Scroggins, Texas

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