Background (previous work or political experience, etc.):
My wife and I have lived in Newton all of our married life. We raised our three kids here in Newton and sent them all to Newton schools, finishing up at Newton High School. In 1982, with no outside resources but a solid work ethic and the ability to roll up my sleeves and do whatever it takes to achieve the end result, I started buying a few rental houses and in addition to that started painting houses. In the first five or six years, it was just me, and then as time went on I slowly brought on employees. In 1994, we purchased the old Cox Communications building and established what is now our current office and shop area with the company name of Koehn Painting Co. LLC. We have grown since then into residential, commercial and industrial painting, with projects all over the state of Kansas.
Reasons for running for office:
Newton has been very good to our company and our family. This community has so many well-established businesses and quality of life amenities with more opportunities coming at us in the future. I am running for city commission to be involved with helping to be the vision of Newton and to organically grow our existing businesses and be the place where new businesses want to make their home.
What are the issues you think are most important to address:
There are various signals from Topeka that funding sources are going to shrink sooner rather than later, which means that the city commission is going to have to be a better steward of our local tax dollars to make them stretch farther. The old saying “A rising tide lifts all boats” is one Newton will need to adopt. This means using all methods possible to market our community and bring in new companies to the Kansas Logistics Park, the existing Industrial Park and help organically grow existing companies to grow our tax base while keeping our costs low.
Why are you the best candidate for the job:
I bring business skills to the table with the ability to strategically analyze business and project budgets and am able to ask the right questions and get the information necessary to carry out tough negotiating processes. I am very direct, with no hidden agenda about our current city administration and can hold to my principles. One more valuable skill I have is the ability to build consensus and lay out a persuasive point of view for things that make sense.
What should the community of Newton look like 10 years in the future:
Newton will be a vibrant, growing community in 10 years with a thriving YMCA, a thriving Newton Recreation Center, two to four companies in the Kansas Logistics Park, a Meridian Center that is busting at the seams, Sand Creek Station that has no more lots available to build on, numerous new restaurants and businesses, and other new housing sources.