Richard E. Keim is running for McPherson Commissioner of Public Works. The Buzz sent out a questionnaire to the candidates for city commission. Here are his responses:
Please give a biography of yourself so the voters can get to know you on a personal and professional level.
I was born and raised in New Jersey; I have lived in New Jersey, Texas, South Carolina, California, and Hawaii before moving to McPherson in 1997. I served 10 years in the United States Navy and 21.5 years with the McPherson Police Department. I have four daughters and two stepsons ranging in age from 30 years to 8 months. I am currently employed at Pfizer.
Do you think our main street/downtown is healthy and successful? Why or why not?
I think our Main Street has a good variety of businesses but could as a collective hold more public events aimed towards families.
What’s the one major issue you plan to address?
Street maintenance and repair funding. Street repairs are currently funded with a ½ cent voter-approved sales tax and I believe this needs to be a budgeted item. You cannot rely on voters to continue to approve an increase in taxes to fund a necessity.
What makes you stand out from other candidates?
I have served for the benefit of others my entire adult life and I see being a commissioner as a way to continue to serve the residents of McPherson. I have children that are still growing up in McPherson and are attending school in McPherson so I want McPherson to be a great place for not only the voters but my children as well.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our town?
I currently have a Facebook page to promote my candidacy and if elected I will keep that page active to keep the citizens informed of things happening within the city. This would also allow them to contact me directly through Facebook. I believe if the citizenry is better informed they would be more involved especially if they know that their opinion matters.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
Invest in our infrastructure to make necessary repairs that have gone ignored. McPherson is very pretty on the surface but many of our neighborhoods are being ignored when it comes to maintenance.
What neighborhood do you live in? Why? Where are your favorite places to spend time in our town?
I live one block west of the Middle School because it is where I could afford to buy a house. I spend a lot of time at our local parks with my children, we also try to partake in family-friendly events that occur throughout the area.
What do you know about how councils work?
I believe a City Commission should work to do what is best for the people they represent and ensure the taxes they provide are being spent to better the quality of life for the citizens. I would also like to see the Commission size increased to allow for a better representation of the residents of McPherson and to discourage wasteful spending.
What are your ‘red-line’ issues when it comes to budget votes?
Anything that doesn’t benefit the taxpayers of McPherson. I think the money spent on the exit North of town and the community building could have been better spent.