Good Luck

October 17th, 2019

candidate boot campLiberal Area Coalition for Families Board President Kay Burtzloff, left, goes over the package candidates need to file before running for office with Janeth Vazquez, Felipe Chacon, Presephoni Fuller and Kathy Fitzgerald Thursday evening at the coalition’s Candidate Boot Camp at Liberal Memorial Library. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


The filing deadline for this year’s local elections is June 3, a little less than a month away, and some candidates have already filing.

For other candidates who are considering running, the Liberal Area Coalition for Families helped some them with some basic tips about a campaign through a Candidate Boot Camp.

LACF hosted the boot camp Thursday at Memorial Library, and coalition board president Kay Burtzloff said the training is part of the Kansas Health Foundation’s Voter Engagement Grant.

“This is actually part of my grant work with the Liberal Area Coalition for Families,” Burtzloff said. “In addition to working on ‘Get Out the Vote’ and voter registration, the other thing is also doing candidate education, recruiting candidates to show a greater diversity of the community, getting new candidates to run for office. That’s all part of my grant work. This was something I put down in the initial plan when I wrote the grant for Kansas Health Foundation. I knew I wanted to try to do candidate recruitment.”

Burtzloff emphasized the boot camp is a strictly non-partisan meeting meant to educate potential candidates.

“First and foremost, I wanted them to understand how to fill out the packet because I don’t want candidates who are interested to get to the county clerk’s office and not have the packet correctly filled out,” Burtzloff said. “It is a little confusing. I made sure I understood what was needed for the packet so I could be clear with them and answer any questions they might have.”

The Nov. 5 election ballot will include three Liberal City Commission positions and five USD 480 Board of Education positions. The three city commission positions include two four-year terms and one two-year term, while the school board has four four-year terms and one two-yer term. Burtzloff said this is just one of the points she tried to educate people about  Thursday.

“You have to be clear if you’re running for the four-year term or the two-year term,” Burtzloff said. “I wanted them aware of that situation before they get into the clerk’s office so they can make sure it’s all part of their campaign strategy, not just a quick last-minute decision.”

When she planned the boot camp, Burtzloff said she had no idea how many people would show up, but she does hope those who did show up were encouraged to file.

“I hope I demystified some of it so they’re not intimidated to go ahead, fill out the information and to file,” she said. “Perhaps if people see this and see people are interested in running, if they want me to work them just like I’m working here, if there’s some other people out there who are interested in filing and couldn’t come tonight, I’m also happy to meet with them and do exactly what I did here, which is go through all the paperwork, give them the files and do this education up until Monday, June 3, at noon.”

Burtzloff can be reached at 620-629-0203 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The LACF president said above all else, she would like to see local boards reflect the community they serve.

“One of the things we identified early on is regardless of the quality of the people we have right now, the issue is that looking at our boards, they do not represent our community,” she said. “What I’m hoping is to find candidates who basically better represent our community, whether it’s a matter of diversity of the individual or geographic diversity. One of the issues we have is a lot of our candidates basically live in this same little area of town. We don’t have a lot of candidates from the south end of town. We don’t have a lot of candidates from other parts of the city. I’m really hoping we have candidates on the ballot who do a better job of representing our community.”

In the past, some Hispanics and blacks, as well as women, have sought office, with little success, and Burtzloff said much of this has to do with how they campaign.

“That was part of the reason I spent half of this meeting talking about how to campaign,” she said. “I think a lot of people do have an interest in running. Maybe they get everything filed, but they don’t understand what it takes to actually run a campaign and win a campaign. That is something I do have a background in.”

Burtzloff said she believes she has one answer to why the majority of Liberal’s population is not represented on local boards, as well as a solution to the problem.

“There is no reason why we don’t have more Hispanics on the boards other than the Hispanics are not voting,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a catch 22, but hopefully, by seeing folks who represent them in the campaigns, they will start supporting them.”

Burtzloff said the effort to diversify local boards is not meant to harm those already sitting on those boards.

“It’s not a matter of bashing the current people,” she said. “I think we’ve got some good people on the boards, but they’re all coming from the same perspective.”

Pick your language/Elige su idioma