Pam Foster points to education and business in bid for District 1 seat on Shawnee County Commission

Lisa R. Parker

Pam Foster is running as a Democrat for the District 1 seat of the Shawnee County Commission. She retired from Washburn University in November, which would let her fully focus on serving if elected.

Pam Foster retired in November after holding a variety of positions at Washburn University and, earlier, Kansas State University.

Foster said her background in education and experience in business give her unique insight into local government. She is running for the District 1 seat of the Shawnee County Commission.

Foster is one of two Democrats running for the seat held by Bill Riphahn, who is running for re-election as a Republican.

More: Shawnee County District 1 Commissioner Bill Riphahn announces re-election bid

Foster was the equal opportunity director at Washburn University, where she also served as an adjunct professor, ADA coordinator and Title IX coordinator. She retired from that position in November and says her qualifications would be good for Shawnee County.

She previously worked at Kansas State University as an associate director of equal opportunity and worked as a risk manager at community health care systems.

Foster said she will work closely with Shawnee County law enforcement and the parks and recreation department “in order to ensure quality of life for the citizens of Shawnee County.”

“A little less than half of our county employees work for the Corrections Department,” she said. “I think it’s in the public’s best interest to have a strong viable Law Enforcement and Corrections Department.”

What will Pam Foster bring to the county commission if elected?

Foster said she will listen to the experts in the field when evaluating changes requested by departments. Department heads are in that position for a reason, and Foster said it isn’t her place to tell them how to do their job.

“They’re the experts in that field,” she said. “You have to rely on that expertise and consider facts and base your decisions on the best interest of the county.”

Foster says she is a good communicator. This goes both ways: listening and speaking. She said this skill will help her effectively lead the county and handle interdepartmental work.

“One of the things that I’m really good at is listening to people, hearing what they have to say asking questions and listening to the answers and taking things under advisement,” she said.

Here’s where Pam Foster stands on taxes and expenditures

A major part of Foster’s bid will be her adherence to financial responsibility. Foster describes herself as extremely anti-tax, and she said she wants to do everything she can to avoid raising taxes for the citizens of Shawnee County.

Foster said she wants to see the county be run in such a way that it can effectively use its $100 million budget without asking citizens to front more of the bill.

Foster says her education and experience in business will help meet that goal.

“I have a master’s of business administration and I have served in administrative positions,” she said. “I’ve had budget and fiscal responsibility in terms of strategic planning.”

Foster said she hopes these qualifications will help her stand above in the race to become the District 1 Shawnee County commissioner.

“I hope those skills and that experience will work for Shawnee County and the voters will find that that those are qualifications that they can rely on,” she said.

Alex Edwards is the local politics reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached via email at [email protected], or via twitter @AMEdwards21.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Here’s what Pam Foster says about race for Shawnee County Commission

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