Why I'm running for the community college board in Johnson County, KS

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Benjamin Hodge
Kansas GOP Delegate, 2009-’10
Kansas Representative, 2007-’08
JCCC Trustee, 2005-’09
Web site: BenjaminHodge.com
Phone: (913) 259-4236
Email:[email protected]

Wednesday, December 12, 2011

Hodge announces JCCC campaign and platform

Five county-wide co-chairs: Sen. Ray Merrick, Rep. Patricia Lightner, Rep. Owen Donohoe,
Rep. Amanda Grosserode, Commissioner Michael Ashcraft

Internal poll numbers: 75% name ID — higher name recognition, favorability than JCCC Board Chairman Don Weiss (Democrat)

“Every governing body from top to bottom needs at least one member who will stand up for the taxpayers, and Benjamin Hodge is that person.” — Gardner News editorial board

Today, Benjamin Hodge announced his campaign for the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees. There are seven at-large seats. Three positions are elected on April 5, 2011. The top three vote-getters win election.

Internal polling showed Hodge with 75% name recognition among likely April voters. Only 62% of likely voters had heard of incumbent JCCC Board Chairman Don Weiss, a liberal Democrat and DeVry administrator who is now well-known for numerous legal violations at JCCC, and who ran a high-profile campaign for State Board of Education in 2006 against the eventual winner and incumbent State Board of Education member John Bacon, a Republican.

Hodge also registered a higher favorability rating than Don Weiss among likely April voters.

Five proven leaders have agreed to serve as campaign co-chairs for Hodge’s candidacy:

  • Ray Merrick, Kansas Senator and former Kansas House Majority Leader (links to Merrick’s government and Facebook page).
  • Three-term Representative Patricia Lightner. Lightner received 37% to Congressman Yoder’s 43% in the 2010 Republican primary, despite spending one-fifth as much as Yoder. Lightner won among Olathe’s voters. Her Lightner for Congress Facebook page gained an amazing 6,845 fans.
  • Representative Owen Donohoe of Shawnee, now in his third term.
  • Representative Amanda Grosserode of Lenexa. Grosserode solidly beat two-term Democratic incumbent Gene Rardin in 2010. Grosserode organized the April 2009 Tea Party (pictured above) that drew 10,000 people to Johnson County Community College. Join Grosserode on Facebook.
  • Johnson County Commissioner Michael Ashcraft of Olathe. Ashcraft beat a 12-year incumbent in the 2010 elections.

Hodge served a four-year term on the JCCC Board after receiving in April 2005 what remains a record high total number of votes for the community college election. He narrowly lost re-election in 2009. Hodge also served in the Kansas House of Representatives and as a delegate to the state Kansas Republican Party. You can learn more about Hodge at the “Background” section of his Web site.

Hodge out-lined some of his goals, once re-elected to another four-year term:

  1. Protect free speech and other student rights, including privacy rights. A federal judge recently decided that the college illegally expelled four students. These students’ privacy rights were unnecessarily violated because of the rude, unethical behavior of JCCC leaders Don Weiss, Terry Calaway, and others.
  2. Change the election format to seven districts, from the current at-large method. State law allows community colleges to choose their methods of election. It merely takes a majority vote by the seven-member board to change to seven districts (six districts and one at-large). This would provide for better representation for voters in this populous county.
  3. Restore the college’s reputation, now tarnished through the ongoing tolerance for sexual harassment, First Amendment violations, illegal student expulsions, at least one likely illegal employee firing, open records act violations, open meetings violations, and other behavior which has brought the college repeated, national attention and that has cost the taxpayer millions of dollars through cover-ups and phony “reforms.”
  4. Open budgets and open bidding. This is the taxpayers’ college and the taxpayers’ money, and it is not a few elite individuals’ property.

Hodge encourages you to join the 3,000 people connected with Hodge on Facebook, at either his personal page or his political page. Also, you’re invited to join the 500 accounts following Hodge on Twitter.

Hodge graduated from Shawnee Mission Schools, K-State, and has completed the Master’s in Business program at UMKC. He is a writer and online publisher. He edits the Johnson County section of the national site RedCounty.com, and he publishes KansasProgress.com.
What Others Are Saying About Hodge

“We applaud you…” — Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a national First Amendment rights group

“Mr. Hodge, thanks for being on the right side…” — Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor”

“Hats go off to Ben Hodge for having the courage to not back down in the face of elitist criticisms and for pressing forward.” — Regional editorial news site ” Kaw and Border ”
A “Champion of the Taxpayer” — Americans for Prosperity

“Good job, Ben Hodge….” — Kansas City Star editorial board member Yael Abouhalkah, after Hodge challengedJCCC’s leadership on following the state open meetings laws

“A first-class political mind.” — Johnson County Commissioner Michael Ashcraft, 5th District

A “champion of open meetings and open records” and “committed to transparency” — Gardner News editorial board

“Benjamin Hodge deserves support” — former JCCC employee Tammy Clem

A “Pro-jobs Legislator” — Kansas Chamber of Commerce

“Every governing body from top to bottom needs at least one member who will stand up for the taxpayers, and Benjamin Hodge is that person [at JCCC].” — The Gardner News editorial board

91% Lifetime Rating — Kansas Taxpayers Network


Thank you for your time, as always.


Benjamin Hodge

Kansas Representative, 2006-’08
Trustee, Johnson County Community College, 2005-’09
Voicemail: 913-259-4236
[email protected]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hodge.benjamin
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/benjaminhodgeks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/benjaminhodge



Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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