The following is the text of a letter from gubernatorial candidate Tom Holland to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
Members of Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry Executive Board,
Thank you for contacting my campaign regarding your endorsement process for Kansas Governor. Out of respect for your organization’s time, I wanted to inform you that I am not seeking, nor would I accept, an endorsement from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
I firmly believe that the Chamber’s rhetoric during this past legislative session was unbecoming of any organization whose mission is supposedly focused on enhancing the economic well-being of our Great State. Specifically, when you likened those receiving state services to animals feeding ‘at the government trough’, the Chamber insulted the elderly, the vulnerable, school children and struggling Kansas families.
Furthermore, as a business owner, I was disappointed to see the Chamber support an amendment opposed by some of your key members – Westar Energy, Kansas City Power & Light and Sunflower Electric Cooperative. Your decision to provide political cover to a congressional candidate, rather than support the interests of your members, could have created serious federal regulatory repercussions for Kansas businesses.
Finally, the Chamber’s opposition to a new Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which will create and protect tens of thousands of jobs, is inexplicable given the Chamber’s supposed focus on creating jobs. Just this week I was proud to attend an event celebrating the economic development benefits of our transportation plans. That event was hosted by American Eagle Outfitters, a Chamber member. This illustrates the disconnect between your priorities and those of the organizations you claim to represent.
The priorities and actions of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce have become highly partisan and detrimental to the development of our state’s economy. As the next Governor of Kansas, I look forward to the day when I can work with a state chamber organization that constructively engages all stakeholders and works to foster real economic development in Kansas.
Candidate for Governor