Hickman is a current City Commissioner for Hays. He is a registered independent, something I find rather refreshing. I've found many registered independents in Kansas tend to be very conservative. So conservative in fact that they register independent because they don't believe the Republican Party represents their values. Lately on the national level, I would wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. Hence the need for a strong conservative voice in Washington like Tim Huelskamp.
However, it was a Newsbank search that piqued my interest. Hickman wrote a letter to the editor in 2004 endorsing Democrat state Senator Janis Lee for re-election.
2004 was the first election for state Senators after redrawing district lines in 2000. Lee ran against Larry Salmans, a conservative Republican legislator who had represented District 37, but after new district lines were drawn lived in the same district as Janis Lee. So an unusual election was set up where both candidates were incumbents.
That is what troubles me about Hickman's very public endorsement of Lee over Salmans. Salmans was a proven Republican and conservative and yet he found it necessary to publicly support the Democrat in the race. Perhaps that is why he's registered as an independent.
Hickman goes even further at the end of his letter to compliment Eber Phelps and Dan Johnson, State Representatives from Hays. Phelps is a rather liberal Democrat and Johnson is no friend of conservatives, fiscal or otherwise. So in one letter Hickman chose the establishment over principles.
Of course Hickman is free to endorse whomever he wants. What is concerning is his new support for Rob Wasinger, and Wasinger welcoming him with open arms.
Again, Rob is free to accept support from whoever he chooses. But how long will he continue to wear a "conservative" label while seeking support from those who clearly have had no interest in electing conservative candidates in the past, and have even gone out of their way to publicly endorse known liberal Democrats?
With no voting record and a long history of insider Washington politics, keeping company with supporters of liberal Democrats would seem to be a move a "conservative" candidate would want to avoid.
Here's Hickman's letter of endorsement of Lee.
Janis Lee deserving of your vote for 36th Senate seat
How fortunate we are to have Janis Lee as our state senator. She has been a stalwart ally of Hays and Russell in our efforts to gain water independence for the next 50 years.
Whenever Hays has needed her assistance, Janis Lee has been there to help, even before Hays was added to her district.
As a city commissioner of Hays and a former member of the Water District in which Hays and Russell are partners, I can unequivocally tell you that we should all vote for Janis Lee for 36th District Senate this year. Please help our communities continue to succeed in reaching an equitable settlement with the State of Kansas and ensure that our children, grandchildren and their descendants never have to beg for water for our city again.
In my opinion, we can have a strong leadership team in Topeka with Janis Lee, Eber Phelps and Dan Johnson representing Hays. Please support Janis Lee with your vote.
Hays city commissioner