Taylor-made for Kansas Secretary of State
Dennis Taylor of Topeka, 68, says his past experiences as a Shawnee County Commissioner, a Kansas Secretary of Labor and Chief of Staff for Gov. Mike Hayden have all prepared him for the office of Kansas Secretary of State that he is now seeking as a Republican candidate.
During a recent visit to Holton, Taylor talked about his “A-B-C’’ platform – audit elections, back-up votes with voter-verified paper ballots statewide and constantly verify systems security.
Taylor said the state is doing a good job of checking the status of first-time voters, but what about the long-time voters? They need to be audited, too, he said.
The same with the election results, he said. Currently, the election results are not being audited.
“I support investing in technology to increase security, trust and participation, Taylor said. “Protecting citizen voter information is where we need to focus our time and resources rather than prosecuting a handful of Colorado and Nebraska residents.’’
The next Secretary of State must shift focus and address the real threats to our elections, Taylor said.
“Recent data breaches – Equifax, Facebook, Target and Saks for example – and foreign attempts to interfere with the 2016 elections demonstrate the vulnerability of our voter registrations systems to manipulations. We must be able to assure the public of the integrity of the state’s election systems,’’ he said.
Taylor also touts his experience as a private sector strategic planning executive as important past experience that will assist him in serving as the next Secretary of State. He worked with private and public sector clients in the U.S. and around the world. During this time, he represented the U.S. government in 15 capitals on four continents.
“I have worked in a dozen countries where, for most of my lifetime, either voting was not allowed, trying to vote was dangerous, candidates were not chosen by the people and/or the elections were shams,’’ Taylor said. “As Americans, we need to treasure our voting rights. If elected, I will focus on smart security and fair administration of election laws, helping all citizens document their eligibility so all votes count.’’
Taylor said he has spent a third of his career in private business and the legal profession as an attorney and two thirds in public service management.
“As a county commissioner responsible for funding elections operations, head of four state agencies, and chief of staff to a governror, I have worked with the office of the Secretary of State for many years and I know what it takes to be effective,’’ Taylor said, adding that he has known every Kansas Secretary of State going back to Jack Brier.
Taylor is also a former chief of staff to the Kansas Senate and a former Shawnee County Auditor. He previously was selected as a Kansas Public Administrator of the Year by the Kansas Chapter of the American Society for Public Adminstration.
Taylor has business and law degrees from Drake University, a master’s degree in public administration from The University of Kansas and a law degree from UMKC School of Law. He also manages a legal referral service and provides legal advice through the Kansas Bar Association and teaches business law at Washburn University.
During the past decade, Taylor has helped restructure the Topeka Zoo and the city’s utilities and transportation operations. Taylor is a lifelong Kansan born in Topeka. After receiving his law degree, he began his career as a research attorney for two Kansas Supreme Court justices.
If elected, Taylor said, he would also work to better promote upcoming elections in the state. Kris Kobach, the current Kansas Secretary of State, is not seeking re-election. Instead, Kobach is running for governor. Taylor’s printed, promotinal material says he stands for “real, professional, change.’’
If elected, he would be able to step in and take charge of the office on the first day. It’s as if all the work he’s done in his life, up to this point, has prepared him for this new job.