1. I am 42 years old. I graduated from Goddard High School, Kansas State University and Washburn School of Law. I’ve worked in the Office of the District Attorney for the past 15 years, rising to the level of deputy district attorney, one of five deputies an office of 50 attorneys. My family has been in this area for generations. My parents, Bill and Patty Bennett, live in Goddard; my brother, Jeff Bennett and his wife Denise, live in Maize; my in-laws, Ray and Mitzi Taton, live in Cheney; and my brother-in-law, Tim and his wife, Patty Taton, live in Viola. My wife Tamara and I have lived in Cheney for nine years, where our three daughters attend school.
2. I am currently a deputy district attorney in charge of Trial Division II devoted to the prosecution of sex crimes, domestic violence, human trafficking, elder abuse and financial crimes. Prior to working in the DA’s office, I spent over two years working in the Geary County Prosecutor’s Office in Junction City. I am currently on the board of directors of the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (WASAC) and the Sedgwick County Child Advocacy Center. I am one of six prosecutors in the State chosen to represent the more than 300 prosecutors statewide on the board of directors for the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association (KCDAA), and I am in my third term as the chairman of the Administrative Council for the Cheney United Methodist Church. I also was appointed to the Kansas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Advisory Board (HTAB). I have been cross-designated as a Specially Appointed Assistant Attorney General by the past three Attorneys General for the State of Kansas.
3. I believe the biggest issue facing the next District Attorney is how to maintain the level of service provided by the office for the citizens of Sedgwick County while facing system-wide budget reductions and larger dockets. I would emphasize bringing the cases of first time, low level, non-violent offenders to resolution as quickly as possible prior to assignment of the cases to trial attorneys. This would reduce case loads for trial attorneys and, potentially, reduce the costs associated with jail overcrowding. Additionally, I would consider smaller trial teams and the use of paralegals to allow staff attorneys to handle more cases at a reduced cost to the taxpayer. With the county budget shrinking each year, we have to be prepared to meet the fiscal challenges.
1. Age 48. My wife, Jennifer and I, are the proud parents of four children, ages 9 to 16. Member of the 2011 Kansas Men’s Republican Leadership Series, Knights of Columbus, Youth Football Coach.
2. University of Kansas School of Law, 1992. Assistant District Attorney, Sedgwick County 1992-2001. Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Terrorism & Violent Crimes Section, Capital Case Unit, 2001-2002. Deputy District Attorney, Sedgwick County, 2002-2010. Special Prosector, Butler County, 2010 – Present. Special Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, 2011 – Present
Kansas Prosecutor of the Year, 2004. Notable cases: State v. Dennis Rader (BTK); State v. Reginald and Jonathan Carr; State v. Theodore Burnett and Elgin Robinson (Chelsea Brooks murder case); State v. Michael Marsh (first capital murder case in Sedgwick County); State v Stanley Elms (capital murder); United States v. Billy Cooper (capital murder in Southern District of Mississippi); State v. Adam Longoria (capital murder in Barton County).
Endorsements: Kansans for Life; Kansas State Rifle Association; Vickie Tiahrt; Bobby Stout, former chair of the Wichita Crime Commission; Mike Hill, former Sedgwick County Sheriff; Lynn Nichols, former Chair of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce; Craig Murphy, former Butler County Sheriff; Dan Jablonski, former head of Wichita FBI office; Terri Brooks; Kansas Federation of Teenage Republicans; Fraternal Order of Police; Kansas Republican Assembly.
3. The lack of leadership in the office. My administration will hit the ground running with ideas, energy, and enthusiasm. My experience at the local, state, and federal level makes me uniquely qualified to initiate changes in a office that has not changed in a quarter of a century. I will put people and policies in place that will redirect the focus of the office to it’s core responsibility of fighting crime and protecting the community.
I will be a full-time time, active, aggressive, District Attorney. Community outreach and community involvement will be the focus of my office. The Office will be involved in schools, neighborhoods, law enforcement and business groups in a constant effort to protect the community and make Sedgwick County a better place for families and businesses alike. Visibility, accountability, and accessibility will be key changes in the office.
I am the most qualified and experienced candidate in the race. I am the only candidate with experience at the local, state, and federal level. I have had the benefit of exposure to better ways of running an office during my career as a prosecutor. I am the only candidate that has publicly committed to making necessary changes. I am independent and not connected or committed to the current administration.