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‘No Tyson in Tongie’ was message delivered to state legislators at open forum

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Over 200 people filled Chieftain Park in Tonganoxie, Kansas, to overflowing on Sept. 15 to voice their opinions about the proposed Tyson chicken production and processing plant. State Reps. Jim Karleskint R-Tonganoxie, and Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, and State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, held the forum to hear from their constituents.

All three legislators began the forum by stating they were neutral on the issue and were there to hear the concerns of people in Tonganoxie and the surrounding area. After listening to people list their concerns and fears about the Tyson project all three legislators said they would work to defeat the proposal.

“My interest in this project is going to be driven by the citizens of Tonganoxie and northeast Kansas,” Holland said. “We, as your elected officials from the state, are here to represent your interests and nobody else.”

Holland said he and his fellow legislators found out about this project at the same time as everyone else. Holland said he had a lot of concerns about the lack of transparency that has occurred so far with this project.

“I believe this decision needs to be made at the local level,” Holland said. “This is not a state of Kansas decision. This is a Tonganoxie decision, a Leavenworth County decision and a northeast Kansas decision.”

The local decision that could possible derail the proposed Tyson project will be a local decision. The 300-acre site south of Tonganoxie that Tyson has selected for the complex still needs to re-zoned from agricultural to commercial. Tyson still needs to make a zoning request for this property that is two miles south of Tonganoxie and 10 miles north of Lawrence.

“No Tyson in Tongie” was the message delivered over and over during the forum.

Doug Rich can be reached by phone at 785-749-5304 or by email at

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