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Monday, Dec. 8, 2008

OPINION: CELEBRATE KANSAS' SUCCESS WITH NBAF, CONGRATULATE ALL INVOLVED
Linda Weis, chair-elect of the Board of Directors for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

Linda WeisMany Kansans are rejoicing with thankful hearts that Manhattan, Kan., has been announced as the recommended site for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. This news is without parallel in our community, and it is a tribute to the work of hundreds of Kansans dedicated to securing the economy viability and continuing positive quality of life in our state.

With the anticipated final confirmation of Kansas as the site of choice, there is reason to celebrate the extensive collaboration that has taken place in the great state of Kansas. Indeed, the splendid cooperation among elected and community leaders at the local, state and federal level has shown a willingness on the part of all Kansans to set aside party politics in the overall best interest of the public whose interests they serve. With the strong leadership presence of Kansas State University, this exceptional collaboration has created a synergy in Kansas that is exemplary, whether or not the final site choice is confirmed as Manhattan. This synergy has created bioscience economic development opportunities for which we would have had little consideration without the extraordinary teamwork of our elected leadership, our university leaders and the Heartland BioAgro Consortium.

NBAF and its people will surely make significant contributions to the economic viability and positive quality of life we already enjoy in Manhattan. While communities in much of our country are struggling for economic survival, Manhattan's visionary elected officials have paved the way for our city's exceptional community progress and economic viability. Though our community has not been without challenges, our leaders have shown exceptional willingness to work together, with excellent decision-making, representing unusual measures of faith, wisdom and sound business judgment.

The presence of Fort Riley is a very strong asset to Kansas, Manhattan and K-State. We can only consider what the loss of Fort Riley would mean to the greater Manhattan area, as we consider the relative significance of the anticipated gain of the NBAF site.

We can only hope that the final confirmation of NBAF comes readily so that all Kansans may continue to enjoy the stable economy and positive quality of life that makes our state unique among many.

Meanwhile, hats are off to President Jon Wefald and his extraordinary K-State bioscience scholars and administrative leadership team, as well as to our Manhattan City Commissioners; our Riley County Commissioners; the Kansas NBAF Task Force, headed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Pat Roberts, Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, and Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman; the Kansas Legislature; our Kansas Congressional Delegation; the Kansas Board of Regents; the Heartland Bio Agro Consortium; KANSASBIO, the Kansas Bioscience Organization; the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation; our Chambers of Commerce, and many others who have made significant contributions to this achievement.

A very special tribute is in order to the Kansas Bioscience Authority, led by the dynamic Tom Thornton, who has given so much of himself to benefit Kansas. What a difference he has made!

And many hats in the air to the wonderful Manhattanites who have supported community progress during hard times. They have put their faith on the line in approving a much-needed USD 383 Board of Education school improvement bond, and they have given tremendous active support to the NBAF project through written and verbal testimony. Such proactive leadership and willingness to join in a shared vision for future generations has made all the difference!

Job well done, everyone! Congratulations!