I read The Ottawa Herald article: “Colyer approves of Ottawa’s growth plan” in the Sept. 14 issue. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer made his remarks at the 14th annual “Eggs and Issues” breakfast which is really an issue-oriented breakfast to bounce ideas off leaders as to the condition Ottawa is in and where it is headed for the future.

In many ways, I agree with Colyer’s appraisals for the city of Ottawa. To its credit, the town of Ottawa has been managed wisely, overall. Yes, a few flaws, but its future appears stable. This is in stark contrast to the proverbial “State of the State” in Topeka where the state budget, its handing of school finance and genuine budgetary reform is equivalent to a sinking ship.

With the prospect of Gov. Sam Brownback on the cusp of resigning — presumably after he is to be confirmed into the newfangled office of “United States Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom” — I wonder if his presumptive successor Colyer realizes the daunting task ahead of him? Granted, the man probably relishes the thought of becoming the next governor of Kansas. However, in a recent speech in Ottawa, Colyer stressed “commerce.” That is fine and dandy. However, as I learned in “Economics 101” at Wichita State University, it takes a willing and able “buyer” to link up with a willing and able “seller” of goods and/or services.

Colyer will also look into a deep dark hole of a pit of red-ink debt. He will have to come to grips that the task will be equivalent to 10,000 cement-trucks dumping their concrete-loads into a nearly endless sink hole to even come close to leveling the damage done by “the Brownback experiment.” While I wish Mr. Colyer the best of good luck, he had better brace himself (and all Kansans) for massive tax-hikes. Nobody likes it, but nobody wants that sinkhole to grow larger, either. Generating commerce is fine after things are patched, but until then, current taxpayers will make up the shortfall. There is no other way of saying it.

As for Brownback, I wonder where he plans to set up shop? Chances are at the United Nations in New York. However, although Brownback is a Roman Catholic (as am I, myself) — I sincerely hope he won’t give partiality to The Vatican. I am not one of those who foolishly thinks that “the Pope will run the American Government” — I don’t. In fact, I admire Pope Francis for his outreach to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I do have concerns that Brownback may not be as impartial since he has “fundamentalist Catholic leanings” that almost go contrary to the wishes of Pope Francis.

The “at-Large ambassadorship” office which Brownback is seeking was only created in 1998. It makes me concerned that America, being a land where “Congress shall make no law....” {establishing or favoring any one singular religious faith, creed, denomination or sect) is sticking our noses into other nations’ spiritual business. To me, that is their business.

I believe Americans can keep their faith in their hearts... and I know I have prayed silently before math tests, before football games praying for a win by my team, praying at a courthouse polling place that I picked the most qualified candidate I could, and lastly I have prayed silently at hospitals and elsewhere for those who are sick or in distress. My prayers may have been silent, but I am not “denying Jesus,” as many critics claim. My feelings and prayers were as sincere and fervent as if they were audible.

I comprehend what is expected of me. I just wonder if Colyer realizes the uphill battle ahead of him? I also wonder if Brownback can keep his own religious litmus tests harnessed and give dutiful (and unbiased) attention to the job once he is confirmed? Colyer is the more sensible of the two. Yet, I feel both men are in for an eye-opening awakening. Brownback’s only “perks” are the number of pensions he will receive and the joy he must feel at leaving Kansas. As much as I disapproved of his experiment, I actually feel Brownback (or any politician) should serve out their full term before job-hopping, as a matter of ethics. I didn’t vote for him, but he (and others) signed up for a term to serve — not a chance to jump ship and go where the grass is greener on any old whim nor for political expediency.

— James A. Marples, Longview, Texas

(Editor’s note: Marples is a native Kansan with family ties to Ottawa).