3 elected officials announce opposition to Tyson project at Tong - KCTV5 News

3 elected officials announce opposition to Tyson project at Tonganoxie town hall meeting

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Three elected officials publicly announced their opposition to a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Leavenworth County at a packed town hall meeting on Friday evening.

Representative Jim Karleskint, Representative Willie Dove, and Senator Tom Holland told the crowd they will work to try to defeat the Tyson project. 

The elected officials listened to passionate opponents who each got about one minute to speak.

After about an hour and half of listening without a single person speaking in favor of the project, they joined the opposition.

"Given the response we've seen tonight, myself, Representative Karleskint, and Representative Dove unconditionally guarantee to you we are going to work to defeat this proposal,” said Senator Tom Holland  

Hundreds of people cheered after Senator Holland made that statement.

The people had come to Chieftain Park to rally against Tyson Foods building a plant in their community. Opponents stood in line to buy “No Tyson in Tongie" t-shirts, signs, and banners. 

Most opponents spoke about environmental concerns. 

"What's going to be in the air? What's going to be in our water?" asked Victoria Kirkpatrick.

"If you look at Tyson's record over the last six years, they've had 119 violations to the EPA and OSCHA for over $34 million,” said Ryan Langton.

“I want to be healthy,” said 12-year-old Carlie Copeland. “I want to be able to go outside.”

“How in the world can this company be okay coming here with the history they have had in the past?” said Laura Reischman.

Several opponents told state legislators the Leavenworth County Commissioners are ignoring their constituents.

“The most important fact is this does not have the support of voters in Tonganoxie and Leavenworth County, and we need to let the county commissioners know that,” said Anne Brockhoff.

“We want to know why you are not listening to us and why you are voting for this,” one opponent said. “Tell them ‘no.’ If that doesn't work, start a recall. Let's get rid of them. As many as we can.”

Senator Holland ended the town hall by saying, “It's time to do the work and get this thing blown up and get it done.”

Senator Steve Fitzgerald spoke to the crowd that night and told them he also opposes the Tyson Foods plant. 

Opponents said they will be contacting Leavenworth County leaders and urging them to not approve zoning for the project. 

Previous coverage:

Public forum scheduled on Tyson Foods proposal in Tonganoxie

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