Democratic Kansas State Treasurer Dennis McKinney wants to create a rainy day fund to help the state weather lean financial times.

Democratic Kansas State Treasurer Dennis McKinney wants to create a rainy day fund to help the state weather lean financial times.

That is the key message McKinney is pushing as he runs for election as state treasurer. McKinney was appointed to the position in 2009 after then treasurer Lynn Jenkins was elected to Congress and now he is running for the office on his own right.

He strongly supported the effort to get the rainy day fund on the November ballot and it nearly succeeded but it did not make it out of conference committee, McKinney said.

When he took office he knew times were tough for the state and immediately took action.

He made several changes in the state treasurer’s office. First he cut his own salary four percent. He began streamlining operations including cutting some of his staff. By June 30 the state treasurer’s office had returned three percent of their budget back to the general fund.

“I think that reflects how we effectively managed our tax payers money,” McKinney said. “We streamlined our operations and we put $65,000 back in the general fund.”

He considers returning the money his best accomplishment in office. It shows his staff has a lot of tenacity, McKinney said.

Another area he pushed was the unclaimed property program. Unclaimed property in Kansas, including money from unclaimed checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, unclaimed safety deposit boxes and other property, becomes the responsibility of the state treasurers office.

It is their responsibility to attempt to locate the rightful property owners. His office partnered with chambers of commerce, established a new web site for military veterans and traveled all over the sate to raise awareness of the program.

As a result, returned dollars went up 34 percent and 53,000 properties were returned putting $14.6 million back in the hands of the rightful owners, McKinney said.

“We felt like our creativity paid off by putting money back in the pocket of Kansans,” McKinney said.

During the next term McKinney wants to continue the efforts to return the money Kansas’s residents.

Another program he wants to stress in the next term is the Learning Quest Savings Program. The program is a tax advantage way to save for higher education. Many parents and grand parents have taken advantage of the program but McKinney wants to make the public more aware of the program.

Learning Quest has $580 million that represents an investment the Kansas’s workforce.

“In Kansas we have to maintain a highly skilled, well educated workforce,” McKinney said.

Another program McKinney wants to promote is a housing construction loan program in association with Kansas’s banks. The program was not being used much so the treasure’s office worked with realtors, home builders and bankers to develop new ideas to promote the program and passed legislation to improve the program.

This activity represents McKinney’s approach to leadership. Instead of arguing about an issue, people need to focus on getting good ideas and cooperate to solve problems.

Although some polls show McKinney behind Republican candidate Ron Estes, McKinney said those polls don’t show undecided voters and his own polls show he is ahead with a high number of voters.

McKinney has received endorsements from Kansas Realtors, Farm Bureau and the NRA, the Kansas City Star and the Johnson County Sun.

His biggest challenge in this race is raising awareness of the race itself. He is proud that his office is putting money back in Kansan’s pockets and helping create jobs.

“I think that’s the record people want this year,” McKinney said.

McKinney began his public service when was elected as a Kiowa County Commissioner in November 1988.

Four years later he was elected to the Kansas House in November 1992. He served as a representative for 16 years until he was appointed Kansas State Treasurer in January 2009 replacing Lynn Jenkins who was elected to congress.

McKinney represented Pratt in the 108th District the first 10 years of his career. When districts were reapportioned in 2002 Pratt went into the 114th District and McKinney went into the 116th District.