Ann Murguia is not the typical politician. She's a wife, mother of three, has a job, participates in community organizations, and lives in Argentine. Oh...and she's also the Argentine and Rosedale neighborhoods' Wyandotte County Commissioner.
When she campaigned for office in 2007, she was the underdog. Her opponent had more money, experience, and connections than she did. But then, Ann believes that anyone can accomplish anything through hard work and determination. That's probably when residents first met her, because she knocked on just about every door in the neighborhood to personally introduce herself to all the registered voters living in her district.
After she was elected, she made it her mission to find out what issues her residents cared about most. She asked the County to fund a survey of the residents in her district. The County, which seems to be ever short on funds, told Ann that unless she could raise the $14,000 required for the survey, she was out of luck. Ann called a meeting for developers and business owners in the community and had all the money she needed - and then some - raised inside an hour.
The finished product, a survey containing hundreds of pages of data about issues ranging from a smoking ban to the resident's satisfaction with their fire department has guided Ann's legislative decisions ever since. While many politicians worry about whether their vote will make their largest campaign contributor happy, Ann opens up her survey, looks at her residents' attitude on the issue, and votes accodingly.
"Its easy," Ann says. "They've already told me what they want me to focus on. Its my job to be their voice."
The survey serves as a bench mark for future progress in the district. Since Ann has taken office, she's tackled issues of concern to her constituents, like putting in solar-powered homes, repairing sidewalks and curbs and even working with residents personally to reduce complaints that pets were roaming the neighborhood during the day.
"Sometimes, it doesn't take money to fix problems. All it takes is a few minutes out of my day to go talk to my constituents. Even if we don't have money to fix everything, they still know they can call me up and I'll be there to listen," Ann says.
Argentine is lucky to have a Commissioner who has a vested interest in her community. "I would never dream of living anywhere else," she says.