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Filed under: political musings, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 2:23 pm

Tom Wiggans has pulled out of the race for Governor of Kansas.  A few minutes ago he announced he was withdrawing his “exploratory” committee and candidacy for governor.

In an e-mail statement to supporters, he said:

What I have learned from my discussions, and from public opinion polling, is that Kansans are hardly in sync with Sam Brownback and they are deeply concerned with the performance of Congress.  What I have also learned is that for a candidate who has recently returned to my home state and who has never run for political office, it will take more time and resources than I can assemble to mount a winning campaign.  While I have remained involved in many activities in the state over the past years, I have spent much of my business career away from home and thus am unknown to many voters and donors.

Therefore I believe it is in the best interest of the voters for me to end my exploration of running for Governor and entering public service at this time, and instead offer my ideas and experience to state leaders, institutions, and companies and focus my energies on creating new jobs and a strong economy for the future.  I am committed to continuing my dialog with the voters of Kansas and becoming fully engaged in the many issues facing our state.

We believe he is right on all counts and that he could not mount a winning campaign.  He could do a lot for Kansas by focusing his energy on creating new jobs and a strong economic future for Kansas.   We wish him well.

Now to find a viable candidate to run against Sam Brownback…



Filed under: political musings, print news, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 9:04 am

It’s a sad commentary on Kansas politics when things have gone so far awry that satire is used to describe the current dilemma Kansas Dems have with gubernatorial candidate Tom Wiggans.  The Dems who see this as a huge problem are all the grassroots Dems across the state who work tirelessly for a cause.  Larry Gates, Kansas chair,  and Kenny Johnston simply don’t get it.

A New Guinness Record
By Ric Anderson
December 5, 2009 - 10:01pm


LONDON — The Guinness World Records judging committee announced Saturday that Larry Gates, chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party, had broken the record for the depth to which human beings have plunged into denial.

“For his statements about the class-action lawsuit involving Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wiggans, Mr. Gates has set the record to what may very well be an unbreakable level,” said committee member Halston Finch-Hogg. “Any depth beyond that reached by Mr. Gates could be considered delusional, which is another category of record.”

Gates drew the committee’s attention after revealing he was aware of the lawsuit before Wiggans entered the race but, as reported by the Associated Press, “didn’t see it as a problem.”….

Read more…



Filed under: political musings, Ellsworth, print news, Sam Brownback, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 9:53 am

editor and publisher
Ellsworth County Independent Reporter

Norb Dreiling must be spinning in his grave. Or looking down on the state he called home for 80 years and laughing very loudly at the sorry organization that passes for a Democratic party these days in Kansas.

Dreiling, a Hays Democrat, was credited at the time of his death in 2005 with making it acceptable to be a Democrat in Kansas. Under his leadership, for the first time an incumbent Republican governor was defeated by a Democratic challenger, Robert Docking, who went on to be elected to the state’s highest office a record four times. Dreiling was smart, funny and he knew better than almost anyone that Kansas politics is all about hard work and communication. People vote for candidates they know, or those who have come knocking at their doors during the campaign.

Janis Lee, who has served this region of Kansas for years in the state Senate, is a perfect example. She went to Topeka after defeating an entrenched Republican in a district filled with registered Republicans. Lee has retained her seat because, like Dreiling, she is smart and one of the Senate’s hardest workers. That’s a lesson a younger generation of Kansas Democrats have failed to embrace.

We recently learned that the state’s minority party has turned to Tom Wiggans, a pharmaceutical executive, to carry its banner against U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, the GOP’s expected nominee for governor. True, Wiggans, 57, was born in Kansas. And he is a member of the board of trustees of the University of Kansas Endowment Association. That pretty much exhausts his relationship with the state he wants to lead.

Republicans could hardly wait for Wiggans to finish his announcement speech before pointing out he has never voted in Kansas. That’s because most of his life has been spent in California.

Can anyone say carpetbagger?

All one has to do is look at the state’s Big First Congressional District for more evidence of the Dem’s slide into irrelevance. For the first time in memory, the Republicans failed to have an heir apparent waiting in the wings when Jerry Moran announced he will leave his House seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

The only guy the Democrats could find was Alan Jilka of Salina, whose chances of winning a general election are slim to none.

What happened? A year ago, thousands of Kansans, many of them younger voters, turned out in a snowstorm to participate in Democratic caucuses around the state.

We’ve heard almost nothing from party leaders since the election. It appears little has been done to build on the enthusiasm of the presidential election. When, for instance, was the last time Ellsworth County Democrats met?

Right now, Kansas Democrats have a handful of stars, including Dennis McKinney, who left the Legislature to become state treasurer, and Ellsworth’s Josh Svaty, who resigned from the Kansas House of Representatives to become acting secretary of agriculture. Unfortunately, a handful does not a party make.

Kansas has a long tradition of Republican politics and that isn’t about to change. But any party, especially when it’s on top, does better with competition. Kansas voters deserve a choice when they go to the polls. The state’s Democratic party has fallen far short of giving them that. Dreiling and his Democrats stood for something. Unfortunately for Kansas voters, those days are long gone.



Filed under: political musings, print news, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 7:45 am

More about Tom Wiggans.  It keeps getting worse.

…The Oklahoma system was lead plaintiff in the securities fraud suit against the pharmaceutical company and four of its top executives, including Thomas Wiggans, who is seeking the Kansas Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

“We keep a close eye on allegations of fraud,” Wilbanks said. “We would not have taken the case if there was any doubt they hadn’t done anything wrong.” …



Filed under: political musings, print news, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 6:22 pm


By Tim Carpenter
Created December 3, 2009 at 2:27pm
Updated December 3, 2009 at 5:09pm

A Democratic candidate for Kansas governor led the California pharmaceutical firm that settled for $12.7 million a lawsuit alleging company executives engaged in securities fraud by hiding from investors damaging research on a new drug hyped by management as a medical marvel and financial sensation.

Thomas Wiggans, of Olathe, launched his campaign for governor in November by pledging to apply his “common-sense business practices” to state government.

He was chief executive officer of Connetics Corp. throughout the effort to shield Wall Street analysts from tests demonstrating an acne gel under development by the company in Palo Alto, Calif., caused cancerous skin tumors in more than half the laboratory mice treated with the medication.

The lawsuit alleges Wiggans and other senior executives at Connetics concealed health risks of Velac gel for nearly a year after research financed by the company identified the drug as a carcinogen in 2004. While the company remained silent on the study, Wiggans sold $2 million in Connetics stock. Other company executives also shed holdings in Connetics. Public disclosure of the acne gel’s shortcomings in 2005 decimated the company’s value.

Among the largest institutional losers in the crash was the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma. A series of shareholders filed federal lawsuits. Their claims were consolidated into a class-action suit in San Francisco.

Seven days before Wiggans announced his candidacy in Kansas, a federal judge in California put her signature to final pieces of the deal ending a three-year legal battle waged by investors against Connetics, Wiggans and three of his corporate lieutenants. The settlement doesn’t require the defendants to take formal responsibility, and Wiggans didn’t mention the case when he launched his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.

When contacted Thursday by The Topeka Capital-Journal, a spokeswoman for Wiggans said the case was settled to end the protracted litigation.

“There was a settlement reached, agreed to by both parties,” said campaign spokeswoman Amy Jordan-Wooden. “There were no findings of wrongdoing. Tom is not liable.”

She said Wiggans’ ability to maneuver through the difficult environment demonstrated skills required of the next governor to extricate the state from the recession.

“He is uniquely and best suited in the race for governor,” she said.

Wiggans, 57, is competing against Herb West, of Paola, for the Democratic nomination for governor. The Republican candidate for the GOP nomination is U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Topekan who ran for president two years ago. Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson said he wouldn’t seek election to the office in 2010.

David Kensinger, campaign manager for Brownback, said Wiggans and colleagues at Connetics made decisions that cost outside investors millions of dollars.

“He is exactly the sort of person the Democratic Party claims to want to protect us from - except in Kansas, where the Democratic Party wants to make him governor,” Kensinger said.

Larry Gates, chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party, said settlement of the lawsuit wouldn’t tarnish Wiggans’ bid for office. He said voters were more interested in who can advance policy that promotes economic prosperity in Kansas.

“Tom Wiggans created economic value for his shareholders, for his employees,” Gates said.

However, the chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party said Wiggans’ leadership at Connetics should be part of the campaign debate.

“It is difficult to imagine Kansas Democrats would actually nominate a corrupt pharmaceutical executive from California for governor,” said GOP chairwoman Amanda Adkins.

The acne drug blocked in 2005 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was never released to the public, because the company couldn’t prove the efficacy and safety of Velac gel. In the early research, 56 percent of laboratory mice contracted skin cancer from the product. The plaintiffs’ medical specialists suggested a 2 percent to 3 percent incidence of cancer in mice might not be alarming, but anything above 20 percent would be “clearly significant.”

In settling the class-action lawsuit, Connetics and the four named defendants - Wiggans, Gregory Vontz, John Higgans and Lincoln Krochmal - weren’t required to admit fault.

Wiggans, a fresh face in Kansas politics who has never sought public office, has avoided interviews since stepping forward Nov. 17 as a candidate for governor. He has been preparing for an introductory campaign tour of the state in January.

In a statement announcing his candidacy, Wiggans highlighted his 12 years of leadership at Connetics.

“It’s been an extremely rewarding career and I am very proud of the positive impact I’ve helped make in the lives of many people in Kansas and elsewhere,” Wiggans said in the statement.

Wiggans was Connetics’ ninth employee and climbed the ladder from 1994 to 2006 to become president and chief executive officer.

He left in December 2006 when the company was sold for $640 million and after a Connetics executive involved in clinical trials on Velac gel was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with insider trading for dumping stock before the market implosion. That executive and a business accomplice were fined more than $1 million by the SEC.

Jordan-Wooden, of the Wiggans campaign, said Connetics cooperated with the SEC during investigation of trading violations by the employee, who was eventually fired. She said the SEC didn’t take action against Connetics or Wiggans.

A native of Fredonia, Wiggans moved back to Kansas in January. He began his career after earning a pharmacy degree at The University of Kansas.


Wiggans is our Democratic candidate for Governor.  “Larry Gates, chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party, said settlement of the lawsuit wouldn’t tarnish Wiggans’ bid for office. He said voters were more interested in who can advance policy that promotes economic prosperity in Kansas.”  I wonder what he’s been smoking?



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 7:30 am

Kansas Democrats selling out

The Kansas Democratic Party’s leadership has once again decided to sell a nomination to a Republican. They tried to sell their U.S. Senate nomination to Greg Orman in 2008 before getting a big lobbyist (in the year of change) to run. Now they have given a nod to Tom Wiggans to run for governor in 2010 (11/18, Local, “Retired exec in Kansas race”).

Regardless of what his party affiliation is now, not too long ago he was very Republican and probably somewhat conservative. He gave maximum contributions to John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani for their presidential runs in 2008. Of course, he also gave Barack Obama $5,000 ($2,700 more than allowed) a mere week before the election. This was after he decided to help the Kansas Democratic Party to the tune of at least $10,000.

This is the same Tom Wiggans who has never voted in a Kansas election. He has moved back to Kansas to enter politics, and the Kansas Democratic Party leadership is more than willing to have anyone run if they promised to fund their own campaign.

It seems that the party is more concerned with a moneyed candidate that a principled one.

Ed Coleman

The Pitch reports that when you sign up for Wiggan’s e-mails, you get a response saying that Wiggans is a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, governor wasn’t his first choice.



Filed under: political musings, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 9:03 am

Tom Wiggans is being touted by some of the state Democratic bigwigs…Larry Gates, Kenny Johnston, Dennis Moore… as God’s gift to Kansas.  Congressman Dennis Moore, who helped in the recruitment of Wiggans,  just announced he’s not running for re-election.  What is this all about?

I have no reason to doubt that he is a fine man who has accomplished great things for himself, his family and California.  His is a remarkable success story starting in rural Kansas. He has all the credentials for making a good governor—- of California.

According to his website:  Wiggans has spent his career starting and leading various bioscience and pharmaceutical companies throughout the United States and Europe, creating hundreds of jobs while developing new treatments for couples battling infertility, and new products to treat diseases such as heart disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and kidney, liver, and skin cancers. He has developed a reputation in the bioscience industry as a talented manager and leader.

All this is well and good, but all his work centers in California.  He wasn’t registered to vote here until last July. He has never voted in a Kansas election.

Tom says:  Kansans deserve a full-time Governor – someone who will remain committed to the job. In 2007 while Senator Brownback was running for President, he missed thirty- one-percent of the votes cast in the Senate. Brownback had the seventh-worst attendance record of all one hundred United States Senators. If the rest of us missed work thirty-one percent of the time, we’d be fired. Yet, like too many career politicians, Sam Brownback thinks missing work ought to earn him a promotion.

Brownback as governor will be a disaster, but a bigger disaster for the Kansas Democratic Party is deluding themselves into thinking that running a multi-millionaire, carpet-bagging Republican for governor is a good idea. If Mr Wiggans is the standard bearer in November, Kansas Democrats will be a significantly smaller minority than they are now. Dem’s will lose 5-10 legislative seats, Dennis McKinney will have the toughest race of his life, Steve Six will be toast and Dems will be in a position they haven’t found themselves in since 1995.

If Wiggans wants to bring jobs to Kansans, then I say, let’s see how serious he is about that and let him move his factories to Kansas. That would create hundreds of new jobs for Kansans.

Running for governor less than nine months after returning to Kansas, and without having your family return with you, is carpet-bagging. It’s also a stretch that he calls himself a Democrat. The Democratic party should not be a refugee camp for disaffected Republicans seeking a quick way into higher office.

Mr. Wiggans is neither a good choice for Democrats or Kansans nor is he a mainstream Democrat. A good Democrat would never serve on the board of the Hoover Institute, as has Wiggans. The ideas that come from the Hoover Institute are the ones that got this country into the mess we’re in.

Kansans are smart enough not to vote for a Californian for Kansas Governor.  This just won’t settle well with Kansas voters.

Wiggans announced his intention to run for governor then disappeared. Where is he?



Filed under: political musings, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 8:11 am

Contributions by Thomas Wiggans and wife, Kathryn, to California political contests.
Kansas Watch Dog update



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 8:55 am

Today is a good day not to be in the air.  Flight paths are being filed manually and airports are getting jammed.  Atlanta airport that one must pass through no matter where you are going…even to Heaven…is going to be a zoo if they don’t get the problem solved very soon.  Delays are monumental and growing.

The grassroots objections to Tom Wiggans as the Democratic candidate for Governor are mounting.  The young, active county chairs across the state have every right to be irate.  This furor may bring out a raft of untapped Democratic candidates who will throw their hats in the ring.

State of Play is a good movie.  The Netflix review says:

When his mistress is found dead, Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) tries desperately to protect his name and career. As journalists Cal (Russell Crowe) and Della (Rachel McAdams) investigate further, they uncover an intricate web of lies that stretches to the highest levels of power. Based on the critically acclaimed BBC miniseries, this intriguing political thriller co-stars Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman.

We must be printing a lot of new money as things continue to go awry.  Banks are recording  record-breaking profits, but they aren’t conducting banking.  They take taxpayer dollars to invest. If you can borrow at zero and speculate, it’s no wonder banks are showing such profits.  The bailout money should have been used for lending to help small businesses create jobs.   We bailed them out to save the economy, but we’re still hanging over the abyss despite the climb in the stock market. I wonder if anyone knows where we really are.

Today the kitchen is going to smell like mustard sauce mellowing on the stove.  Ally has three different kinds in the making.  One recipe I revised over 50 or so years from an original recipe given me by my friend, Jessie Rathbun. It has gone through many transformations.  The other two recipes are Ally’s creations.  I’m anxious to try them as I think they look very exciting.  It’s very good stuff.

I’ve been trying to get my blood tests that were run prior to my surgery a week ago last Monday from Salina Regional Hospital.  I asked for a copy for the second time before I left the hospital on Tuesday. The nurses were very willing, but finally one told me they would mail them to me the following day….that would be Wednesday,  a week ago yesterday.  The report was in front of them and it seemed a simple request to get a copy while it was handy.

After a second call to the medical records department on Thursday, a familiar voice at the end of that line answered and sparked my memory of efforts to get some of Dane’s records.  Everything they have goes to Atlanta and they have to be requisitioned.  She said I should get my copy the first of this week.  Yesterday, I called her again and she said the records were mailed from Atlanta on Saturday.  Maybe they will arrive today.

Now, in Dane’s case, I had to provide all kinds of documents to get a copy of a test result. It’s really a very complicated mess even if you are only requesting your own records.  The copies of the reports that Dr. Macy had were readily available to me, such as my path test.  The lab test results apparently are the property of the hospital and carefully protected.

For those of you who depend on C-PAP machines and are headed to Salina Regional…beware.  They won’t let you take your own machine (only your mask and hose) and they supply their own machine.

But…there is a huge problem that I’ve had more than once:  you get the machine at their pleasure which is not one minute before 10:00 PM.  You can be lying there dying and unable to breathe and I can promise you, you won’t get the machine until the ten o’clock bell has sounded.  They work on the misconception that people in the hospital don’t go to sleep until 10:00 pm.  What kind of logic is that to a bed-bound patient?

I’m tired arguing with them about points they already know and disregard.  I’m taking my own machine with me and will make adjustments when they bring their own…at 10:00 at night.

Other than that,  my last experience at Salina Regional could not have been better…from the minute I arrived, until I left and all the personnel who were involved.

Thanks for tuning in….



Filed under: political musings, Sam Brownback, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 8:19 am

Look around you in Kansas.  If there is a remnant of the Democratic party to be found, the leadership of that remnant is centered around only a few people…Josh Svaty, Dennis Moore, Dennis McKinney, Jill Docking, Raj Goyle.

Although I like him, I can’t include Gov. Mark Parkinson in that Democratic lineup and I’ve never thought Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was a good fit.  Following their terms, each left the party in shambles when they had the opportunity to lend solidarity.

Thomas Wiggans, the Kansas Democratic nominee for governor,  registered in the state as a Democrat on July 14th.  Prior to that he was a member of and generous contributor to the Republican party in California for 20 some years.  Wiggans began donating to Demcrats only when it was clear that Obama was going to win and only after meeting Dennis Moore of Kansas.

Wiggans  will be facing Sam Brownback who is the most extreme of radical right wingnuts in the U.S.  Wiggans must be the only one out there with pockets deep enough to compete with Sam.  Either way, we’ll be casting a vote for one Republican or another, one far more moderate than the other.

For that reason, based on information available at this point in the race,  I’ll pick Wiggans with the hope and knowledge his views and leadership will be more compatible and fall in line with those of most Kansans.

I’ll keep you posted on these events as they unfold.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, Tom Wiggans — Peg Britton @ 7:15 pm

The recently announced gubernatorial candidate for the Kansas Democrats, Tom Wiggans raises many questions.  He is a former Republican, having been a major donor to George W. Bush, John McCain, Rudy Guiliani, Mitt Romney and the RNC.  He is a former board member of the uber conservative Hoover Institute and, though a native Kansan, has lived in California for the last 20+ years.

Is this as good as it gets?  Why would Democrats embrace a candidate that is a Democrat in name only and was very recently a major funder of Republican operations.  Further why would Democrats look to California for a candidate for governor.  It doesn’t make any sense to me.


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