Sen. Sam Brownback waves as he exits his bus on a campaign stop at Oakdale Park on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal) | Buy Journal Photos


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Salina Journal


Sam in Salina

By MARY CLARKIN Special to the Salina Journal

The bus carrying Republican gubernatorial candidate U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback on a 32-city campaign swing in which he talked Wednesday about the need to create jobs in rural Kansas began the trip in Alabama.

Brownback leased a campaign bus from a Pikesville, Ala., company — John L Productions — in 1996, 1998, 2006, and again for this race, according to Brownback campaign spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag.

Sticky Business, a firm in Atlanta, applied the graphics that wrap around the bus. Jones-Sontag noted the graphic artist who designed the wrap is based in Olathe.

Twitter bust

The bus’ Southern roots were first exposed when Jim Byard Jr., mayor of Prattville, Ala., posted a note Friday on Twitter: “Earlier today, I saw the Sam Brownback campaign bus in Montgomery (Ala.). Since he’s running Gov. of Kansas, they must have taken a wrong turn!”

Byard could not be reached on Wednesday.

Reno County is home to some major sign and graphics companies, and officials at two of them, Gregory Inc., in Buhler, and Lowen Corp., Hutchinson, indicated they welcome such vehicle-wrap jobs.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Gregory said, with a chuckle, that as a businessman, he would like to wrap every vehicle in the country.

He did not criticize Brownback’s out-of-state bus and wrap. The senator can make his own decisions, Gregory said, and the bus “represents a very small, small thing in the scheme of his whole political campaign.”

State of the art in Hutch

Darren Keller, vice president of sales and marketing at Lowen Corp.’s division, Lowen Color Graphics, said the graphics industry is “very competitive,” and what’s available here cannot be matched in the country.

Lowen’s printing capacity for fleet graphics and wraps is larger than at any other company in the country, and its facilities are considered state-of-the-art, Keller pointed out.

Both Gregory and Lowen have provided graphics displayed on vehicles used by Kansas candidates this year.

Jones-Sontag observed that the Democratic candidate for governor, State Sen. Tom Holland, is spending a lot of money out of state, including banking in Georgia. Holland campaign spokesman Seth Bundy said the campaign uses a Kansas bank, and the Georgia address is for an online credit card processing service.

A check of both candidates’ campaign financial reports filed in July revealed they both use a mix of in-state and out-of-state vendors and professional services.

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