Lawmaker: Effort to bring Chiefs to Kansas has happened ‘for many years’

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Republican State House Rep. Sean Tarwater of Stilwell talked to FOX4 Wednesday about the effort to try to bring the Chiefs to Kansas along with Republican Speaker of the House Dan Hawkins of Wichita.

“We invited the Chiefs to respond and to weigh in on the possibility of collaborating with Kansas to come to the Kansas side of the border,” Hawkins said Wednesday about his joint letter with Republican State Senate President Ty Masterson of Andover to Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt.

Hawkins said he and Masterson wrote up the letter a week or two ago. It was just released publicly Tuesday though.

“I would imagine many folks received texts. Those did not come from us,” Hawkins also said about the group ‘Scoop and Score.’ “That came from an organization that is working on those items, and of course, we’re getting lots of emails about those texts now.”

That group was co-founded by former Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman of Olathe.

“The Chiefs deserve a permanent home in Kansas City, and the Professional Sports Franchise STAR Bond Project would keep the Chiefs in KC for generations to come – without any new cost to taxpayers,” the text to Kansans says.

FOX4 asked Tarwater about Scoop and Score.

“Well, I know that I made a comment when we rolled out the bill that Missouri had fumbled the ball, and we want to be in a position to Scoop and Score, but I was quoting somebody else that was quoting the Kansas City Star previously, so I can’t really take credit for that,” Tarwater said.

Tarwater was talking about Ryckman. Tarwater said there are several lobbyists that have signed up to be a part of this group.

“They’re in it because they want to do this,” Tarwater said of the people who’ve gotten involved. “For example, Speaker Ryckman, he’s been working on bringing the Chiefs to Kansas for many years, and I think he just wants to see it come to fruition. I don’t think that there’s much money in it for him.”

Ryckman wouldn’t comment to FOX4 on camera Wednesday but did release a statement the day prior.

Tarwater says he thinks it’s a big deal that both Masterson and Hawkins are on board with the Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) Bond proposal that could be discussed Tuesday, June 18th during the Special Session. He said they’re both not typically big STAR Bond fans.

Tarwater also believes Wyandotte County Democrats support STAR Bonds being used to try to bring the Chiefs to their county. He thinks they remember when there was nothing by Kansas Speedway.

“Now it generates almost a $100 million in sales tax,” Tarwater added, talking about the speedway. “There are 5,700 new jobs created and a hundred businesses up there that would have never existed.”

Hawkins says he has not talked to Hunt, but he also made it clear the Special Session will be geared toward tax reform first. If that passes out of both chambers, then they could look at reforming STAR Bonds to make the state more enticing for the Chiefs.

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“I continue to believe the Kansas City Chiefs will continue to play at Arrowhead Stadium for years to come,” Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement sent to FOX4 Wednesday. “Kansas City works hard to keep all our businesses here each day and I’ve had a chance to talk to leadership both at the Chiefs and the Royals since the election and we will continue to engage with them to ensure they keep playing in Kansas City, Missouri.”

The Chiefs haven’t commented on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. The Royals say they’re exploring all their options.

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