Monday, July 16, 2018

Candidates Vying for Your Vote for Governor

Kevin Surbaugh


These are the candidates for Kansas Governor in the 2018 race.  The candidates are broken up into their respective parties and are listed alphabetically, within that framework. In the coming weeks, we will be publishing their responses to a questionnaire, some of whom agreed to sit down for a face to face interview. Video of any face to face interviews will also be published. Candidates who answered the Gazette's candidate questionnaire will be hyperlinked.  However, only the Republicans and Democrats were asked at this time.  Libertarians and Independents will be included in the next round of questioning, after the primary.

Democrat
The candidates in the August 7, 2018, Democratic Primary are as follows:

Arden Andersen, Olathe
          Running mate: Dale Cowsert, Overland Park
**Did Not Respond**

Jack Bergeson, (school student), Whichta
         Running mate: Alexander Cline
**Did Not Respond**

Carl Brewer, Wichita
        Running mate: Chris Morrow, Gardner
***Click the blue hyperlink to see responses***

Laura Kelly, Topeka
          Running mate: Lynn Rogers, Wichita
***Click the blue hyperlink to see responses***

Josh Svaty, Ellsworth
         Running mate: Katrina Lewison, Manhattan
***Click the blue hyperlink to see responses***


Republican
The candidates in the August 7, 2018, Republican Primary are as follows:

Jim Barnett, Topeka
       Running mate: Rosemary Hansen, Topeka
***Click the blue hyperlink to see responses***

Jeff Colyer, Hays
       Running mate: Tracey Mann, Salina
***Click the blue hyperlink to see responses***

Kris Kobach, Topeka
       Running mate: Wink Hartman, Wichita
**Did Not Respond**

Ken Selzer, Fairway
       Running mate: Jenifer Sanderson, Goodland
**Did Not Respond**

Patrick Kucera, Leawood
       Running mate: Patricia Reitz, Shawnee
**Did Not Respond**

Tyler Ruzich,  (high school student)   Shawnee Mission
       Running mate: Phillip Clemente, (high school student) Goodland
**Did Not Respond**

Libertarian

Jeff Caldwell, Leawood
       Running mate: Mary Gerlt, Kansas City

Independent

Richard Kloos, Topeka
       Running mate: Nathaniel Kloos, Berryton

Todd Mitchell, Topeka
       Running mate:

Greg Orman, Olathe
       Running mate: John Doll, Garden City

Write in Candidates

Aaron Coleman, Overland Park
       Running mate:

William Stofer, Wichita
       Running mate: Frederick W. Carlock, Wichita

Meet Jeff Colyer, Republican for Governor

Kevin Surbaugh


Governor Jeff Colyer, a plastic surgeon from the Kansas City area, was elected Lieutenant Governor, and succeeded Governor Brownback when Brownback accepted an Ambassadorship in Washington, D. C. Colyer has run ads recently trying to help people recognize him and how to say his name.
Colyer who took over for Brownback wants his own dully elected seat in the Governors chair.
Governor Jeff Colyer (File Photo)

Baldwin City Gazette: Would you make any changes to Kansas' state taxes? What would those specific changes be and why?

Governor Jeff Colyer:  My highest priority is to make Kansas the place where our children see their future. To do that, they need to have opportunities to succeed and thrive right here at home. Low taxes can help businesses create these opportunities. This is due to the fact that tax policy is a crucial factor when businesses make decisions about where they should relocate or grow, and a low tax environment reduces costs on businesses to allow them to focus on entrepreneurship and job creation.
I worked as a White House Fellow for President Reagan, and this experience helped form my philosophy as a low-tax fiscal conservative. I have never voted to raise taxes. I support common-sense solutions to lower both sales and income tax rates in Kansas and certainly oppose another tax increase. I will also veto any property tax increase legislation that comes to my desk. For a state dealing with stagnant population growth, common sense tells us that continuing to raise taxes higher than our neighbors will only exacerbate that problem.
As Governor, I will support policies that keep taxes low on families and businesses, while ensuring they are predictable, fair, and easy to understand for everyone.

Gazette: While high school graduation rates have risen above 80 percent in recent years, college readiness rates remain much lower. Fewer than half of graduating seniors leave high school on track to earn even a “C” in college courses. And about 40% of those who enroll in college are placed in remedial courses. This means a huge percentage of high school diplomas handed out every year are empty promises. What will you do to close this college and career readiness gap in your state? And what will you do to ensure parents get more honest information about their children’s readiness for success after high school?

Colyer: College and career readiness is absolutely a critical outcome for our graduating high school students. We must continue to work with communities and businesses to provide a platform for integrating education from secondary to higher education so that our kids are prepared for the jobs of the future. That's why I created the Governor's Education Council, bringing education and business stakeholders together to discuss how we can best prepare students to succeed in the 21st-century economy.
I want to see more options for students coming out of high school. Many people can benefit from apprenticeship programs and technical education programs, which is why I proposed and signed into law full funding for career and technical education tuition so Kansas high school students can take technology education courses for free before they even have their high school diplomas. I don’t think it’s realistic to assume a typical four-year post-secondary education is the best option for everyone, and I intend to encourage more opportunities for young people to receive the education and training they need to thrive in our workforce.
I believe that targeted investments in public education will yield strong results. When I became Governor, I called on the Legislature to keep schools open, invest in education over multiple years without raising taxes, and focus on improving student outcomes. We got it done.
Importantly, the school finance bill I supported will give parents good information about their children's readiness for success after high school through additional outcomes measures and optional assessments. The bill I signed includes measurable outcomes through the accreditation process, which are absolutely key to improving college and career readiness. If you don’t measure it, you won’t improve it, so outcomes are absolutely key to continuing to improve education for our Kansas students. The bill requires the state board to measure all school districts with the Kansans Can outcomes and to establish rigorous accountability metrics in several areas, including graduation and postsecondary success.
Additionally, the school finance bill I supported and signed gives every student across the state the opportunity to take both the ACT college entrance examination and the WorkKeys skills assessments once during their high school career at no cost to the students' families. These metrics and assessments will help students, parents, and teachers determine whether they are truly prepared for whatever comes next.
I look forward to building upon the work we did together this year to continue to address these challenges and improve the outlook for Kansas students. Education is an economic driver for us, and our strong education system is one big reason families and businesses move to Kansas. I want Kansas to be a place where our children see their futures, and we absolutely cannot grow the state if we do not adequately invest in our students who are our future workforce. I believe we can increase our investment in education without raising taxes, improve our graduation and post-secondary effectiveness rates, redesign schools to focus on student learning, hire the best teachers and behavioral health professionals for student growth, and improve college and career readiness, and we will do it together.

Gazette: What do you think will be your biggest obstacle in accomplishing your goals as governor, and how do you plan to address that obstacle?

Colyer: While I've only been in office a short time, we've already accomplished a lot. We helped improve the culture of state government by strengthening sexual harassment prevention policies, allowing easier open records access for Kansans, ensuring Governor's staff use public emails for official business, providing better public access to open meetings (https://publicsquare.ks.gov/), and tracking and posting agency performance metrics (https://admin.ks.gov/kpi/kpi-home/). We increased our investments in K-12 and higher education, reformed the child welfare system, publicized a list of child support evaders, created a Substance Use Disorder Task Force, advocated for Kansas' interests on foreign trade issues, called for a pro-life constitutional amendment if the Supreme Court overrules our abortion limits, and successfully asked utilities to return millions to consumers. We banned the box to give ex-offenders a chance to become productive members of society, upgraded our state's credit rating, named new staff in key agencies and positions, re-procured our KanCare contracts, deployed Blackhawks to successfully combat wildfires, and launched new workforce services like My (Re)Employment Plan and kscareernav.gov. We've been busy, and my staff is worn out from keeping surgeon hours instead of politician hours. However, it hasn't been easy. There have been obstacles along the way, and I know there will continue to be. One of the biggest obstacles to accomplishing our goals will come from those who are opposed to moving Kansas forward due to political disagreement. Whether that opposition comes in the way of political figureheads, pundits, and critics, or just those who believe it can't be done, there will certainly be headwinds to true reform. I respect people's right to disagree, but it is my hope that we can work together to move our state forward.
I am not your typical politician. I am a problem solver pure and simple. That’s just how I’ve operated (quite literally) for all of my professional life. As a surgeon, you work with what you’ve got to solve the problems in front of you. And that’s how I operate as Governor. That means working closely with the legislature--both parties--to find solutions that work for Kansans. That being said, I am a conservative. Those are my values and that’s how I’ll lead. But I understand how crucial it is to reach out to collaborate with those who are not. At the end of the day, our job is to come together and enact policies that work for the people of Kansas. That is how I will attempt to overcome this obstacle.

Gazette: Should Kansas raise the minimum wage? What is a fair wage?

Colyer: I'm a big believer in the power of work. Gainful employment is absolutely critical for success in life. That is why I think Kansas' minimum wage should stay where it is currently. Increases in the minimum wage almost always lead to job losses for workers with fewer skills. For those workers who are able to keep their jobs after a minimum wage hike, many will be penalized with reduced hours or benefits as businesses look to cut costs elsewhere to pay for the higher wages. Higher minimum wages also tend to increase prices for consumers, as many businesses can't absorb the higher labor costs without passing along some of the extra costs to those who are buying their products and services.
I know how important a quality workforce is. Our unemployment rate is around 3.4 percent. Many are benefiting from the growth of the Trump economy. We have over 50,000 job openings right now, and more job vacancies than unemployed workers. We truly have jobs looking for people. Raising the minimum wage and making it harder for people to get jobs is the last thing we need. Finding solutions to these issues will take hard work and true Kansas grit. First, we need to raise the entire skillset of our workforce. That’s why I signed into law increased funding for technical education and innovative programs that feature collaboration between private industry and higher education.
Second, we need to go back and pick up those that have been laid off or otherwise left behind as the Kansas economy has modernized and evolved. In April, we kicked off a new program called “My (Re)Employment Plan" that blends enhanced workforce services with personal responsibility to get Kansans back to work faster. It connects unemployment recipients with workforce service professionals in their area, who will provide personalized job search assistance focusing on goals and accountability, skills assessments, resume and networking assistance, and labor market information highlighting in-demand jobs. We also launched Kansas Career Navigator (kscareernav.gov), an innovative tool to help Kansans find high wage, high demand jobs available by county.
Third, we are working hard to help people get off of government welfare programs and into the job market. I believe the safety net should help people bounce back rather than trapping them in a cycle of poverty. During my time as Lieutenant Governor, I helped change policy in Kansas to start a new approach to welfare that required work. My administration is laser-focused on empowering individuals to obtain good jobs so that they can live purpose-filled lives and experience the dignity that comes from a hard day's work.
These solutions will take time and energy from all of us, but I know that they will help our economy grow. Increasing the minimum wage, on the other hand, will only serve to distort our state's economy by artificially raising the cost of labor.

Gazette: How would you address education funding?

Colyer: When I became Governor, I called on the Legislature to keep schools open, invest in education over multiple years without raising taxes, and focus on improving student outcomes. We got it done. The solution resolves the equity issues so children in Galena, Hays, Salina, or Overland Park will have the same educational opportunities. It also includes measurable outcomes through the accreditation process, which are absolutely key to getting the focus back on Kansas kids.
As a doctor, I know it is important to see continuous improvement. We will maintain a sharp focus on sending dollars to the classroom without raising taxes. I look forward to building upon the work we did together this year to address student needs and allocate dollars to the classroom during the next legislative session.

Gazette: If you do not win the Republican nomination, what are your plans in terms of ensuring the Democratic Candidate does not win the election?

Colyer: Early on in this campaign, I told voters that, no matter who won the Republican nomination for Governor, I would be supporting that person's efforts after the primary is over. I will work with the Kansas Republican Party and the campaign of whoever wins the nomination to ensure that we have someone in the Governor's Office who shares our basic Republican ideals of limited government, free enterprise, and respect for constitutional rights.

Gazette: Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in some form? If so, what conditions would you include? To date, seven states have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana and in the state of Colorado, $135 million in taxes and fees flowed into the state budget in just one year. On the surface, these changes make financial sense and would decriminalize common teenager behavior. Do you support the legalization of marijuana for recreation? Or medical use?

Colyer: I signed legislation this session to allow those with ailments to benefit from a previously-banned substance. I signed a bill that legalizes cannabidiol, or CBD, which is a marijuana plant extract that contains no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (which is the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high). On a related note, I also signed a bill that allows for scientific research into industrial hemp to explore the benefits for the state of Kansas.
That being said, I don't believe the legalization of marijuana would serve the public good. Marijuana has long-term effects both on users and those exposed secondhand. As a practicing doctor for over 20 years, I know just how important it is to effectively manage patients' pain. However, I do not support the legalization of marijuana for medical use either. The Center for Disease Control has demonstrated that there is strong evidence that prolonged use of marijuana can result in addiction, breathing problems, short-term declines in memory, increased risk of poisoning among children, increased risk for low birth weights in babies when a mother uses while pregnant, and increased risk for psychosis or schizophrenia. I want to see continued research and development of better and safer medications to help relieve suffering, but I want to see those medications go through the rigorous testing process all pharmaceutical drugs go through. Right now, there are too many inconclusive studies on the benefits of medical marijuana use to make it the right decision for Kansas, especially given the prevalence of recreational use that this can cause.
Many businesses say they have problems finding workers who can pass a drug test. This is a big reason why so many Kansans aren’t benefitting from a growing economy. This scourge does not respect ethnicity, age, rich or poor, parent or child or county. Hundreds of our neighbors have died. Believe it or not, the average life expectancy in the United States decreased over the last two years, and many experts cite the opioid and meth epidemics as a primary cause. I’ve seen this first hand among my own patients.
To establish a comprehensive approach, I announced the creation of the Substance Use Disorders Task Force, and we have one of the top national experts leading our efforts. Dr. Greg Lakin–physician, lawyer, addiction specialist, former legislator—is heading this task force to work with stakeholders to implement short and long-term solutions.

Gazette: What place do guns have in your state’s schools? Do you support arming teachers and school staff? Should parents and visitors with concealed carry permits be allowed to bring their guns onto school grounds and into classrooms?

Colyer: I am a strong supporter of the second amendment. As Governor, I tend to be a proponent of local control. As for guns in classrooms, this is an issue best decided by local communities, who know the needs of their schools, students, and teachers better than anyone else. I think that if locals want to pursue the route of allowing teachers, staff, and parents who have undergone training to carry in the classroom, then that is fine. We are happy to discuss that approach. There are some communities where I am sure that might be a good option.
However, since I have been governor, I have traveled the state visiting schools in nearly every corner of the state. Those I spoke to were focused on different solutions, including some of those outlined in the school safety bill proposed during the recent legislative session. Some of these solutions include requiring schools and state agencies to establish guidelines for fortifying schools against armed threats, providing funding for safety measures like metal detectors and hardened glass, enhancing communications interoperability, and working more closely with law enforcement to keep our students secure while they're focused on learning.
All violence is tragic, and the school shootings and homicides that have taken place in other states recently are horrible. That is why I was proud to sign the budget to enact these solutions. We also invested in a mental health intervention pilot to ensure children in our schools are receiving the behavioral health care that they need.

Gazette: Why should the people of Kansas vote for you?

Colye r:I’m not your typical politician. I’m a surgeon, and I think, and problem solve, like a surgeon. When I see a problem, I approach it the same way I do in the operating room. I listen to the concerns and figure out what our issues are and then I step in and I solve it. That is the proper way to lead. Too often politics attracts the kind of people who prefer to cast blame first rather than focus on problem-solving. That doesn’t work in the operating room and it’s not the way a Colyer governorship would operate.
I think Kansans want a servant leader who is truly concerned with the issues that matter to them--education, economic development, public safety, getting people back to work, growing our state. Kansans want someone who is dedicated to solving problems in a way that sets us up for success in the long term and I am that candidate. I’m not the loudest or the most brash. I’m not the media darling you’ll see all over the national news circuit. I'm a workhorse, not a show pony. I don’t see this job as a stepping stone for aspirations in Washington. I'm focused on Kansas, the true heart of America. I want to listen, serve, and lead the people of Kansas and help make our state a place where our children see their futures.

Gazette: It is 2030 and you have served two terms as governor of Kansas. What are people saying about your legacy? What are your biggest concrete accomplishments?

Colyer: I hope they'd say that Dr. Jeff Colyer was dedicated to solving problems in a way that set the state up for success in the long term. He listened, served, and led the people of Kansas and helped make the state a place where our children found opportunities and great futures. My accomplishments will include the things I'm focused on right now: economic and job growth, improvement in education, and an increase in the quality of life for Kansans.
For economic and job growth, I will continue to strive to enact policies that increase employment in Kansas and keep our unemployment rate low. We will be very focused on attracting new businesses and retaining our current employers. We will emphasize Kansas' great education system, strong work ethic, skilled labor pool, great location and logistics strengths, low cost of living, and relatively low-tax and low-regulation environment. We will engage more people in the workforce, including people who have been underemployed or not participating in the labor market altogether. Kansas is a hub for very successful companies, and I will foster an environment of entrepreneurship so that the next big thing starts right here in Kansas.
For improvement in education, I will continue to work to make sure that we appropriately invest in students and that we end the school finance war that has been ongoing in Kansas for decades. I will also collaborate with the Board of Education and Legislature to make sure that additional investments in education provide a return through improved performance and positive outcomes. Together, we will increase our graduation and post-secondary effectiveness rates, redesign schools to focus on student learning, hire the best teachers and behavioral health professionals, and improve college and career readiness.
For quality of life, I will work to see that Kansans' wages are going up, poverty is going down, healthcare outcomes are improving, infrastructure investments are being made, housing and broadband are available in rural communities, taxes and regulations are low, and government is more open and responsive to the needs of the people. We will work with local communities and businesses to ensure that our citizens have the amenities they need to live, work, and play right here in Kansas.

Meet Jim Barnett, Republican for Governor

Kevin Surbaugh


Jim Barnett, along with his running mate Rosie Hansen recently stopped in Baldwin City and spoke with the editorial board of the Baldwin City Gazette. The Barnett campaign has been endorsed by MainPac and Kansas Traditional Republicans for Common Sense.

Baldwin City Gazette: Would you make any changes to Kansas' state taxes? What would those specific changes be and why?

Jim Barnett: Yes, I would. first of all whats really most important of the bigger picture we gotta balance the budget I know taxes and spending are important issues but the really bigger question is in Kansas we have basically eaten all our seed corn. We have lived month to month. Paycheck to paycheck, and actually worse than that, we are living on credit card debt. For example, what we are doing for our highways to bond monies at interest only for twenty years. Interest only payments for twenty-years.
The Barnett and Hansen ticket discuss issues with the Baldwin City Gazette.
Jim Barnett and Rosie Hansen
stop in Baldwin City to talk with the
Gazette editorial board.
Kevin Surbaugh
Since 2010 actually with the Brownback-Colyer administration we have bonded over $1.3 billion. So we need to put some money back in the bank and invest. That's the only way we are going to grow. Tax policy in general, I do not like sales tax on food. It's the most burdensome tax, particularly for those that struggle with income. I think that if there is any tax adjustment that is necessary, it would be at the level of internet sales tax to help support brick and mortar people along main streets across the state to make it fair and equitable.
Property tax, we want to hold down. I don't want any increases in property tax at the state level.



Gazette: While high school graduation rates have risen above 80 percent in recent years, college readiness rates remain much lower. Fewer than half of graduating seniors leave high school on track to earn even a “C” in college courses. And about 40% of those who enroll in college are placed in remedial courses. This means a huge percentage of high school diplomas handed out every year are empty promises. What will you do to close this college and career readiness gap in your state? And what will you do to ensure parents get more honest information about their children’s readiness for success after high school?



Barnett: It is unacceptable where we are right now. Clearly unacceptable and we actually were just looking at that data last evening. So that's broken down in many different ways, why some children don't succeed. It's especially high in poverty. So social economics play a huge role here. Those children need extra help to bring themselves up. So one of our focuses in the campaign goes back to very early childhood and preparation learning. If children aren't caught up to speed by the time they get into Kindergarten, if they aren't ready for Kindergarten, they're likely to fail. So if we are going to address this longterm, it goes back to very early childhood learning experiences. So many children now, grow up in homes where they're not fed, they're neglected, their not read to, they come to school, they don't know the color blue. Then, of course, it becomes the teacher's fault that they don't learn. So that is where that has to be addressed, and it's going to take time to do that and we would save so much money. To your point, we would save so much money, if we invested there. Pay a little more there and a whole lot less later.



Gazette: What do you think will be your biggest obstacle in accomplishing your goals as governor, and how do you plan to address that obstacle?



Barnett: I think the biggest obstacle is real economic growth. That is the greatest challenge for the next Governor. If we can't get this state's economy growing, we're all sunk. We aren't going to have enough money for roads or schools and healthcare. The key is to economic development. That would be the answer to your question. Number one, we ask businesses what they need to succeed, over and over, workforce, workforce training, infrastructure, healthcare, education, quality of life issues, those are the main keys that businesses are looking for to succeed. In the last seven years with Brownback and Colyer, with the tax experiment, we have put all our eggs in one basket. Zeroing out taxes for a certain few and letting the rest go. So the first thing is to restore those basic elements, which will take time.
The second thing is this, our state is very different regionally. This part of the state is much different than Johnson County, much different than southeast Kansas, much different than southwest Kansas, much different than central. So we need a Governor that recognizes that our state is different regionally, and we haven't approached economic development in that way since Bill Graves was Governor. Respecting local control. Ninety-five percent of economic development is local. Example of where that goes wrong is Tonganoxie. That chicken plant brought in behind closed doors. People erupted and the project failed.
The third key is we are more than just ag, oil, and aviation. We are going to look at all the regions and look at their assets. The last issue is this, we need a new relationship between business and education so that business can go to education and say here is the workforce we need. Education should be going to business and asking what do you need for a trained workforce so we can turn your economy. Those will be the challenges and how we address it.


Gazette: Should Kansas raise the minimum wage? What is a fair wage?



Barnett: I want everyone to have a wage that can support them, and their minimum needs for living. The wage in Kansas is a great question. It varies a little bit, but it's probably in the range of 14 to 15 dollars an hour, and it depends on if it's you or if you have a family to support. Now Kansas is a unique state in many ways, so I don't see a minimum wage coming about to that in this state. So the real answer is getting better-paying jobs to Kansas, which goes back to economic growth.


Gazette: How would you address education funding?



Barnett: That's the most challenging funding question I think we have short term. I have read the eighty pages of Gannon (Gannon v Kansas), the court case, I reviewed the history when in 2014 legislature, wrote into law, what it calls "Rose capacities," and called them, standards. They're not standards at all. They come from the 1980's in Kentucky. They're like your emotional. Well then, you should know your physical health. You can't measure those, but the legislature put those into law. The Governor signed it and ask the State Board of Education to develop a plan to reach it. They did. They said it is $892 million. So last year the state put in $292 million, subtract that off  893 and six hundred million. So I think that's a ballpark figure for what it takes to get out of court.
You know, if you don't like the court decision, you don't thumb your nose at it. You get a speeding ticket, you probably generally pay that. So we need to get out of court, but we have got to stay out of court because we are sending a message to young people that we don't value teachers. That we don't value education. We talked teacher after teacher, who tell their own children, 'Don't go into education, the economics don't make sense and the state has lost respect for education.' So, it's not only funding, but it is also changing the narrative that we value teachers and that we value education.  That is an important area for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to change.


Gazette:   If you do not win the Republican nomination, what are your plans in terms of ensuring the Democratic Candidate does not win the election?




Barnett: That's a great question and ultimately that's up to the voters. I think through the process of this campaign, the best thing we can do is talk about ideas and to contrast ourselves to other candidates, so that voters can be better informed. Frankly, that's why we are here today, and why we so appreciate you giving us this time and this such a sweet setting, to get to interview in.

Gazette:   In addition to the Libertarian candidate, we have Greg Orman, what do you think he will do to the mix?

 Barnett: My crystal ball broke. I used to tell my patients a long time ago, my crystal ball broke. I kinda see Greg Orman and the Democratic nominee, kinda washing each other out, to some extent. Again my crystal ball broke, but I think that it makes it more likely that the Republican nominee will be the states next Governor.

GazetteDo you believe marijuana should be legalized in some form? If so, what conditions would you include? To date, seven states have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana and in the state of Colorado, $135 million in taxes and fees flowed into the state budget in just one year. On the surface, these changes make financial sense and would decriminalize common teenager behavior. Do you support the legalization of marijuana for recreation? Or just medical use?



Barnett: You know that is a well-written question and we hear this issue a lot on the campaign trail.  Early on.
So first of all, I am going to talk just a little bit about hemp. You know I really support agriculture hemp and it's probably our states answer to stepping into this answer. Which, is a challenging answer.
Agricultural hemp brings new agriculture products, uses less water, and has economic opportunity, there, going back to your tax question. Next question, really is medicinal marijuana and I will look at any bill that comes across my desk on an evidence-based approach. I think that is probably the closest thing, that this state is ready to start looking at.
Now the real question is the legalization for fully or recreational use. I think the answers are still out there because talk to a lot of people in a lot of different walks of life, that raise positives and negatives. Tax revenues yes, but negatives on the downside there. Social issues and homelessness, etc and traffic safety issues too, with our fatality rates being up in Kansas and the thought some of that is coming from Colorado. So I think the evidence is still out on that, and I would like to look at that before I would answer that. Again I want to come back to the position, that I would look at any bill on an evidence-based approach.

Gazette: What place do guns have in Kansas schools? Do you support arming teachers and school staff? Should parents and visitors with concealed carry permits be allowed to bring their guns onto school grounds and into classrooms?



Barnett: First of all, I support the second amendment and the right to self-protection. I don't support arming teachers as a solution. I think the laws are such, where guns may or may not be permitted that we don't need to open that chapter or book again. We have so many other things that need our attention right now. Like balancing our budget. The laws are such now, that teachers can carry their weapons concealed in schools right now. I would think in those settings, you would want those individuals to be trained. To know how to properly use such a weapon. In general, I don't support giving cash bonuses to teachers as has been proposed by Secretary Kobach and Governor Colyer.
((inaudible))
I think the real challenge for the next Governor, for school safety, comes to restoring and rebuilding a functioning mental health system. We have seen during the Brownback-Colyer years a systematic dismantling of mental health care and now it's in schools, our jails, our emergency rooms, it's on our streets, and it's in our homeless shelters. That's really not what Kansas is about. Those are not values that Kansas represent to Rosie and me.

Gazette: Why should the people of Kansas vote you?

Barnett: You know, we've got to pivot as a state. Kansas has come down in the last seven years. It's not the state we used to know it. The amount of poverty around Kansas is astounding and frankly disheartening. We have a generational failure now of the families, generational poverty, behavioral health issues, and substance abuse. We have again seen, living month to month, paycheck to paycheck, institutionalizing Kansas during the Brownback-Colyer tax experiment failure. If we do not invest in this state our highways, our hospitals, our mental health facilities, take care of those in need, we are never going to know Kansas the way we used to know it. We are the only Republican candidate, Governor and Lieutenant Governor who are saying that and willing to make those hard decisions. That's why Kansas will be better off with Barnett-Hansen ticket.

Gazette: It is 2030 and you have served two terms as governor of Kansas. What are people saying about your legacy? What are your biggest concrete accomplishments?

Barnett: First of all I believe in term-limits, I know the Governor's office is term-limited and it should be, but I believe in term-limits in general. I have supported them all alone and I self-imposed those on the school board and in the Kansas Senate as well.
Two things! Number one, turn the state's economy around, we have the potential to so much better. In so many ways. Economic growth and not being a flyover state and being a state where people want to come to, live and raise, their family.  Number one is to turn the state's economy around and we can do that. Number two is to crack the nut about generational poverty and generational failure of the family. We can do that too, by investing in early childhood learning. Making that a robust program. It's a public-private program, with schools, and communities where they want it and need it.  It's needed across the state. But that's what gives me tingles, to break this generational failure that has swept across Kansas.


Meet Laura Kelly - Democrat for Governor

Kevin Surbaugh

Senator Laura Kelly is endorsed by Senator Tom Holland and former Governor Kathleen Sebelius.


Baldwin City Gazette: Would you make any changes to Kansas' state taxes? What would those specific changes be and why?



Senator Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly (file photo)
Laura Kelly:The failed Brownback tax experiment severely damaged our state, decimated our schools and hurt our communities. It resulted in our tax system being completely out of balance. I lead the bipartisan effort to reverse the tax experiment so we could once again invest in our schools, roads and growing our economy. I will work to reestablish the balance between property, sales and income taxes.



Gazette: While high school graduation rates have risen above 80 percent in recent years, college readiness rates remain much lower. Fewer than half of graduating seniors leave high school on track to earn even a “C” in college courses. And about 40% of those who enroll in college are placed in remedial courses. This means a huge percentage of high school diplomas handed out every year are empty promises. What will you do to close this college and career readiness gap in your state? And what will you do to ensure parents get more honest information about their children’s readiness for success after high school?

Kelly: I have a vision of education that spans from early childhood to K-12 to college to the workforce. Because every step along the way is important: a chance for Kansas to do right by our kids and their parents – or to let them down. If we invest early and keep kids on the right track, we can help them be better prepared for college or technical education. Fully funding our K-12 schools, as well as investing in early childhood education, will improve college readiness.

I’m a strong supporter of higher education, including technical and trade schools, and job training programs. I will focus on promoting partnerships to ensure businesses can find the trained workers they need in their industry and schools are providing the skills training needed. That means investing in high school technical programs, community college certification programs, and college and university tuition relief.

Gazette: What do you think will be your biggest obstacle in accomplishing your goals as governor, and how do you plan to address that obstacle?

Kelly: Getting things done as governor requires a good working relationship with the legislature. I have a reputation as someone willing to work with anyone to get things done for the people of Kansas. As governor, I will always put the best interests of Kansas families first.


Gazette: Should Kansas raise the minimum-wage? What is a fair wage?

Kelly: Yes. I have supported increasing the minimum wage several times. A recent study showed that a full-time minimum wage job does not provide enough to rent an apartment in any state. That is wrong.

Gazette: How would you address education funding?

Kelly: The Kansas Supreme Court ruled recently that changes to the funding formula for schools - which I supported - were constitutional. This will ensure that money is distributed more fairly. However, the legislature and the new governor must still adjust funding for inflation this coming year. I will encourage that change to be made quickly.

As governor, I will work with teachers, administrators, parents and other experts to set goals and fully fund our schools. Instead of focusing on doing the minimum, we will begin to plan and innovate. We will make sure Kansas has the best school in the nation so our children can be ready for the jobs of the future. And I will use my budget expertise to ensure Kansas can continue to meet the needs of our students in the years to come.

Gazette: If you do not win the Democratic nomination, what are your plans in terms of ensuring the Republican Candidate does not win the election?

Kelly: If I am not the Democratic nominee, I will put Kansas families first and work to  elect someone who will fight for our families and our shared priorities - like schools and healthcare.

Gazette: Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in some form? If so, what conditions would you include? To date, seven states have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana and in the state of Colorado, $135 million in taxes and fees flowed into the state budget in just one year. On the surface these changes make financial sense, and would decriminalize common teenager behavior. Do you support the legalization of marijuana for recreation? Or medical use?

Kelly: Just this year, Kansas started to make progress on this issue. The next step will be to legalize medicinal marijuana, and I’m confident this can be done next year. But, because of the composition of the Senate, it's not realistic to promise that we will legalize recreational marijuana any time soon.

We also need to look at marijuana as a criminal justice issue. Far too many people are facing incarceration for first time, nonviolent drug offenses, which is not a smart use of taxpayer dollars. As governor, I will work with the legislature to find a solution that works for Kansas.

Gazette: What place do guns have in your state’s schools? Do you support arming teachers and school staff? Should parents and visitors with concealed carry permits be allowed to bring their guns onto school grounds and into classrooms?

Kelly: More guns in our schools is never the answer. That’s why I voted to keep guns off our college campuses, as well as public hospitals and mental health centers. I also supported a bill that allows law enforcement to take guns away from individuals found to be a threat to others. It’s also essential that we increase mental health services available to Kansas students.

As Governor, I will bring everyone together – law enforcement officials, school officials, mental and public health experts and parents – to find common ground and meaningful solutions to this problem.

Gazette: Why should the people of Kansas vote for you?

Kelly: It has been my lifelong mission to do right by Kansas kids and families. During my career and my time in the Senate, I worked to improve our schools, healthcare and economy to make Kansas a better place to live.

I led efforts to expand early childhood education by doubling the number of kids able to enter kindergarten ready to learn. And I have been recognized for my strong support of Kansas public schools.

Last year, I helped lead the effort to successfully reverse the Brownback tax experiment and put Kansas back on the road to recovery.

I am a no nonsense, problem solver who puts the best interests of our families first.

Gazette: It is 2030 and you have served two terms as governor of Kansas. What are people saying about your legacy? What are your biggest concrete accomplishments?

Kelly: In 2030, I hope to be remembered as an Education Governor who funded our schools and gave all kids the opportunity they deserve to succeed. I hope that studies will show that Kansas has the best schools in the nation and - as a result - a thriving economy. I also hope that Kansas is recognized as a welcoming state and a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Meet Carl Brewer - Democrat for Governor

Kevin Surbaugh



Baldwin City Gazette: Would you make any changes to Kansas' state taxes? What would those specific changes be and why?
Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer is a Democratic Candidate for Governor.
Carl Brewer (File Photo)

Carl Brewer: Kansas needs to restructure our tax system to make it fair to all residents, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the tax on food.


Gazette: While high school graduation rates have risen above 80 percent in recent years, college readiness rates remain much lower. Fewer than half of graduating seniors leave high school on track to earn even a “C” in college courses. And about 40% of those who enroll in college are placed in remedial courses. This means a huge percentage of high school diplomas handed out every year are empty promises. What will you do to close this college and career readiness gap in your state? And what will you do to ensure parents get more honest information about their children’s readiness for success after high school?

Brewer: We have to start by making sure children have adequate education in their early years. If you don’t start them out on the right path by kindergarten, they’re going to be behind. We need to create the opportunity for every child to attend preschool. We must ensure Kansas students are proficient in such basics as reading math, but also that they leave high school prepared to go to college if they choose to. This means adequately funding our schools and our teachers which creates the necessary environment to recruit talented individuals with the skills and passion to teach our children.


Gazette: What do you think will be your biggest obstacle in accomplishing your goals as governor, and how do you plan to address that obstacle?

Brewer: In today’s climate in our state created by Brownback, the hard part will be repairing the financial structure to get Kansas back into the the black. We need to deal with our obligation to return money that’s been taken from KPERS and the Transportation fund. We need to make sure funding for education is more than just the bare minimum.


There is also the issue of transparency. There is much resistance at the capitol to allow the public to know what really is happening, to know who is voting for what. As mayors, both my running mate and I have successfully increased transparency in the cities we led and will work to make sure the public is aware of how their leaders are voting and spending their money.

Gazette: Should Kansas raise the minimum-wage? What is a fair wage?

Brewer: Yes. At a minimum, we should catch up to our neighbors of Colorado and get our minimum wage to above $10. Then we should create a review process every 2 years to make sure we’re keeping up with the cost of living increase.



Gazette: How would you address education funding?

Brewer: We need to start out by defining what we want and what we need. Then we have to calculate what’s a fair wage to pay teachers so that we’re getting qualified educators for our children. From that, we determine what the cost will be,and create a 10-year plan on how we will reach those goals. And the public will be aware of how we are working to fix the problem by establishing milestones so people can see when we’re being successful and when we’re failing - and if we’re failing, they’ll know what we’re going to do to fix it. This review needs to be done on a regular basis, something closer to every 6 months. Once a year isn’t enough for our children.

Funding our public education requires new solutions. Let’s start by legalizing marijuana, taxing it, and using that revenue to fund our schools.



Gazette: If you do not win the Democratic nomination, what are your plans in terms of ensuring the Republican Candidate does not win the election?
Brewer: This isn’t about getting a Democrat into office, it’s about getting the right person into office to lead our state and give fair, true representation to everyone. Obviously, neither Kobach nor Colyer is the right person. I would support whichever Democrat won the primary.



Gazette: Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in some form? If so, what conditions would you include? To date, seven states have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana and in the state of Colorado, $135 million in taxes and fees flowed into the state budget in just one year. On the surface these changes make financial sense, and would decriminalize common teenager behavior. Do you support the legalization of marijuana for recreation? Or medical use?
Brewer: It is time to legalize and tax the production, sale, and personal use of medicinal and recreational marijuana in Kansas. And if legislators aren’t brave enough to legalize it, then we should put it on the ballot and let the citizens decide.

Kansas could solve its budget problems if this were to become law.  We could even eliminate the sales tax on food and prescription drugs and keep other traditional sources of tax revenue at modest levels. Kansas would have to be careful implementing such a policy. We need to study how other states have successfully drafted their laws.



Gazette: What place do guns have in your state’s schools? Do you support arming teachers and school staff? Should parents and visitors with concealed carry permits be allowed to bring their guns onto school grounds and into classrooms?
Brewer: Schools are meant for education not guns. In my 21 years of military service, I was trained how to safely use high-powered automatic weapons. I know the damage they can cause. So when it comes to our schools, teachers should not be armed, students should not be armed, and parents should not be armed. The right protection would be putting trained SRO’s in our schools who could also provide counseling when needed.


Gazette: Why should the people of Kansas vote for you?
Brewer: People should vote for me because I, along with my running mate Chris Morrow, is the best ticket to beat Kris Kobach. Our Secretary of State continues to create a hostile environment of inequality, corruption and embarrassment to our state. It’s time for change and we are the ones who can bring it, just as I did for Wichita and as Chris did for Gardner. Not only was I elected mayor of the largest city in the state of Kansas, and a conservative one at that, I led it through the worst of the recession to then win reelection with 69% of the vote.



Gazette: It is 2030 and you have served two terms as governor of Kansas. What are people saying about your legacy? What are your biggest concrete accomplishments?

Brewer: I would want people to have witnessed how I and my Lieutenant Governor worked closely together to grow our economy and diversify our industries. The people would have recognized that we embraced diversity and all the voices from across our state. Everyone could see that they were part of the fabric of Kansas, a state that serves to be an example for the rest of the nation.