Responses are from the candidates and have not been edited.
I have served as Senator for District 14 for four years (elected in 2016). Most of my professionals career has been in public school special education administration. I have my BS and MS from ESU with hours all over the state. I have worked as an insurance and investment agent for four years (2010 – 2014). Other than being elected to President of my freshman class in college or president of a service club or association, this is my only elected position.
Sue Givens and I have been married for 43 years. We have one daughter and her family who live in El Dorado.
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What is your response to the Black Lives Matter movement?
Of course Black Lives Matter. I started my teaching career in school that was predominately black. I learned so much in the late 70’s about the struggles and culture that was very different from the one I grew up in.. I’m not sure of what state level legislation would help heal this nation, but I do recognize the concern.
What do you think needs to be done to promote social and racial justice?
Again, I’m not sure what can be done at the state level for Kansas. I’m open to discussion and sharing ideas.
Are you in favor of police reform? If so, what should it look like?
I’m not in favor of defunding the police. The local level or local control of the issue is part of the Republican platform. I would like to see interim committees work on this subject prior to the regular Session. There might be some reorganization that can be done within departments. Our state is so different from county to county in terms of need.
Did you or do you support business shutdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus?
There are two parts to this. The shut down of schools and the shut down of businesses and stay at home orders. Many businesses are voluntary either shutting down or requiring masks for employees and customers. While the Governor’s shut down and stay at home orders slowed the spread of the virus, it has not achieved the long term results everyone had hoped for. I was never in favor of shutting down schools till the end of the year. Virtual learning for the special education population I work with with cannot learn in that format.
Would you support another statewide shutdown if coronavirus cases continued to rise? If so, what are the factors that would lead you to that decision?
AS mentioned, the state wide shut did not achieve long term results. People went immediately back to behaviors prior to the shut down. Changing behavior is very hard. Ask any teacher, but it can be done.
What do you think should be done to help the Kansas economy recover?
Implementing the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan will provide a stimulus for many parts of the state. The Commerce Department has implemented many programs that are assisting businesses. A shut down would be devastating, so avoiding that is key – what ever it takes.
Would you cut money for social services if it means lower taxes? Would you favor higher taxes for more social services?
I’m not in favor of higher taxes for any part of the state budget. However, I doubt that budget cuts can be avoided.
What should Kansas do to balance its budget? Will you support budget cuts for schools?
Just over half of the state budget is for K-12. The federal government has sent funds to the states for education and they are considering another piece specifically for special education funding. Everything – every funding stream will be looked at and all expenses will be examined. I cannot rule out cuts to schools, but it would be my last choice.