Responses are from the candidates and have not been edited.
Occupation: Consulting and I currently work for Amazon Logistics. I have enjoyed a 30 year career in market planning & development in the telecommunications, manufacturing and information management industries.
Education: BA in Political Science minor in American History from University of Houston
This is my 2nd run to represent West Shawnee in the Kansas House of Representatives. In 2018, the campaign came up short 802 votes a 13 pt. improvement over 2016. According to my fitbit I took 1,861,789 steps from June 15th through election day.
My wife and I married in 1979, adopted our son in 1992 and moved to west Shawnee in 1999. I’m an Eagle scout as is my son and I’ve been a Adult Scout leader for over 15 years. I’ve been a mentor for college students for over 30 years and was privilege to establish a leadership development grant for students at Wichita State. We’ve been members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church since 2000 where I taught Sunday school while my son was in grade school.
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What is your response to the Black Lives Matter movement?
The lessons of history instructs us, we cannot erase it. The learning’s can guide us toward a more just future. I reflect on the first two lines in the chorus of the song Man in the Mirror. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways”. We need to embrace diversity and purge the past from within ourselves and our institutions.
What do you think needs to be done to promote social and racial justice?
The criminal justice system is to insure due process. Then we should fund and staff the public defender’s office with the same effort we fund our prosecutors. If you have little means the criminal justice system will assign your case to a public defender handling 50 or 60 cases. If you have modest means the criminal justice system will grind you down until you can go no further and you plea out. If you are a person of means then finances aren’t an issue and you can afford to wait on due process.
Prosecutors don’t have to pay for investigators and collaborate with the police but public defenders pay for investigators and have no collaboration with police. How about fair due process? Both are employed by the state and yet taxpayer dollars are used to pay for investigators for the prosecution but not the public defender? Shouldn’t the investigator work for both sides to uncover the unbias truth? The criminal justice system is to insure justice is served and yet there is no balance for the poor so how can we be assured that true justice was served. The system in my opinion is innately bias against the poor and if you are a person of color and poor the system is stacked against you. To insure racial justice we need to unstack the deck by combating the stereotype projected on the poor and people of color to insure lady justice is well served, not just served.
Are you in favor of police reform? If so, what should it look like?
It’s been Kansas law since 2011 that every law enforcement agency have in place a racial or biased-base policing policy. It is a rather detailed law with instructions that allows for complaints to be considered publicly. Kansas is indeed ahead of many states on this subject.
Did you or do you support business shutdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus?
All Americans have heard mixed messages. What we know factually is that this virus has not yet been cured. Social distancing and wearing masks are a way for each of us to help manage its spread while we wait for science to provide treatments, prevention, and solutions.
This is new ground and the state functioned properly in issuing the order. There was no simple answer and there is not one now. People matter most so wearing a mask and respecting distance is a public display of our individual concern and commitment to one another.
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?
No, not necessarily. A rise in cases and hospitalizations is anticipated as we continue more testing and our economy opens up. The capacity of available ICU beds in our local hospitals and a sharp increase in the number of deaths would lead me to reconsider.
A 2nd shutdown would have a drastic and negative impact on the well-being of all Kansans. To minimize these two factors we the children and grandchildren of our greatest generation must take every precaution so our children and grandchildren can maintain their livelihood and continue to pursue their American dream.
What do you think should be done to help the Kansas economy recover?
We can’t cut our way or tax our way to prosperity. We must plan and grow our way. To stimulate statewide economic growth we need a catalyst to draw hi-tech manufacturing jobs to Kansas. That catalyst is industrial hemp. Imagine bioplastic bottling plants in Salina, sustainable paper mills in Topeka, biofuel refineries in El Dorado and Kansas City auto makers building electric cars with the body made from Kansas grown industrial hemp. According to Henry Ford it’s 10x’s lighter and 10x’s stronger then steel.
Kansas can lead the nation in the manufacturing of renewables by establishing a new “sustainable agricultural manufacturing” sector to complement our wind, solar and geothermal energy. Economic green zones will entice renewable industries to coalesce in Kansas and upward economic mobility will draw new residents reigniting statewide economic growth. This generation of Kansan’s has a unique moment in time to create thousands of high paying, hi-tech manufacturing all jobs across the state. In doing so, we will bolster our middle class and set our state on a new path to build a 21st century sustainable economy right alongside the fossil fueled 20th.
Would you cut money for social services if it means lower taxes? Would you favor higher taxes for more social services?
We won’t have to cut money for social services. We will be able to reduce taxes and provide more funds for social services if we stimulate statewide economic growth. We must break from the status quo of revenue shortfalls with a pro-growth agenda that moves us as a people toward a sustainable more prosperous future.
What should Kansas do to balance its budget? Will you support budget cuts for schools?
No, because education remains of the upmost importance to Kansas and all Kansans. Despite shortfalls we cannot shortchange our children’s education. It makes no sense. From the moment we hold them we only want the best for them. I would rather we squeeze out fraud and waste before we squeeze a single dime from our children’s future.
However, this summer we can collectively help close the revenue gap by focusing our spending locally in our city and county. Spending local, will help mend small businesses deemed non-essential and heal our sales tax revenue shortfall. Internet if you must, so we don’t turn our brick and mortar into dust.