Clayton cringes at Daily Show’s mockery of Kansas, says ‘reputation matters’ in attracting young workers


Last Thursday, Jon Stewart used the first eight minutes of The Daily Show to poke fun at a series legislation that’s come out of Topeka this past session — from allowing people to carry concealed firearms with no permit and no training, to the bill on Gov. Brownback’s desk that will further restrict how welfare recipients can spend their money. If you missed the segment last week, you can view it below:

Northeast Johnson County Republican State Rep. Stephanie Clayton has said at local town halls that her goal is to keep Kansas off the Daily Show, and the state’s latest turn in the uncomfortable limelight provoked the following response from her on Twitter:

We asked Clayton why she thinks it’s so important for Kansas to avoid such publicity.

What impact do you think pieces like what Jon Stewart did on Kansas last week have on the state’s reputation, and how can that impact the state’s economy?

SC: Stability and reason are virtues that make Johnson County successful, and when we are the subject of ridicule on this popular show where, let’s face it, most young workers now get their political news, Kansas looks like an unappealing place in which to work or do business. In my time as a legislator, I have spoken with countless members of the business community, and many have mentioned a hesitancy among young workers to move to Kansas to start a career. I have mentioned this concern before, when the protected status of LGBT state workers was repealed back in February. We advise our children to avoid posting questionable things on the internet, lest it jeopardize their future job prospects. We do this because reputation matters. This same caution should be applied to legislative actions, because, again, reputation matters.

Were there any points he made that you found unfair or inaccurate?

SC: At one point in the clip, Stewart mentioned “cuts to the zoo and the jazz museum”. Clearly, that clip was taken in regards to services on the Missouri side, and as such, is inaccurate and irrelevant to the story.

Were there any points you felt were especially true?

SC: It is mentioned in the clip that Kansas is seen as the standard-bearer for normalcy in the United States. I agree. Kansas is in the midst of a budget crisis, and does not produce as much as other states do, economically, and I think this is why the producers of the Daily Show found our actions regarding TANF restrictions to be so very laughable. In addition to that, cutting eight hours of useful weapons training for responsible gun owners is seen as absurd by a great many of my constituents, and it stands to reason that it would be seen that way by the producers of the show, as well.

What do the governor and legislature need to do to avoid being the subject of ridicule?

SC: Kansas would be served well by a legislature that quietly focuses on the task of balancing the budget, and avoids frivolous legislation.