Kansas House candidates on the issues: Who are you supporting for governor and why?

We’re continuing today with the statehouse candidates’ responses to our questionnaire:

Here’s question number four:

Who are you supporting in the race for Kansas governor? Why?

District 14

Angela Justus Schweller (Democrat)

I will be supporting Laura Kelly for Kansas Governor. She has a proven record of working with all parties to get things done in our legislature, fighting for the priorities of Kansans.

Charlotte Esau (Republican)

Did not respond.

District 16

Cindy Holscher (Democrat)

I am proud to support Laura Kelly for Governor of Kansas. Laura has been a champion for the people during her time in the Legislature. She understands the issues and works relentlessly to make Kansas a better place. Additionally, she has the respect of individuals from both parties; she is willing to work across the aisle to find reasonable solutions. We have had enough of divisive politics in leadership positions in our state; Laura is what we need to help us move forward.

Sue Huff (Republican)

I am supporting Kris Kobach for governor. I believe our country was founded and based on the Constitution and feel that Kris Kobach represents those founding principles. I want someone that believes in “We the People” running our State.

District 17

Tom Cox (incumbent Republican)

I am not supporting anyone for Governor. I am not endorsing, supporting, or coordinating with any other candidates at any level. I am 100% focused on District 17. Whomever becomes Governor I will work my hardest to advocate for our district, our county, and our state.


Michael Kerner (Libertarian)

The only candidate that meets my standards for “lover of freedom” is Jeff Caldwell. Kobach has told people who need medical help from marijuana to eat Doritos. Kelly and Orman are not firm adherents of the Second Amendment and will go along with “common sense” gun control. There is no common sense in disarming victims. I also expect both to raise taxes if they can find an excuse.

Laura Smith-Everett (Democrat)

Laura Kelly. Laura would be a balanced, moderate governor who would help us move forward not repeat bad, extremist policies. As so many others have said, Laura is a moderate, pragmatic consensus builder. She’ll bring Kansans together to move us forward out of this terrible chapter in our history. I look forward to working with her in January.

District 18

Eric Jenkins (Republican)

As a Republican, I am supporting Kris Kobach, our nominee. While I respect that not all voters may agree with Kris on every issue or on “style points”, I agree with the Secretary of State on many more issues than either of his opponents. Simply put, I believe in the principles of limited government, free enterprise, individual liberty, and traditional values – and so does Secretary Kobach.

Cindy Neighbor (incumbent Democrat)

My vote will be for Laura Kelly, and my reasons are simple. She is the most qualified because of her understanding of the budgeting and appropriations process. She has been an integral part in working on school finance, health and mental issues and understands the need to work with all, not just some in the Legislature.
Our current Secretary of State has not been able to handle his current office responsibilities and wants to take us back to the Brownback tax experiment. If that would happen, we will find ourselves in greater debt than we were with Brownback. I do not want that for our children, our grandchildren or future Kansans.

District 19

Stephanie Clayton (incumbent Republican)

While I do not make it a practice to endorse, I am very clear in my opposition to the Secretary of State’s gubernatorial bid. When I cast my ballot, I will do so for the nominee who best reflects the values of my own constituents, who are in strong support of a sensible, experienced person who strongly values public education.

Stephen Wyatt (Democrat)

I am supporting Laura Kelly for the Kansas governor. She is a pro-education and pro- expanding Medicaid. Laura Kelly has the experience working in the Kansas legislature and the ability to reach across the aisle for the good of the state. Laura Kelly is the best choice to lead Kansas.

District 21

Jan Kessinger (Republican Incumbent)

I am focused on my own race. I encourage voters to educate themselves on the issues and the stance of each candidate, then vote for that person according to the issues they feel are important. The differences are clear. I am for maintaining the current tax structure that has helped to strengthen the Kansas fiscal profile. I am for KanCare expansion to provide services to the poor and vulnerable, while reducing the use of hospital emergency departments as primary physicians. I am for investing in education as our greatest asset. Our school systems in Johnson County are recognized as being in the top tier of efficiency and effectiveness. Those are the issues I consider when I make my choices.

Becky Barber (Democrat)

Did not respond.

District 23

Linda Gallagher (incumbent Republican)

My parents taught me the importance of voting as a right and privilege of being an American citizen. When I was a child, I would accompany my mother to the polling place on Election Day. I distinctly remember her telling me that we have a secret ballot in this country, and that it is nobody’s business for whom you vote. My being an elected official does not change that fact.

Nevertheless, I have been asked who I am supporting in the race for Kansas governor this year more than I have ever been asked about any other race in any other election. This is certainly an interesting election year, for many reasons.

In my four years in the Kansas House of Representatives, I have established a record of voting for reasonable, common-sense policies that, in my opinion, reflect the will of the citizens of House District 23 in Lenexa, Shawnee and Overland Park. I voted for the 2017 tax reform bill that rolled back the 2012 income tax cuts and voted to override Gov. Brownback’s veto of that bill. That legislation restored balance to our tax system and stabilized our tanking budget. I voted for the Medicaid expansion bill that passed both the House and Senate and voted to override that veto too, although that effort fell short by three votes.

I supported the 2018 supplemental budget bill that began restoring critical funding to essential government services – including K-12 schools, higher education, the T-Works transportation program, state employee raises, the child welfare system, mental health services, the KPERS pension program and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

I have opposed irresponsible gun bills such as arming teachers, campus carry and allowing people to obtain a conceal carry permit with no license and no training, and I have supported common-sense gun legislation such as keeping guns out of state mental hospitals and the University of Kansas Health System.

In deciding whom I will support in the governor’s race this election, I will research the candidates’ positions on these and other issues and vote for the person who I think most aligns with my views. I will vote for the person who I think will work with the legislature to forge solutions to our state’s problems and lead Kansas on a path of economic recovery, growth and prosperity.

Susan Ruiz (Democrat)

I support Laura Kelly. I believe that Laura is a person of integrity and will be accountable to the people of Kansas. She has the ability to work across party lines to get the job done. She understands that a state which is welcoming to residents and has strong public schools is a state that will see our income and property values grow. Laura will not allow our state to go backwards, but will keep pushing for Kansas progress. Her primary opponent, Kris Kobach has none of the qualities that any informed Kansan would look for in a governor. He has the potential to take us back to the days of Jim Crow voting laws.

District 25

Melissa Rooker (incumbent Republican)

I think it is more important I tell you who I will not be supporting for Kansas Governor – that is Kris Kobach because he is wrong for Kansas. (The KC Star created unnecessary confusion regarding my position with an erroneous report in their print edition stating that I did not respond to their inquiry. They offered a correction online but not in print.) I have never engaged in the practice of endorsing in a partisan race, nor do I intend to start now.
Just like you, I am a voter. I listen, research and evaluate which candidate in each race best represents the issues I value most. I consult a variety of organizations that offer endorsements, and ultimately choose the person I think best suited for the job. I trust the people of the 25th House district to do the same. Much can be learned from listening to what the gubernatorial candidates themselves are telling you. Believe them and choose accordingly. We are much stronger as a democracy when we choose to put people over partisan politics.

Rui Xu (Democrat)

I wholeheartedly endorse Laura Kelly for Kansas governor. She is eminently qualified with her experience in the legislature, her calm and pragmatic disposition, and she is just an inherently decent human being.

Her history of being a pro-public education advocate also puts her in stark contrast with her opponent in the gubernatorial race, who has claimed that our schools are overfunded. All public education advocates need to stand behind and endorse Laura Kelly to ensure our public schools are fully funded and that the next school funding bill will actually get signed. To stand silent is an abdication of leadership and a risk to our children.

District 29

Brett Parker (incumbent Democrat)

I am whole-heartedly supporting Sen. Laura Kelly. Sen. Kelly has the
knowledge and experience to be one of the best governor’s Kansas has ever known
from her first day on the job. Given that the alternative to an exciting, qualified
candidate like Sen. Kelly is our bungling Secretary of State, it is important that
local leaders continue to speak out on behalf of Sen. Kelly. I am proud to
support Sen. Kelly and encourage all my constituents to do the same.

James Todd (Republican)

I appreciate the Shawnee Mission Post giving candidates the opportunity to present their opinions on issues that are important to the voters and help the voters get to know each of the candidates better as people. However, I do not think it is productive for candidates running for House seats to give free press to Governor candidates that are spending tremendous amounts of resources to reach voters on their own. If elected, my focus will be on representing the 29th District and I will work with whomever wins the Governors race on policies that are beneficial to my community.

As I’ve been out walking the district getting to know my neighbors one of the complaints I have heard is that it is hard to find background information on candidates for this election year. So, let me take this moment to share a little bit of information about myself.

I was born at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. My parents are divorced, my father remarried my loving stepmother, and I have two wonderful sisters. I graduated from Maranatha Academy in Shawnee, spent two years at Johnson County Community College before transferring to the University of Kansas where I earned my undergraduate degree and a Juris Doctor. I’ve worked a wide variety of jobs in my life, some of them are; selling guitars, maintenance at a nursing home, law, and currently managing a small business in Johnson County. I moved to Overland Park because I love the community and wanted to build my life here.

My father and step-mother are both teachers in Kansas City, KS. My mother suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) during her life. She is the strongest person I have ever known. The best day I ever had while serving was when she was able to come to the Capital and join me on the House floor as every member of the House was unified in raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. Unfortunately, she passed away shortly afterward in 2015. Because of her, I am committed to being a voice for those that have MS and those suffering from long-term disabilities.

Each person has more to them than what can be said in a couple of paragraphs to be printed in a newspaper, but I hope you know a little bit more about me. If given a chance to serve I will work hard, work with others on both sides of the aisle, and try to represent the people of the district.

Robert Firestone (Libertarian)

Firestone has indicated to the Shawnee Mission Post that though his name will remain on the ballot, he will no longer be actively campaigning for the seat.

District 30

Brandon Woodard (Democrat)

The statewide race for Kansas governor will be decided by the people of Kansas. I’ll be voting for Sen. Laura Kelly for governor because after eight years of Washington, D.C.-style politics within the Brownback administration, it is time for a governor committed to investing in public education, restoring a predictable and balanced tax and budgeting system, and providing access to quality, affordable healthcare in every corner of our state. The alternative is a firebrand who appears to be using his race for governor as an audition for a job in the White House’s administration or his own race for president. What used to feel like a pendulum swaying slowly back and forth in Kansas has become a political sling shot between common sense and ultra-conservative experimentation. The Kansans I’ve been talking to in Olathe and Lenexa for the past eight months are eager for a governor and legislature that will enact common sense policy to address issues like healthcare, education, and taxes. A “Governor Laura Kelly” will do that.

Wendy Bingesser (Republican)

I am the Republican nominee for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives and will personally be voting for the Republican ticket for governor and other offices up and down the ballot. This does not distract from the fact that I am committed to working with our next governor, whether it is Kobach, Kelly, or Orman, in order to strengthen our economy, protect our schools, and enact commonsense legislation that improves the lives of the people of Olathe and Lenexa.

Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item five:

What’s the issue facing the state that you’re most passionate about, and what do you plan to do on that front if elected to office in this election?