Our questions for the primary candidates

Earlier this month, we asked what issues you wanted to hear candidates address as they compete for votes in this year’s elections.

Based on the input we received, we’ve developed questionnaires for the candidates running for the federal and state offices that will be on the primary ballot this summer. To make the effort instructive for primary voters as they consider which candidate would best represent their views in office, we’ve developed separate questionnaires for Republican and Democratic candidates reflecting the top priorities identified by voters from each party who sent in ideas.

We’ll be circulating these questionnaires to the candidates and campaigns listed below. We’ll publish their responses to one question per day starting July 13 — just ahead of the start of advance voting.

U.S. Senate/Kansas Third Congressional District Republicans

Here are our questions:

  • What should the federal government be doing to stimulate economic growth and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns?
  • With the tax cuts passed in 2017 and the passage of the relief bill earlier this year, the federal deficit has grown by trillions of dollars. Are you concerned about rising national debt? If so, what steps would you support to reduce it? If you recommend cuts to federal spending, please specify which areas you would cut.
  • Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not?
  • In response to the national protests following the killing of George Floyd, President Trump has signed an executive order on police reforms. The order calls for improved credentialing of police departments, better tracking of complaints about officers who use excessive force, and better services to address issues like homelessness, mental health and drug addiction. Will this adequately address concerns about police brutality? If not, what other steps should be taken?
  • What type of health insurance policy should the federal government be pursuing? Do you favor full repeal of the Affordable Care Act? If so, what would you replace it with?

We’ll be sending this questionnaire to each of the candidates whose names will be on the primary ballot:

U.S. Senate

  • Lance Berland
  • John Berman
  • Derek Ellis
  • Bob Hamilton
  • Kris Kobach
  • David Alan Lindstrom
  • Roger Marshall
  • Brian Matlock
  • John Miller
  • Steve Roberts
  • Gabriel Mark Robles

Kansas Third Congressional District

  • Amanda Adkins
  • Mike Beehler
  • Adrienne Vallejo Foster
  • Tom Love
  • Sara Hart Weir

U.S. Senate Democrats

Here are our questions:

  • How should the federal government be addressing the growing economic inequality in America, including disparities by race?
  • Do you support the idea of a single-payer “Medicare for All” healthcare system? Why or why not?
  • Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not?
  • Do you support the Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds, prohibit many no-knock warrants, and establish a national database to track police misconduct? What other steps, if any, would you like to see the federal government take on police reform?
  • What steps should the U.S. be taking right now on climate change?

We’ll be sending this questionnaire to each of the candidates whose names will be on the primary ballot:

  • Barbara Bollier
  • Robert Leon Tillman

Kansas Senate/House Republicans

Here are our questions:

  • The “Value the Both Amendment” brought before the legislature this year would have established that women do not have a constitutional right to abortion in Kansas and reserved the right to regulate abortion access exclusively for the legislature. Do you support the “Value Them Both Amendment”? Why or why not?
  • Kansas is among the 14 states yet to adopt a Medicaid expansion bill under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Do you support Medicaid expansion in Kansas? Why or why not?
  • What should the state government be doing to bring more good jobs to Kansas and support the growth of the state’s economy?
  • The governor’s stay-at-home orders during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Kansas sparked a debate about the role of government in working to ensure the public’s health. Were the state government’s actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 justified? What role do you believe the state should be taking in addressing the pandemic?
  • Do you support the entire platform of the Kansas Republican Party that was adopted in 2018? If not, which parts don’t you support and why?

We’ll be sending this questionnaire to the candidates whose names will be on the primary ballots in the following races:

Kansas Senate District 10

  • Tom Cox
  • Mike Thompson

Kansas Senate District 11

  • Kellie Warren
  • John Skubal (incumbent)

Kansas House District 18

  • Cathy Gordon
  • Calvin Vandegrift

Kansas House District 20

  • Jan Kessinger (incumbent)
  • Jane Dirks

Kansas House Democrats

Here are our questions:

  • The COVID-19 shutdowns have left a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars of expected revenue in Kansas’s budget, leaving a tricky balancing act before the legislature. Would you ever support cuts to K-12 funding as part of a package to balance the budget?
  • Do you support legalizing marijuana in the state in any capacity? Why or why not?
  • The governor’s stay-at-home orders during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Kansas sparked a debate about the role of government in working to ensure the public’s health. Were the state government’s actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 justified? What role do you believe the state should be taking in addressing the pandemic?
  • What’s your view on the state of racial equality in relation to policing practices and the criminal justice system in Kansas? What changes would you support?
  • Gov. Laura Kelly and Majority Leader Jim Denning reached a compromise plan on Medicaid expansion this session — though it did not pass. Did you support their compromise? If not, what would you have wanted to see changed?

We’ll be sending this questionnaire to the candidates whose names will be on the primary ballots in the following race:

Kansas House District 22

  • Randen Smith
  • Lindsay Vaughn

Kansas House District 39

  • Les Lampe
  • Michael Bolton

Kansas State Board of Education Republicans

Here are our questions:

  • The State Board of Education will play a key role in determining when and how Kansas schools reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s your view on how to balance efforts to stem the spread of the virus with the need for children to be back in their school buildings?
  • Should evolution be taught in Kansas public schools? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe Kansas’s K-12 public school system is over-funded or under-funded? Why?

We’ll be sending this questionnaire to the candidates whose names will be on the primary ballots in the following race:

Kansas State Board of Education District District 2

  • Benjamin Hodge
  • David Krug