2020 candidate forum: Kansas House District 20

The ongoing economic and educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid expansion and statewide LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections were just a few of the highlights from the Post’s Tuesday forum for candidates vying for Kansas House District 20. Photo credit Denise Elam.

The ongoing economic and educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid expansion and statewide LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections were just a few of the highlights from the Post’s forum for candidates vying for Kansas House District 20. The forum took place at Prairie Village City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 13, the final night of the Post’s candidate forums.

The event featured Mari-Lynn Poskin, a Democrat vying for the seat against Republican Jane Dirks, who chose not to participate. Read here about our thoughts on why we host candidate forums and what it means when candidates don’t participate. The 20th House District covers parts of Leawood and Overland Park.

Below is the list of questions posed by the Post staff and readers, including timestamps for when they are asked on the video. The full video of the forum can be viewed on the Post’s Facebook page and is also embedded below.

    1. With politics at the national level often monopolizing voters’ attention, what are the state-level concerns that you think are priorities heading into the 2021 legislative session? [4:20]
    2. We are now in the midst of the seventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Johnson County, data provided by the county health department — in terms of new cases and percent positive test rates — continue to suggest community spread is still happening across Kansas. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough or too much or somewhere in between? [5:10]
Mari-Lynn Poskin. Photo credit Denise Elam.
  1. (From a reader) Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Department of Labor says more than 32,000 initial jobless claims have been filed in the state of Kansas. According to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What can the Kansas House do to help our cities recover from COVID-19 economically, in terms of both the help for small businesses and individual families? [6:47]
  2. (From a reader) How would you have the state raise revenue for the budget if more is needed? Where would you look to raise revenue if spending cuts are not an option? [9:10]
  3. (From a reader) Given the large number of households that are homeschooling their kids this year because of the pandemic, and potentially into the future, is it fair to continue to send all property taxes from these homeschoolers, or at least families who are keeping their kids home, to fund local public schools? Would it make sense to send a rebate back to these households who are teaching their kids at home during the pandemic? [10:22]
  4. Do you support Medicaid expansion? Please explain your position either way. [11:14]
  5. A measure to put a proposed constitutional amendment related to abortion failed to pass the Kansas House last session but it was approved by the Senate. The measure sought to explicitly write out of the Kansas Constitution a right to abortion enshrined by a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. If you are elected, it’s possible that you’ll be faced with a vote on a similar measure. Do you think Kansans should be afforded a constitutional right to abortion? And what, if any limits, on abortion do you support? [12:40]
  6. (From a reader) Name two measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. [15:22]
  7. How should the Kansas legislators be preparing for the challenge of redistricting in 2021 after the 2020 Census? [17:20]
  8. The ongoing protest movement calling for police accountability and a broader reckoning with racism around the country has brought to the fore many sensitive issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. How, if at all, have you yourself personally tried to educate yourself about these issues, not only this year but prior to this latest outbreak of protests? [19:20]
  9. All major cities in Johnson County — including Prairie Village — now have explicit legal anti-discrimination protections on the books for LGBTQ residents, when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodation. There is no such protections at the state level in Kansas. Where do you stand on having those statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Kansans, and what it would take in order to effect that if you support it? [21:41]
  10. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have the ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. [22:41]