2020 candidate forum: Kansas House District 29

The state's role and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a right to abortion and Medicaid expansion were some of the main topics during the Shawnee Mission Post’s recent forum for candidates vying for Kansas House District 29. Photo credit Denise Elam.

The state’s role and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a right to abortion and Medicaid expansion were some of the main topics during the Shawnee Mission Post’s recent forum for candidates vying for Kansas House District 29. The forum took place at Prairie Village City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and was the last of 19 candidate forums hosted by the Post during the 2020 election cycle.

The event featured incumbent Democratic Rep. Brett Parker and his Republican challenger, Jerry Clinton. The 29th House District covers part of Overland Park.

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

  1. We have been starting all our forums off with a version of this question: With politics at the national level monopolizing much of voters’ attention, what do you think are Kansas’ biggest state-level priorities going into 2021? [4:37]
  2. Rep. Brett Parker. Photo credit Denise Elam.

    We are 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. Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking cases since the start of the pandemic, said just this week that Kansas is one of more than 30 states where new cases have been going up in the last two weeks. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough, too much, somewhere in the middle? [8:21]

  3. (From a reader) The Kansas Department of Labor says 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 in terms of both the help for small businesses and individual families? [13:15]
  4. (From a reader) Given the large number of households that are homeschooling their kids this year, or at least having their kids learn at home this year, is it fair to continue to send all property taxes from these homeschoolers or families learning at 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? [18:41]
  5. Jerry Clinton. Photo credit Denise Elam.

    Do you support Medicaid expansion? Please explain why or why not. [21:34]

  6. (From a reader) How would you have the state raise revenue for the budget if more is needed? Where would you look for revenue if cutting spending is not an option? [24:42]
  7. A measure to put a proposed constitutional amendment related to abortion failed to pass the Kansas House last session after being approved by the Senate. This measure, which they sought to put before voters but it didn’t pass, would have explicitly written 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. At the very least, abortion is likely to come up. Do you think Kansans should be afforded a constitutional right to abortion? And what, if any limits, on abortion do you support? [28:38]
  8. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you may have to point to that show you have an ability to work with people who may not always agree with you. [35:32]