Your Kansas House of Representatives election primer

Kansas House District 23 candidates Matthew Clark, a Libertarian, (left) and incumbent Susan Ruiz, Democrat, (right) participated in a Shawnee Mission Post forum moderated by Editor Kyle Palmer.

Advance voting in person began Saturday, Oct. 17 in Johnson County and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 3. As residents head to the polls to cast their ballots for the Kansas House of Representatives and other races, we’re putting together our election primers to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.

If you don’t know what House district you live in, you can look up your voter record and see a sample ballot via the Johnson County Election Office’s tool here.

SHAMELESS PLUG

No other news outlet devotes as much attention to giving Shawnee Mission area voters a way to find out where candidates running for local office stand on the issues facing our community. If you value having a news outlet provide this kind of coverage, we hope you’ll consider becoming a subscriber if you aren’t already.

Who’s on the ballot

The candidates running in the contested races in districts that include at least parts of northern Johnson County are listed below. We’ve linked to campaign websites when possible.

District 14 (includes parts of Shawnee, Lenexa and Olathe — see map)

District 16 (includes parts of Overland Park and Lenexa — see map)

District 17 (includes parts of Lake Quivira, Lenexa and Shawnee — see map)

District 18 (includes part of Shawnee — see map)

District 20 (includes part of Leawood and Overland Park — see map)

District 21 (includes parts of Leawood, Mission Hills, Overland Park and Prairie Village — see map)

District 23 (includes parts of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee — see map)

District 29 (includes part of Overland Park — see map)

District 30 (includes parts of Lenexa and Olathe — see map)

District 39 (includes parts of Bonner Springs and Shawnee — see map)

Candidate Questionnaires

Health care workers staffed a drive-through testing location in Johnson County in August.

Earlier this month, we published the candidates’ responses to the questionnaires we developed with input from our readers. You can find each of the five questionnaire items linked below:

Question 1 — Pandemic response

  • Gov. Laura Kelly enacted a series of executive orders this spring to stem the spread of COVID-19. What’s your assessment of the state government’s response to the pandemic? Did the state do enough? Too much? What, if anything, would you have liked to see done differently? Read the responses here.

Question 2 — Expanding Medicaid

  • Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid? If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of Federal funds, loss of medical facilities especially in rural areas and increasing numbers of Kansans without health insurance? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say it will cost too much? Read the responses here.

Question 3 — Political polarization

  • Politics seems more polarized than ever, with activists in both parties seeking ideological conformity on many issues. What experience or relationships can you point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you? Please give specific examples. Read the responses here.

Question 4 — Racial justice and law enforcement

  • Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions in the wake of the racial justice movement? Do you believe Kansas records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency? Read the responses here.

Question 5 — Climate change

  • Climate change continues to be a major concern for Shawnee Mission Post readers. What steps should the state government be taking now to address the impact of the changing climate in the coming decades? How would you work to see those steps enacted? Read the responses here.

Candidate forums

We hosted in-person forums for the candidates running for area House district seats. You can watch videos of the forums below. Topics covered during the forum are noted with time codes.

District 14

  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 that need to be addressed? [5:30]
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough or too much? [8:20]
  3. Over the past two weeks the U.S. Department of Labor says more than 32,000 initial jobless claims have been filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What policies will you support as a statehouse representative to help businesses recover from the pandemic and get Kansans back to work? [11:00]

    Incumbent Republican Charlotte Esau.
  4. A question from reader Seth Graber: “Given the large number of households that are homeschooling their kids this year, and potentially in future years too, is it fair to continue to send all property taxes from these homeschoolers 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?” [14:35 ]
  5. Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid? If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of Federal funds, the loss of hospitals, especially in rural areas, and increasing numbers of Kansans without health insurance? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say it will cost too much? [17:45 ]
  6. Another reader question, slightly modified: “Please discuss your positions on current gun laws in Kansas. In your opinion, what is the balance between safety and 2nd Amendment rights?” [21:20]
  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. 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? [22:50 ]
  8. Another reader question from Kay Heley in Overland Park, who admits she is not a constituent in this race but is asking this question of candidates in several statehouse races: “Name 2 measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.” [25:35]
  9. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing movement for social justice and police accountability? Do you believe Kansas open records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency of law enforcement in the state? [27:40 ]

    Democratic challenger Angela Schweller.
  10. All major cities in Johnson County — including Shawnee — now have explicit legal anti-discrimination protections on the books for LGBTQ residents, when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodation. But there is no such protection at the state level in Kansas. Some opponents of these ordinances say they could infringe on “religious freedoms.” Where do you stand on having statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Kansans? [30:10]
  11. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. Please give specific examples. [33:00]

District 16 (Republican Rashard Young did not participate)

  1. We have been starting all of our forums off with a version of this question: With politics at the national level monopolizing much of voters’ attention in 2020, what do you think are Kansas’s biggest state-level priorities that need to be addressed? [4:35]
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring, though also acknowledging that not enough testing is being done. 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? [5:33]
  3. In the week ending September 19, the U.S. Department of Labor said more than 17,900 initial jobless claims were filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What policies will you support as a statehouse representative to help businesses recover from the pandemic and get Kansans back to work? [6:40]
  4. A question from reader Seth Graber: “Given the large number of households that are homeschooling their kids this year, and potentially in future years too, is it fair to continue to send all property taxes from these homeschoolers 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?” [7:55]
  5. You’ve already mentioned several times that you support expanding Medicaid, so I won’t ask you that, but I will ask: how would you respond to critics who say doing so will cost too much? [9:30]

    Linda Featherston
  6. 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 sought to explicitly write out of the Kansas Constitution a right to abortion that was enshrined by a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. If you are elected (or re-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? [12:22]
  7. And to press again, any limits on abortion that you support? [13:44]
  8. Another reader question: Name 2 measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. [14:10]
  9. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing movement for social justice and police accountability? What can the legislature do in this regard? [15:55]
  10. And a follow-up to that: Do you believe Kansas open records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency of law enforcement in the state? [17:25]
  11. All major cities in Johnson County — including Lenexa, where we’re at tonight — now have explicit legal anti-discrimination protections on the books for LGBTQ residents, when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodation. But there is no such protection at the state level in Kansas. Some opponents of these ordinances say they could infringe on “religious freedoms.” Where do you stand on having statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Kansans? [17:50]
  12. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. Please give specific examples. [18:35]

District 17 (Republican Kristine Sapp did not participate)

    1. We have been starting all of 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’s biggest state-level priorities that need to be addressed? 5:00
    2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough, too much, somewhere in between? 7:46

      Jo Ella Hoye
    3. In the week ending September 19, the U.S. Department of Labor said more than 17,900 initial jobless claims were filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What policies will you support as a statehouse representative to help businesses recover from the pandemic and get Kansans back to work? 10:10
    4. (From a reader) What are your positions on using publicly funded school vouchers for private school tuition? 12:08
    5. Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid in Kansas? If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of federal funds and the loss of hospitals, especially in rural areas? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say that it will cost too much? 14:08
    6. 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. The measure sought to explicitly write out of the Kansas Constitution a right to abortion that was 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? 18:45
    7. From a reader) Name two measures, if any, that you would initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. 20:03

      Michael Kerner
    8. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing national movement for social justice and police accountability? Do you believe Kansas open records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency of law enforcement in the state? 22:27
    9. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. Please give specific examples. 25:34

District 18

  1. We have been starting all of our forums off with a version of this question: With politics at the national level monopolizing much of voters’ attention in 2020, what do you think are Kansas’s biggest state-level priorities that need to be addressed? 5:17
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring, though also acknowledging that not enough testing is being done. 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? 8:28

    Cathy Gordon
  3. Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid? It’s likely that this issue will come up again in the next legislative session. If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of federal funds, the loss of hospitals … especially in rural areas … and an increasing number of Kansans without health insurance? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say it will cost too much? 20:35
  4. (From a reader) Please discuss your positions on current gun laws in Kansas. In your opinion, what is the balance between safety and Second Amendment rights? 25:16
  5. (Inspired by a reader) What are your positions on using publicly funded school vouchers for private school tuition? And then more broadly, what is your position on how well funded public schools in Kansas are? 27:30
  6. 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 sought to explicitly write out of the Kansas Constitution a right to abortion that was enshrined by a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. If you are elected (or re-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? 31:27Cindy Neighbor
  7. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing movement for social justice and police accountability? Do you believe Kansas open records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency of law enforcement in the state? 35:19

District 20 (Republican Jane Dirks did not participate)

  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]
  3. (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]

    Mari-Lynn Poskin. Photo credit Denise Elam.
  4. (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]
  5. (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]
  6. Do you support Medicaid expansion? Please explain your position either way. [11:14]
  7. 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]
  8. (From a reader) Name two measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. [15:22]
  9. How should the Kansas legislators be preparing for the challenge of redistricting in 2021 after the 2020 Census? [17:20]
  10. 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]
  11. 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]
  12. 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]

District 21

  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 that need to be addressed? [5:00]
  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. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough or too much? [8:30]

    Rep. Jerry Stogsdill
  3. Over the past two weeks, the U.S. Department of Labor says more than 32,000 initial jobless claims have been filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. Reader Marsha Ratzel asks: 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? [12:56]
  4. A question from reader Richard Pund: “How would you have the state raise revenue for the budget if more is needed? I want to be clear that I am not interested in how you would cut spending. I want to know where you would look for revenue if cutting spending is not an option.” [16:55]
  5. A question from reader Seth Graber: “Given the large number of households that are homeschooling their kids this year, and potentially in future years too, is it fair to continue to send all property taxes from these homeschoolers 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?” [21:09]
  6. Do you support Medicaid expansion? Please explain your position. [25:30]

    Bob Reese
  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. 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? [29:55]
  8. How should Kansas lawmakers be preparing for the challenge of redistricting during the 2021 session following the 2020 U.S. Census? [34:30]
  9. The ongoing protest movement calling for police accountability and a broader reckoning with racism 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? [38:35]

District 23 (Republican Jeff Shull did not participate)

  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 that need to be addressed? [5:00]
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough or too much? [7:30]
  3. Over the past two weeks the U.S. Department of Labor says more than 32,000 initial jobless claims have been filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What policies will you support as a statehouse representative to help businesses recover from the pandemic and get Kansans back to work? [10:40]

    Incumbent Democratic Rep. Susan Ruiz.
  4. A question from reader Paul Thomas: Because of lagging salaries and the dangers of COVID-19, our teachers are struggling immensely. What sort of legislation, if any, would you support to aid teachers during these tough times? [13:30]
  5. What are your budget priorities and what policy would you support to emphasize your spending priorities? [16:05]
  6. Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid? If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of Federal funds, the loss of hospitals, especially in rural areas, and increasing numbers of Kansans without health insurance? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say it will cost too much? [18:30]

    Libertarian challenger Matthew Clark.
  7. Another reader question, slightly modified: “Please discuss your positions on current gun laws in Kansas. In your opinion, what is the balance between safety and 2nd Amendment rights?” [22:10]
  8. 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. 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? [25:00]
  9. Another reader question from Kay Heley in Overland Park: “Name 2 measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.” [29:30]
  10. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing movement for social justice and police accountability? Do you believe Kansas open records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency of law enforcement in the state? [31:10]
  11. All major cities in Johnson County — including Shawnee — now have explicit legal anti-discrimination protections on the books for LGBTQ residents, when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodation. But there is no such protection at the state level in Kansas. Some opponents of these ordinances say they could infringe on religious freedoms. Where do you stand on having statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Kansans? [35:30]
  12. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. Please give specific examples. [39:30]

District 29

  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]

District 30 (Republican Laura Williams did not participate)

  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 that need to be addressed? [4:00]
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring. How would you assess the state’s response to the pandemic so far? Has the state not done enough or too much? [5:00]
  3. Over the past two weeks the U.S. Department of Labor says more than 32,000 initial jobless claims have been filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What policies will you support as a statehouse representative to help businesses recover from the pandemic and get Kansans back to work? [6:45]
  4. A question from reader Seth Graber: “Given the large number of households that are homeschooling their kids this year, and potentially in future years too, is it fair to continue to send all property taxes from these homeschoolers 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?” [8:55]
  5. Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid? If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of Federal funds, the loss of hospitals, especially in rural areas, and increasing numbers of Kansans without health insurance? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say it will cost too much? [11:15]

    Brandon Woodard
  6. Another reader question, slightly modified: “Please discuss your positions on current gun laws in Kansas. In your opinion, what is the balance between safety and 2nd Amendment rights?” [12:55]
  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. 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? [14:15]
  8. Another reader question from Kay Heley in Overland Park: “Name 2 measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.” [16:40]
  9. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing movement for social justice and police accountability? [18:55]
  10. Do you believe Kansas open records and meetings laws guarantee sufficient transparency of law enforcement in the state? [20:40]
  11. All major cities in Johnson County — including Shawnee — now have explicit legal anti-discrimination protections on the books for LGBTQ residents, when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodation. But there is no such protection at the state level in Kansas. Some opponents of these ordinances say they could infringe on religious freedoms. Where do you stand on having statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Kansans? [21:40]
  12. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. Please give specific examples. [24:00]

District 39 (Republican Owen Donohoe did not participate)

  1. We have been starting all of our forums off with a version of this question: With politics at the national level monopolizing much of voters’ attention in 2020, what do you think are Kansas’s biggest state-level priorities that need to be addressed? [4:35]
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its seventh month. In Johnson County, new cases continue to rise and the percent-positive rate also suggests that community spread is still occurring, though also acknowledging that not enough testing is being done. 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? [6:39]
  3. In the week ending September 19, the U.S. Department of Labor said more than 17,900 initial jobless claims were filed in the state of Kansas. And according to the Kansas Department of Labor, more than 103,000 Kansans of working age remain without a job. What policies will you support as a statehouse representative to help businesses recover from the pandemic and get Kansans back to work? [8:31]
  4. Would you vote for a bill to expand Medicaid? It’s likely that this issue will come up again in the next legislative session. If not, how do you justify that choice in regard to loss of federal funds, the loss of hospitals … especially in rural areas … and an increasing number of Kansans without health insurance? If yes, how do you respond to critics who say it will cost too much? [10:38]

    Les Lampe
  5. This is a two-part question based on a pair of reader questions. First, do you have kids and, if you do, do they or did they attend public school? And how did you make that decision as a family. Secondly, what is your position on using public money that goes towards private school students, such as school vouchers or tax credits for scholarships that go towards private school tuition? [12:01]
  6. (From a reader) Please discuss your positions on current gun laws in Kansas. In your opinion, what is the balance between safety and Second Amendment rights? [14:18]
  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 sought to explicitly write out of the Kansas Constitution a right to abortion that was enshrined by a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. If you are elected (or re-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? [15:55]
  8. Another reader question: Name 2 measures you will initiate or support to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. [18:10]
  9. Is action needed in the Legislature to ensure that all Kansans are treated fairly at the hands of police and government institutions amid the ongoing movement for social justice and police accountability? What can the legislature do in this regard? [20:10]
  10. In polarized times, please describe what experience or relationships you can point to that show you have an ability to reach out and work with those who might not always agree with you. Please give specific examples. [22:12]