Budget

The Kansas budget as passed by the Governor and extremist legislators in Topeka is structurally imbalanced. We have no steady stream of revenue to pay our bills. The Brownback administration and the legislative branches have created the largest debt in the history of our state by allowing over 300,000 Kansans to pay NO state income taxes. We have reduced others’ income tax and increased sales tax (the largest tax increase in State history), and yet we STILL cannot pay the state’s bills.

We need a source of revenue that keep us from “borrowing” from other sources, such as money already earmarked for schools, public universities, roads, state departments, and the Early Children’s Education fund. If you elect me to represent you in Topeka, I will roll up my sleeves and get to work so that we can fund our K-12 schools, stop sweeping from the transportation fund, pay KPERS, and have adequate reserve funds for emergencies, all by FIXING THE BUDGET FIRST!

If elected, I will work to see that all Kansans pay for the government services they use, and that those services are of the caliber that we have all come to expect. It starts with a revenue stream to fix our budget with more than one-time money.

Shawnee Mission Northwest Candidate Forum

If you would like to hear me talk about the issues, this brief video, recorded at the Shawnee Mission Northwest Candidate forum, touches on several of the issues that are very important to me.

Education

As outlined by the Kansas Constitution, the Legislature MUST adequately fund education services. Since 2012, there has been a steady stream of assaults on this basic function of the Kansas government by extremist legislators and the governor. As a former PTA president and mother of two sons in public school, this is unacceptable. The Brownback tax cuts have led to freezes in funding, supply shortages in classrooms, and bigger class sizes, which mean more difficult learning environments for students and teachers.  Through it all, however, Shawnee Mission, Olathe, and DeSoto districts’ students continue to excel. Why are we making it more difficult for them to do so? Teacher and parents know more about what their children need in order to be successful, not legislators. This is why I am a firm believer in local control of schools.

Not only do we have the obligation to fund K-12 education, but our state is blessed with seven excellent public universities. These universities and the graduates they produce add millions of dollars annually to our state’s economy. For example, according to the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR), it is estimated the KBOR system produced approximately $7.3 billion in overall impacts, $3.4 billion in wages and salary impact, 95,327 additional jobs, and $485 million in state and local tax collections in the year 2010. In terms of rate of return, $1 in state tax support resulted in $11.94 in economic activity. If we invest in higher education, aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, and professionals will flock to Kansas schools from neighboring states, all because of the lower tuition that can be afforded with more public funding.

If you give me your vote on August 2nd, I will work to protect the funding of our schools and universities!

Transportation

One million dollars a day. This is the amount of money contractors lose when the legislature sweeps funding from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). Those 1 million dollars represent jobs lost, revenue wasted, road deteriorating and lives less safe.

We must stop sweeping transportation funds to fill budget gaps.

Local Control

While Governor Brownback and the extremist legislators’ failed economic experiment has left Kansas in ruins, our local city councils and local governments have stood for you as they have worked to maintain the AAA bond rating, grow jobs, and maintain quality of life amenities that keep people moving here. Keeping government accountable starts with keeping government local. We need legislators in Topeka who understand that.

Johnson County remains the only county in the state to have a net increase in jobs, thanks to local leaders and the voters who elected them to do just that! Studies have shown city governments to be the most efficient government, not to mention the most accessible. Tell Topeka to listen to Kansas Common Sense, which knows local government is the best government!

Accountability and Transparency

The people of Kansas deserve representatives, who listen to them and respect them. I have, like many other Kansans, been either ignored or treated in a condescending way when I’ve voiced my concerns. This is not representation! I want not only to offer an alternative in positions to my opponent, but also an alternative in tone and demeanor. I grew up in the Southeastern US (Virginia and Tennessee) and from there learned a strong sense of hospitality couple with a sense of justice. When elected, I will work in the light of day both in Topeka and at home to ensure transparency. Kansans deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent and hear about it from me. I will continue my Sykes Sunday Sessions – monthly listening sessions to be accountable to voters, continue to respond to email, and be more than happy to hear and listen to your concerns on the phone or over coffee.