Archive for Thursday, October 24, 2002

House race attracts accessible candidates

October 24, 2002

We had an unusual experience when the two candidates for the 32nd Kansas House District unexpectedly came into the office at the same time. There was something hopeful and endearing about the experience. Neither man, Eudora Democrat Carlie Abel nor Olathe Republican Rob Boyer, was accompanied by an entourage, urging him to wrap things up and move on to his next appointment, as is often the case when politicians visit newsrooms.

And unlike many of those nearer the top of the ticket for their respective parties, both candidates have their egos in check. The two men are genuinely pleasant to be around. They must think so, too, because they engaged in a prolonged conversation in the office that continued on the sidewalk out front.

It does cost money to run for the Kansas House, but at that level the stakes of power haven't corrupted the system. For the most part, we elect citizen representatives to the House. No one running for a House seat would spend $400,000 of his or her own money, as a candidate for the new Johnson County Commission Chair is doing.

The most effective way to campaign for a Kansas House seat is to go door-to-door. Candidates attend parades, festivals, Chamber of Commerce dinners, school events and other functions that afford valuable face-to-face opportunities with voters. This means the candidates are accessible. We have the opportunity to voice our concerns.

The winner of this relatively humble campaign will be called on to make critical decisions as the Legislature deals with the ongoing budget crisis and its consequences on education and care for the elderly and disabled. The winning candidate will assume a leadership position on the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant redevelopment, which is moving toward transfer from federal hands despite the stubborn inaction of the last three years.

As we have said, the candidates are accessible. Eudora voters should take advantage of that fact and tell them what they think and let them know they will watch what the winner does in Topeka the next two years.

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