Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brown, Kelton vie to represent 38th House District

October 30, 2008

One is the incumbent, a small-businessman and former teacher who wants to make his home district the best place to do business and raise a family.

The other is an economist who has published dozens of articles on public policy issues.

Both want to be elected to represent the 38th Kansas House District, a district that stretches from Johnson County to northeastern Douglas County. It includes southwestern areas of Shawnee.

Anthony Brown, the Republican incumbent from Eudora, has represented the district since 2005. Challenging him is Stephanie Kelton, an associate professor of economics at University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Democrat from Lawrence.

Brown says being a lifelong resident of the area is part of what makes him most qualified for the job.

“I am a business owner and when the economy is slow, our family feels the crunch too. I want desperately to make this the single best place not only to do business but to raise a family,” he said.

“My wife and I have five kids attending public schools and we want to make sure they have the best education experience possible. Being a former teacher, I know the demands on educators and understand their needs. I strive to find a balance between what we demand from government and what we can afford.”

Kelton draws on her academic and real-life experience as a selling point to voters.

“I have 10 years of experience as an economist who solves public policy problems. … I know many Kansas legislators — Republican and Democrat — and we have already begun discussing the ways in which we can work together to address the projected shortfall in state revenues. Many of them have turned to me because of my moderate stance on the issues, my background in economics, and my commitment to fiscal discipline,” she said.

With budgetary issues likely to be a major topic next year in Topeka, the two opponents had different ideas about where the state budget could be cut.

“The demands of a global economy require an educated workforce, and our most vulnerable citizens — over 340,000 uninsured Kansans — cannot be denied emergency room care,” Kelton said. “While the state has little discretionary freedom when it comes to these types of expenditures, there are things the state can do to reduce spending. We can attack the rising energy costs that are exacting a huge toll on state budgets, and we can pass meaningful health care reform “

“I would first cut the legislative budget and the governor’s budget and then start to look into the Kansas Department of Labor and start downsizing the Kansas Department of Revenue. The Kansas Department of Wild Life and Parks owns a great deal of property, and I would like to see this property returned to the tax rolls and therefore reducing its obligations to maintain the property,” Brown said.

An issue from the 2008 Legislature that’s likely to reignite in 2009 is construction of new coal plants in western Kansas. The two have widely different views on the topic.

Brown supported construction of the plants, despite the opposition of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and her secretary at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

“With energy prices in Kansas raising near 30 percent in the last couple of years, it is time for Kansas to focus on a broad based energy policy, which includes wind, solar, clean coal and even nuclear,” Brown said. “The Holcomb Plant in western Kansas would have created more than 2,000 jobs and brought in $2.2 billion in investments to the state of Kansas.”

Kelton, meanwhile, said she backed the veto. The state, she said, must expand its energy portfolio beyond its reliance on coal-fired electricity.

“I strongly believe that we can (and must) take steps to develop a stable, comprehensive energy policy in Kansas. Right now, Kansas relies on coal to meet 75 percent of its energy needs — and 100 percent of that coal must be transported by rail from Wyoming to Kansas. … I believe that we are vulnerable because our energy portfolio is not well-diversified.”

For more on the candidates’ answers, go to www.eudoranews.com.

The World Company invited all candidates to participate in an online chat. Anthony Brown declined to participate

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