Taxes: We need taxes in order to function as a complex, interdependent society. Taxes must be fair and not regressive. The big question is that of balance. We need to constantly look at making government more efficient in order to control the natural escalation of costs. We must also make sure that we maintain and adequately fund our key priorities. Taxpayers, which is all of us, have limits to what they can pay, yet they have expectations for good roads, schools, and the myriad of state services that often sustain fragile lives. My job as a legislator will be one of constantly listening, evaluating, and analyzing what the right balance must be between key programs and the taxpayer’s ability to pay.
Education: Education is my number one priority. We must invest in our young people so they have the skills and compassion to be solid, productive citizens. We face a growing crisis in being able to recruit, train, and retain quality teachers and administrators in Kansas. We must find ways to make state education more efficient and to reward the education profession at all levels, K-12, Tech College, and University levels so that we continue to be in the top 10
states in the nation in educational quality.
Small Business: We must find ways to encourage and support our economy in order to solve our state and local financial problems. Free enterprise and small business growth also is a strong motivator for excellence and economic growth. Support for the engines that run our economy and appropriate governmental tax policy and regulation are essential for our long-term economic health.
People: I believe that the role of government is to protect its citizens and to create opportunity so that all have the chance to be successful. Our economy is complex and is a wonderful combination of free enterprise and government partnership and regulation. The despicable conduct of situations like Enron shakes my awareness that business without oversight can lead to greed, cheating, and exploitation of stockholders and workers.
Two Party System: Kansas has seen a long-term in-balance between our two major parties. I am running, in part, because I believe some of the problems we are facing at the state level relate to inadequate discussion of important issues and alternatives, particularly with the state budget. A better balance between both parties yields deeper discussions, more options, and better long-term planning and legislation. As a Democrat, I think I can better represent Manhattan/Ogden by building cooperative relationships within my party and between Republicans.
Quality of Life: I believe the mark of a noble and functional society is how well it addresses the needs of its children, its elderly, and its disabled. The legislature must provide a voice for those who are often not heard or ignored. The will of the majority is clearly an important consideration. Yet, compassion for those in need must also carry significant weight. We have the ability to take care of our children, our elderly and our disabled. Do we have the will?
Justice: The work of the legislature is primarily of making, modifying or repealing laws. In my view, we have too many laws and often resort to complicated laws as a quick way to address problems. That is a sign of a regressive society. Instead, we must look at creating a just society with a moral code of fairness. I hope that I might be a voice for justice as a legislator and help to streamline modern life, rather than complicating it to the point that justice is hard to determine.