Kansas House candidate Tom Sloan chats about upcoming election

Republican Tom Sloan chats about his race for the 45th Kansas House district. Sloan, an incumbent, faces Democrat John Wilson.


Mr Sloan,

This last legislative session you were contacted by hundreds of people in your district, begging you to STOP more coal plants from being built. (Other Lawrence reps have said that they got about 700 “NO” calls/emails for every “Yes”) Yet every single vote, you ignored your constituency and voted in line with the republican leadership and the monied corporations. As a result, healthcare and education didn’t even get addressed. Why in the world should any of us believe you won’t just do the same thing all over again


Hello and welcome to this LJWorld.com Election 2008 chat. I’m Online editor Jonathan Kealing and I’ll be your moderator today. We have with us Tom Sloan, who’s running for re-election to the 45th Kansas House district. Welcome Tom and thanks for joining us.

Tom Sloan

Thank you Jonathan. It is always a pleasure to participate in conversations with Lawrence and Douglas County residents.


We have a number of questions already but we’re still looking for more. If you have a question, please submit it.


We’ll go right into questions…


What do you want first time voters and new voters to your district to know about you?

Tom Sloan

Lindsey, I encourage all voters to look at my full record of support for sustainability, education, technological advancement in the delivery of healthcare services, and more. I have introduced and passed more legislation promoting wind and other renewable energies than any other KS legislator. I am the leading legislator promoting programs to extend the productive lives of the state’s drinking water lakes and the large Corps of Engineer reservoirs. I am the leading legislator working to increase conservation easement funding to preserve open space from future development.

As Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, I led efforts to increase funding for vocational-technical programs, in addition to increases in state assistance for students attending four-year schools. I also increased state education assistance to members of the Kansas National Guard.

I also am chairing a Telemedicine Task Force to address insurance coverage issues related to healthcare monitoring of patients with chronic conditions from their homes.


Do you think roger pine should pay back all the consultant money he paid himself and his family from drainage district

Tom Sloan


I have not examined the Drainage District minutes to know whether payments were appropriately approved by the other Board Members. Nor have I examined the District’s records to determine whether the work authorized and paid for by the Board actually was performed. The issue of whether competitive bids were necessary is one for attorneys to determine.

Because I do not have enough information, I am not in a position to answer your question with a yes or no. From reports in the LJW, it is my understanding that the other two Board members approved all expenditures.


You claim to support Kansas renewable energy, yet you voted for two huge, polluting coal-fired power plants whose energy would be largely owned and used by out of state utilities – why?

Tom Sloan

littleindia15c, The House of Representatives’ members voted on 3 separate bills related to energy issues. Each time the bills were in the Energy & Utilities Committee, I added as many renewable energy incentives, requirements on new and existing power plants, scientist-based advisory committee to advise legislators and the Governor, and other amendments as possible. When the first bill was debated by the full House, the Speaker orchestrated the removal of my amendments (things like requiring existing coal-fired plants to do carbon capture/mitigation; requiring any new plants to have lower SOx, NOx, and mercury emissions than permitted by EPA), I voted NO on the coal plants.

When my amendments were included in the second and third bills, I voted Yes on the renewable incentives. The amendments that I offered were items that I have been unable to pass as stand alone legislation.

Senators Obama and McCain both endorse the concept of 20% of the nation’s energy coming from wind. I have worked for that goal for many years and serve on several national committees whose objectives are to increase wind energy.

The proposed coal plants would have been the cleanest in the nation and the first to actually have any carbon capture capability. The energy exported to two cooperatives in Colorado and Texas would have paid for the construction of the part of the plants serving Kansans and the annual administration fees paid Sunflower would have permitted Sunflower to replace two 50+ year old natural gas turbines that have great difficulty following the wind load.

The high voltage transmission lines built to serve the coal plants would have permitted thousands of megawatts of wind generated electricity to be sold in urban areas west, south, and east of Kansas. Without transmission lines, our wind potential cannot be achieved because access to the markets is unavailable. I organized 5 annual Kansas Electric Transmission Summits involving federal, regional,and state stakeholders to advance the development of transmission lines in KS. We are ahead of other midwestern states, but still several years away from actually constructing necessary lines.


Representative Sloan:

It appears that CO2 will be become a regulated greenhouse gas very soon. Given the probable increase of Democrats in the Senate in Washington and the probability of the U.S. entering into a climate agreement with the rest of the world-what is the near-term (decade or less) futre of new coal generation in America and Kansas?

Tom Sloan

belexus73, Coal will remain an important fuel for generating electricity, in Kansas, the U.S., and around the world. Existing coal-fired plants will continue to produce electricity and emissions. I actually introduced a bill this past session to require all KS electric utilities to combine their baseload, intermittent, and renewable energy needs so that one coal-fired plant could be constructed per the Governor’s recommendation and responsible renewable energy generation and transmission lines built. My effort to find a responsible middle ground that would result in reliable, affordable, and responsible generation was opposed by the utility companies, as well as both Rs and Ds.

The future for coal-burning generation is in capturing all emissions, separating the water vapor, and sequestering the pollutants. Last fall I participated in a National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL is one of our professional, non-partisan educational organizations) workshop on advanced coal technologies. When I returned from that workshop, I shared all of the materials with the Dept. of Health & Environment and the Governor’s staff.

Carbon capture is possible today, but the cost is significant. Researchers at Kansas universities have an opportunity to lead the nation in capture-sequestration efforts. I am serving as the only state legislator on a U.S. Dept. of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee charged with making policy recommendations to the next Administration. My primary work has been on identifying strategies to remove impediments to the development of renewable generation and high voltage transmission lines. I also have helped edit the section on promoting research on energy storage facilities to address the intermittent nature of renewable generation (wind, solar).


Just a reminder that we’re still taking reader submitted questions. Tom, I know you’ve been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to extend Clinton Lake’s lifespan. Tell us about that.

Tom Sloan

The Corps of Engineers designed and constructed Clinton, Perry, Milford, Tuttle, and the other large Kansas reservoirs to last 100 years before they filled with sediment. Most of those reservoirs are now 50 or more years old and the Corps has not had a plan to extend their lives. Last year’s water crisis in Atlanta demonstrates why planning and acting to extend the flood control, drought protection, drinking water supply, and recreational opportunities is so important.

Twice in the past year I have hosted the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) for meetings with Kansas water agency heads. Together we identified a strategy to begin the necessary work to extend the productive lives of the reservoirs. This past Thursday, the Regional and District Corps of Engineers representatives, Kansas water agency staffs, and I agreed on a proposal to submit to Congress so that we can move forward. The proposal is to change the way the Corps operates the reservoirs and will identify ways the Corps and Kansas can collaboratively invest.


What about work you’ve done in the telecommunications field?

Tom Sloan

As our readers may recall, I have been leading efforts to expand distance education and telemedicine capabilities in Kansas. Most people are familiar with distance education in which a teacher in Lawrence would teach physics to students in Hoxie, KS via television/Internet connections. Sunflower Broadband makes available to Lawrence schools the ability to provide and receive content/instruction. For example, Deerfield School, through the Greenbush organization in Girard, KS, can receive programming prepared by NASA on space exploration and the solar system. My work has been to expand the number of school districts that can bring the world to the classroom more effectively.

Distance education has the potential to be far more. Adults can enroll in classes from any university connected to the Internet. The University of Nebraska-Omaha offers most pharmacy school classes over the Internet; Ft. Hays State University offers classes in China and to U.S. Navy sailors around the world. Individual educational opportunities are unlimited with access to high speed Internet services. Certainly the Lawrence school system and the alternative education opportunities we provide are examples of what is possible. The goal is to extend those opportunities to all Kansans.

Telemedicine is the delivery of health care monitoring services via the Internet/television. Based on the work of the Telemedicine Task Force that Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger created and I now Chair, insurance coverage of hospital-hospital consultations will be provided. My vision is for persons with chronic health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) who need regular monitoring can have that done from their homes – rather than make trips to the doctor’s office or hospital. High speed Internet service makes the capability feasible, my goal is to ensure that insurance companies pay for these cost-effective services.


We’re running out of time, but are there any last thoughts you’d like to add?

Tom Sloan

Only to thank you and our readers for your interest and to invite people to check my web site, tomsloan2008.com, or contact me whenever they have information to better enable me to represent the best long term interests of our community and state.


Thanks, Tom. Coming up we have State Sen. Roger Pine. Also coming up today is Kansas State Representative candidate Tony Brown. Tomorrow, Tom Sloan’s opponent, John Wilson, will be chatting. Get your questions in!