Q. If elected, what will be your top three priorities for this office?
A. The number one issue in my district is property taxes. The people I have talked with going door-to-door are fed up with the way things were handled during the reappraisal. Many are devastated with the increase they received, particularly those living in older homes. Frequently they find they are unable to afford the assessed rate.
The second issue I hear most about is schools. Several districts are facing a bond issue this November. Obviously each district has its own particular set of circumstances but the bottom line again is taxes.
I am particularly concerned about the medically indigent and the rising cost of health care insurance. Medical bills are a big portion of the budget for the elderly and disadvantaged.
Q. Do you support action on the part of the state to reduce property taxes? How would you propose to make up lost revenues if property taxes are reduced?
A. I don't think the current Legislature has shown any relief for the taxpayers and the property tax burden that was created with reappraisal and classification. I would support broadening the tax base to give relief. There are a number of ways that can be achieved. One plan that was proposed by the current Legislature but was never able to be passed was the restoration of the inventory tax. I would support this proposal but would also like to see an exemption for small business for perhaps the first $100,000 worth of inventory.
Q. What restrictions, if any, should be placed on abortion in Kansas?
A. None. I do not believe the Legislature should be making decisions regarding what a woman may or may not do with her body. I feel this decision is a personal issue which must be decided by the woman, given her particular set of circumstances. Obviously the woman has her own moral standards and own preferences. This is where the decision should lie not in the Legislature by some mandated piece of legislation.
Q. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is facing increased demands on its resources. How will the state be able to handle those demands? Do you think added tax revenues are needed, do you think eligibility requirements for some services need to be tightened, do you think some programs need to be eliminated or do you think no changes are needed?
A. I think SRS is an area of our government that we place increasing demands on, and these demands take money to implement. Obviously the budget for SRS is high. There may be some way to reorganize the agency to make it more cost effective and I believe this is presently being studied. SRS serves a vital function for our state and with the increasing demands placed on the agency, we must find a way to achieve what we want from the agency, in the most cost effective way.
Q. What do you think is the most pressing problem facing state universities? Do you think state universities are adequately funded, particularly in regard to faculty salaries?
A. Probably the most pressing problem facing universities is funding. The Margin of Excellence program was intended to bring our state universities up to their peer universities. The third year funding for this program is essential. I believe we should not stop with a goal of simply bringing the universities up to that level but should strive for excellence and look for ways to surpass those peer universities. You cannot expect to attract the highest quality professors at a less than average wage.