Q. If elected, what will be your top three priorities for this office?
A. Taxes, education and social services/health care services. The shift of burden of property taxes has been intolerable for groups of taxpayers large and small businesses and homeowners. Education is our largest state expense, and the most important investment we make in our future. I have a strong education background, and I will put my experience to work in that area, for our university and our public schools. I would certainly support legislation which would provide opportunities for quality health care. I would strongly support legislation to pursue federally funded programs which might provide the health care services needed in our state.
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. Yes. We rely too heavily on the property tax for funding. To resolve the current property tax problem, we should: resolve appraisal errors. Review exemptions. Too may holes in the tax code mean some pay too little while others pay too much. Re-evaluate the current property classification laws using new valuation information. Former Lt. Gov. Tom Docking's original plan would be a good starting point, wherein property tax exemptions were limited and a phase-in of new valuations was recommended. Might wish to look at mixed taxes (sales tax, income tax).
Q. What restrictions, if any, should be placed on abortion in Kansas?
A. I could not favor placing restrictions on legal and safe abortions for women in Kansas. One of the things we, as Americans, hold most sacred, is the right to our freedom of choice. Laws will prevent neither pregnancies nor abortions. Instead, appropriate education of the responsibilities of sexuality, child birth and parenting should be stressed.
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. The Legislature should closely monitor the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services programs. Some of the funding shortfall is due to the growing number of people living in poverty. We must make greater efforts to expand programs to help people find a way to live more independently. Cost of services have also contributed to SRS budget problems. Those providing services should be closely monitored to assure that costs are reasonable and service is of the highest quality.
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. Adequate funding. I support continued funding of the Margin of Excellence program to maintain high educational standards in our universities and to increase faculty salaries. The Margin itself does not guarantee excellence, it only helps us keep pace with our peer institutions. We must not be content with keeping pace, we must try to become the best. That includes maintaining and modernizing our university facilities and equipment to provide a favorable environment for teaching and research. Most importantly we must remember that the key to a quality university is hiring and keeping outstanding faculty and staff, and recruiting and nurturing outstanding students.