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Archive for Thursday, July 11, 1996

DOCKING RUNNING AGAINST TIME IN SENATE RACE

July 11, 1996

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First couple of words then finish out the summary.

"I'm gonna run like hell."

That's how Democrat Jill Docking jokingly describes how she's conducted her campaign for the Democratic nomination for the unexpired U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Bob Dole.

Docking, 40, a Wichita stockbroker and wife of former Lt. Gov. Tom Docking, spent Wednesday campaigning in Lawrence.

She has only 26 days before the Aug. 6 primary to convince Democratic voters they should nominate her for the seat rather than former Gov. Joan Finney.

And about 70 local Democrats had a chance to size up Docking and Finney Wednesday evening when each spoke briefly at a meeting of the local Democratic Party's Truman Club at the Watkins Community Museum of History.

The winner of the Docking-Finney race will face the winner of the Republican race between U.S. Rep. Sam Brownback, Topeka, new U.S. Sheila Frahm, Colby, and Christina Campbell-Kline, Wichita.

Docking, whose husband's father and grandfather were both Democratic governors of Kansas, says she's trying to define herself politically.

"I'm running as fast as I can and getting to as many places as I can," she said in an interview Wednesday afternoon at the Journal-World.

Docking said it's been difficult for her to provide a contrast on the issues with Finney because the former governor has so far declined to debate.

"Our backgrounds are very different, and probably, therefore, our policy-making decisions will be very different," she said.

Docking, who was commanding general of the Kansas Cavalry, a quasi-governmental business recruiting organization, and co-chair of Kansas Inc., said her public service has mainly been in helping the business community.

"I try to use a good, balanced, common-sense approach to the decisions I'm asked to make," she said.

She said she wanted to shift as much government as possible to the states, although she wasn't ready to scrap entire departments.

Although Docking and Finney both spoke at the the Lawrence Democratic meeting, they didn't go head to head on the issues.

Finney, 71, who was state treasurer from 1975 to 1991 when she became governor, spoke about her lifetime of experience. She told the Democrats she knew what it was like to grow up in the Depression and personally understood the economic problems that people have. She said programs started by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt are under threat.

Docking told the gathering that her grandfather was a Polish immigrant and that she was a product of the American dream who was able to earn a degree at Kansas University.

Docking said the 1994 election, which brought Republicans to power in the U.S. House, "made me very nervous. ... We tilted way to the right."

"What we're looking for is an America that is a balanced America," she said.

Also speaking was Democratic State Treasurer Sally Thompson, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Nancy Kassebaum, who is retiring.

Thompson said she is running neck-and-neck with her expected Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Pat Roberts.

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