Archive for Thursday, October 24, 1996

PRAEGER HAS GOALS FOR NEXT TERM

October 24, 1996

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Republican Sandy Praeger is seeking a second four-year term to the Kansas Senate.

Health care, children's issues and property taxes.

State Sen. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, wants to take her experience back to Topeka next January to work on those issues.

"With all of the devolution of federal programs back to the states, such as welfare and health care, I just feel like there will be a lot of challenges at the state level and we will need experienced legislators," Praeger said.

Praeger has represented the Kansas Senate's 2nd District since 1992. The district covers the city of Lawrence, all of Grant, Eudora and Wakarusa townships and part of Palmyra Township in eastern Douglas County.

Praeger faces Democrat Chris O'Brien, a Kansas University student who merely put his name on the ballot to give voters a choice.

Praeger had raised more than $40,000 for her re-election bid by the end of July, expecting a tougher race.

She had expected a Republican pro-life conservative to run against her in the primary because of her pro-choice stand and her moderate views on property tax reform.

But none stepped forward.

Since O'Brien is merely putting his name on the ballot, Praeger said she hasn't campaigned very hard, except to put out campaign signs and newspaper advertisements.

Praeger served in the Kansas House for two years before winning her Senate seat.

In 1992, Praeger, a former Lawrence mayor, received 59 percent of the vote when she ran against Democrat Joyce Wolf and Libertarian Roger Woods.

Praeger said one of her legislative accomplishments this year was to help craft the compromise bill on school finance and property taxes approved by the Legislature.

She and others put together a plan that begins phasing out the statewide property tax for schools next year but increases the amount of state funding schools get by $24 per pupil.

"We had been in a deadlock and the extremes on both sides had said we're not going to give," Praeger said.

Property taxes, she predicted, will be the key issue during the 1997 session.

Praeger said she wants to be re-elected to work on instituting the new federal welfare reforms.

"I want to ensure that those who absolutely need assistance still receive the assistance and that those who can work are given the kind of guidance that helps them get jobs that will keep them off the welfare roles," she said.

She also wants to continue to work on health care system reform, and said the federal Kassebaum-Kennedy health care reform bill will mean some technical changes in Kansas law.

"We still need to find opportunities for small business and individuals to purchase affordable health coverage," she said. "It's not enough to say it's available when it's priced so high that people can't afford it."

Praeger now chairs the Senate's Public Health and Welfare Committee.

She also is a member of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and the Federal and State Affairs Committee. She also chairs the Joint Health Reform Oversight Committee and serves on the Joint Children and Families Committee.

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