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Archive for Sunday, September 29, 1996

BIG NAMES BATTLE FOR SENATE SEAT LEFT OPEN BY DOLE

September 29, 1996

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Two familiar names are clashing in the race to replace Bob Dole.

The former freshman vs. the novice. The up-and-coming name vs. the legendary name.

Brownback vs. Docking.

Perhaps no other state election will boast better name recognition than the Nov. 5 duel between Sam Brownback, who made headlines as a reform-minded congressional freshman in 1994, and Jill Docking, the first-time candidate with the big-time name.

Each is hoping to replace the top dog of Kansas political figures -- Republican presidential candidate and former state senator Bob Dole.

So who are the players in the name game? Here's a quick look.

Docking, vice president of an investment brokerage firm in Wichita, originally planned to run for Dole's seat in 1998, when she assumed the seat would come open.

She gained her surname 19 years ago, when she married Tom Docking, former Kansas lieutenant governor and 1986 Democratic nominee for governor. Tom Docking's father, Robert, was governor of Kansas from 1969 to 1975; his grandfather, George, was governor from 1957 to 1961.

Jill Docking, 40, defeated former Gov. Joan Finney in the August primary and differs from Brownback in areas such as abortion and education.

She says abortion should remain legally available, while Brownback supports federal restrictions.

The two leading candidates have sparred with each other over education, with Docking slamming Brownback's idea of eliminating the Department of Education. Brownback has accused Docking of being a "liberal" who "wants to defend large government programs."

Reducing federal government was one part of a three-word slogan -- "Reduce, reform and return" -- that Brownback rode into Congress in 1994.

The former Kansas agriculture secretary earned mention in Time magazine and the New York Times for his and other freshmen Congress members' reform efforts, such as a gift ban from lobbyists.

Brownback defeated former Lt. Gov. Sheila Frahm, who was appointed to Dole's seat after the longtime senator resigned to make his presidential bid, in the August primary.

Brownback. Docking. Klaassen?

The third name on the ballot, Donald R. Klaasssen, won't be as well-known to most Kansans.

The 56-year-old Wichita businessman joins the ballot as a Reform Party candidate. A founder of the state Reform Party, he is running on a platform of reducing nonessential governmental functions and reducing taxes.

The following are some questions on the issues facing the next Congress.

What is the best way to balance the budget?

Brownback: We need to restrain spending and grow the economy. As a budget committee member, I helped to produce a specific, fair plan to achieve this.

Docking: We must balance the budget fairly and responsibly. With moderate, bipartisan discipline, we can realistically balance the budget without extreme cuts to Medicare and student loans.

Klaassen: Terminate functions not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, and cut federal taxes financing the programs eliminated. Raise tariffs when needed.

Is the federal government too big?

Brownback: Absolutely, yes. For my efforts to shrink government, I've earned the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's endorsement and an "A" rating from the National Taxpayers' Union.

Docking: Americans want a government that works better and costs less. We must demand greater cost effectiveness. I oppose radical slash and burn approaches to transform government.

Klaassen: Yes. Sixty-five percent of its programs and budget is excessive.

Do you support federal restrictions on abortion?

Brownback: Yes, but I believe primary discretion should be given to state governments. I am also opposed to federal funding of abortion.

Docking: We should make the debate less shrill and encourage adoption, education and family planning. A woman's choice of abortion should remain legally available. I oppose federally funded abortions, except for rape, incest and life of the mother.

Klaassen: No. This is a personal moral issue, not political, and the women in our society have the right to make this decision for themselves.

Do you support easing or stiffening regulations on access to guns?

Brownback: I support effective anti-crime measures like instantaneous background checks for gun purchases and tough mandatory sentences for anyone who commits a crime with any gun.

Docking: We do not need more gun control laws. I support the current restrictions on assault weapons, and implementing a computerized instant background check to supplement the Brady Law, which I strongly support.

Klaassen: I support restricting access to guns for the criminal and unstable population and easing same for law-abiding citizens.

List your top three Congressional priorities:

Brownback: (1) Reduce the federal government by balancing the budget.

(2) Reform the political system with term limits and a comprehensive ban on gifts.

(3) Return to the basic values that built our country like work and family by reforming our welfare system and tax policies.

Docking: (1) Balancing the budget in a fair and responsible manner.

(2) Protecting the future integrity of Social Security.

(3) Preserving the American Dream -- home ownership, college education and safe neighborhoods.

Klaassen: (1) Give taxpayers direct influence over our government.

(2) Protect our jobs, living standard and businesses with pro-America trade agreements versus pro-global.

(3) Reorganize federal government, eliminate non-essential functions, reduce taxes.

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