Archive for Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Holland’s record point of contention

Lorenzo blasts performance; incumbent stands behind it

October 20, 2004


Rep. Tom Holland, a Democrat from Baldwin, is running for re-election touting his record. His Republican opponent, political newcomer Rich Lorenzo, of Lawrence, is blasting it.

The two face off in the Nov. 2 general election to represent the district that stretches from southeast Douglas County to northeast Franklin County and includes south Lawrence, Baldwin, Wellsville and north Ottawa.

In his rookie term, Holland won passage of an overhaul of the franchise tax that eliminated the levy for 10,000 businesses and reduced it for an additional 21,000.

He also won approval of a budget amendment that prevents state government from outsourcing call centers to foreign countries, as was the case of a contractor for the state welfare agency.

And he has tried to push for tax increases for public schools and authored a proposal that would have penalized companies that knowingly hire illegal aliens.

"I'm running on my record," said Holland, 43-year-old self-employed computer project manager.

But Lorenzo, 30, an investment manager for Berthel, Fisher & Co. Financial Services, also is running on Holland's record, saying the Democrat hasn't done a good job.

"I decided to run because I felt like the district deserved responsible leadership and someone who would go in there and get something done," Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo said Holland's votes to increase taxes for schools were wrong because the school-funding formula needed to be overhauled.

"What Holland did is almost irresponsible, voting to put more money into a system that is broken. Let's fix it and adequately fund it," Lorenzo said.

And Lorenzo said Holland missed 84 votes in the Legislature. "If he's not going to show up, I will," Lorenzo said.

Holland said that in his first year in the Legislature, 2003, he missed several days because he had made a commitment to a client before he decided to run for office to attend some meetings in Washington, D.C.

The House Journal shows him absent April 3-4, 2003, which were the last two days of the regular session when the Legislature was wrapping up business on numerous bills. Holland said his attendance record in 2004 was nearly perfect.

Holland said if re-elected he would work on school funding and improving the accessibility of health insurance.

The Kansas Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the state's $2.7 billion school-finance system. A lower court declared the funding system unconstitutional because it discriminated against minorities and students with disabilities.

Holland said he supported giving schools a long-term funding plan, similar to the way the state has a 10-year highway building plan.

"Then superintendents can look two or three years out and know roughly how much money they can work with," he said.

Lorenzo said, if elected, he would focus his energies on schools and health care.

He said as it was, the school finance system was too complicated and could not be adequately measured.

As a businessman, he said, the increasing cost of health coverage is frustrating. "We need some health care reform," he said.

Rich Lorenzo

Party affiliation: RepublicanDate of birth: Nov. 15, 1973Occupation: Investment manager for Berthel, Fisher & Co.Political experience: NoneFamily: Married, one childReligion: ProtestantAddress: 3001 W. 30th St.Key issues: Rework the school-finance formula and make health insurance more accessible.Education: Degrees in broadcast communications and history from University of South Florida; a law degree and Master of Business Administration from Kansas University.

Tom Holland

Party affiliation: DemocratDate of birth: July 23, 1961Occupation: Self-employed computer project managerPolitical experience: Two years in Kansas HouseFamily: Married, four childrenReligion: ProtestantAddress: 961 East 1600 Road, BaldwinKey issues: Willing to raise taxes for schools and wants to give schools a multiyear budget so they can better plan.Education: Bachelor of Science in business administration from Indiana University and Master of Business Administration from University of Minnesota.

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