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Archive for Friday, October 31, 2008

New faces on the ballot in 10th District contest

A look at the Kansas House, District 10 race.

October 31, 2008

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Candidates for the 10th District House of Representatives -Tony Brown, D-Baldwin City, and John Coen, R-Baldwin City - cite their backgrounds as reason to vote for them.

"I honestly think that we have got to try some new ideas in the Kansas Legislature," said Brown, who has been a psychology professor at Baker University for 18 years. "I've tried to find some new ideas in my opponent's platform and they aren't there."

Brown said his record at Baker and four years on the Baldwin City Council "demonstrate that I'm an innovative thinker who bases decisions not on my own personal preferences, but on objective evidence."

Coen, who was a dairy farmer for 18 years prior to joining the staff of Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, two years ago, thinks his time in Topeka favors him.

"I think if I were to draw a distinct line between me and my opponent, it is the experience of having worked in Topeka," said Coen, who has also served on the Ottawa School Board one term and on the Ransom Memorial Hospital board of trustees. "I know Topeka. I know my way around and will hit the ground running."

Coen said although he didn't cast votes in his role as a policy development and constituent services person in Topeka, he saw firsthand how the Legislature works.

Brown cited programs at the university that he helped start, plus his city council work in bringing the mostly state-funded $1.8 million revitalization to downtown Baldwin City as examples of his innovative thinking. He's got similar plans for Topeka.

"I think we've got to continue the trend toward funding K-12 education and higher education, but I'm also convinced that we need to concentrate on early-childhood education," Brown said.

Coen also said education is key.

"It is the biggest budget item at 65 percent," he said. "Just like the bond issue that Baldwin is considering, I will always make sure local boards always have control and the local community always gets to decide."

The second issue both listed was energy.

"Energy is going to be a big thing for the state, insomuch as it dominated last session and, since nothing was decided, it will be again," said Coen, adding he'll promote reliable, renewable and affordable energy.

Brown believes more alternatives are needed.

"Let's get beyond just talking about coal and natural gas," Brown said. Let's have serious discussions about wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear energy in the state of Kansas."

The candidates are seeking the House seat currently held by Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, who opted to run for Senate this year. The district includes south Lawrence, Baldwin City, Ottawa and Wellsville.

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