Topeka 7:20 p.m.
State Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, is switching hats, so to speak.
Otto, who drew criticism for a “RedNeck Rap” video that he put on You Tube that criticized President Barack Obama, said Wednesday he will post another video that says nice things about the president.
On the original video, Otto blasted Obama while wearing a hat that says “OPOSSUM the other Dark Meat.” Critics said the reference was racist, while Otto said he was referring to his own “hillbilly heritage.”
Otto said he would post a new video next week praising Obama for trying to help the elderly.
Otto had lunch Wednesday with activist Sonny Scroggins at a downtown cafe. Scroggins had been critical of Otto’s video. Otto said he won’t apologize for it.
The Kansas Republican Party is taking aim at the federal stimulus plan and U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, for voting for it.
Despite the $787 billion package, the GOP said on Wednesday that Kansas still suffers with an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent.
State Republican Party Chair Amanda Adkins put out a statement, saying, “Kansans deserve more than empty promises from Dennis Moore about unemployment in our Great State.
“They understand that creating a pro-growth platform does not rest on government spending. Our economy will only grow when businesses become stronger which will happen by lowering the tax burden and setting policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurism.”
Responding to the criticism, Moore, whose district includes east Lawrence, defended his vote, saying the economy would have been worse without passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“A year ago, we were facing one of the most severe economic situations our country has ever seen and I don't like to think where we would be now if our economy had been allowed to continue to plunge,” Moore said.
“Thanks to the ARRA, our country has saved one million jobs, including 250,000 education jobs, and that’s with only 50 percent of funds obligated so far.”
Gov. Mark Parkinson was getting press coverage during his trade visit to Taiwan.
Parkinson opened the first Taiwan International Green Industry Show and said he hoped Taiwan and Kansas would work together to develop renewable energy, according to the Taiwan News.
The media outlet reported: The U.S. governor also suggested that Taiwan's engineers and researchers should work on improving the storage of electricity, an area in which the U.S. is being left behind.
“If someone can make a breakthrough in battery storage, that will revolutionize the use of wind power, making it much more prominent across the world,” Parkinson said.