They say all politics is local.
Video from Wednesday’s forums will be available on LJWorld.com and On Demand at Sunflower Broadband.
The Voter Education Coalition is sponsoring a second forum at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall to cover the 1st District Douglas County Commission race, the 1st District Kansas State Board of Education race and the Lawrence Public Library bond vote. That forum will be broadcast live on Sunflower Broadband Channel 25 and streamed live on LJWorld.com.
That was the case at Wednesday’s voter education forum at City Hall. Several candidates for local Kansas House seats came face-to-face with voters to discuss issues such as the economy, education and health care.
Democrat Linda Robinson and her Republican competitor Tom Sloan laid out their plans for Kansas’ 45th District and why they should represent Lawrence residents at the Statehouse.
”I will bring strong, effective leadership to Topeka for the things we value here in Douglas County,” Robinson said. Sloan, who is seeking his ninth term in the Kansas House of Representatives, expressed optimism despite a grim economy. “The tough financial times we’re in should not lead us to stop investing in our future.”
Both candidates said that investment starts with improving public education in Kansas.
“This year in Lawrence we had to raise our class size and cut teachers,” Robinson said. “What we need to do is fund the constitutional requirement and adequately provide for education for our students across the state.”
Sloan spoke openly about the tough decision facing voters and lawmakers when it comes to education. “The Legislature and the voters have to decide whether they want higher taxes or they want to eliminate other programs.”
The forum then turned to health care. Sloan said investing in technology could create a more effective health care delivery system in Kansas. Robinson said correcting unfair tax exemptions would curtail cuts to programs such as Medicaid.
On the economy, both candidates agreed that the state’s potential to be a major player in renewable energy could spur job growth. They also discussed additions to the state’s railroad system as another way to create jobs.
Democrat Tony Brown, the incumbent in the 10th District, also attended the forum. Brown’s opponent, Terri Lois Gregory, a Republican, declined an invitation.
A second forum Wednesday featured Democrat Roberta Eveslage, a candidate in the 38th District. Rep. Anthony Brown, the Republican incumbent in the 38th District, did not respond to phone calls or e-mails about the event. Candidates in the 53rd District, incumbent Democrat Ann Mah and Republican L.W. Abney, also participated.
The event was organized by the Lawrence Voter Education Coalition. Organizers said it gives voters a chance to learn more about the people seeking their votes.
“All of these races are directly impacting the community and you can’t always get out to visit with the candidates,” said VEC co-chair Pattie Johnston.
“This way you can at least hear some of the questions. You can hear their answers. You can also see how they handle themselves and that makes a difference too.”
A second forum will be held on Monday at City Hall.