Republicans vie to unseat Sen. Holland in 3rd District

Rep. Anthony Brown and J.C. Tellefson think the newly drawn Kansas Senate 3rd District needs new blood and hope to unseat Democratic Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City.

Brown was motivated by his sense that voters in the 3rd District were unhappy with their current state senator.

“They felt for the last four years they had been underrepresented,” Brown said of his interactions with voters in Leavenworth and Douglas counties.

Tellefson, a former Leavenworth County commissioner who lives in Leavenworth, thinks he better represents the district, which includes small communities and two college towns: Lawrence and Baldwin City.

“It’s my job to listen to and represent all the constituents,” Tellefson said. “I think I’m in the best position to do that. And get us further down the road.”

Redistricting had placed Brown, who was first elected to the House in 2004 from the 38th District, in the same House district as another Republican incumbent, TerriLois Gregory, causing him to ponder a leap to the Senate (Gregory has since moved to another district).

Brown said his main concern as a state senator would be improving the economic fortunes of Kansas families.

“Sometimes they’re underemployed, or they’re missing full-time employment, or they’re working two different jobs,” Brown said. “That’s tough for a family to depend on that kind of income.”

Tellefson said he is concerned with the economy, but isn’t sure Gov. Brownback’s income tax cuts are the way to go, a measure Brown supports.

“It’s going to take unprecedented growth, though, for it to work out,” Tellefson said. “I’m in the position that I’m hopeful. But we need to be prepared. We need to cut spending.”

Tellefson also supports a property tax exemption for people on fixed incomes, especially elderly Kansans.

“We can’t just transfer expenses,” Tellefson said. “We’ve got to cut spending so that we don’t increase the burden on property owners.”

The newly drawn 3rd Senate District covers parts of Leavenworth and Douglas counties, including Basehor, Tonganoxie, Eudora, Baldwin City and about one-third of Lawrence’s population.