Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Candidates talk about jobs, health care, schools and tax cuts

Democratic candidates for the 2nd District congressional seat are, from left, Tobias Schlingensiepen, Robert Eye and Scott Barnhart. The winner of the Democratic primary next month will face incumbent Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

Democratic candidates for the 2nd District congressional seat are, from left, Tobias Schlingensiepen, Robert Eye and Scott Barnhart. The winner of the Democratic primary next month will face incumbent Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

July 17, 2012


The three Democrats seeking to represent the 2nd U.S. House District on Monday agreed on most issues, saying that Congress has become beholden to wealthy special interests.

Scott Barnhart of Ottawa, Robert Eye of Lawrence and Tobias Schlingensiepen of Topeka are vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka.

The three candidates participated in a forum co-sponsored by the local Voter Education Coalition and 6News.

The second half of the televised forum featured Republicans in primaries for Kansas Senate Districts 2, 3, and 19, all of which include a portion of Douglas County.

“The politics of obstruction in Washington, D.C., is holding our country back,” said Schlingensiepen, a minister who is on leave during the campaign.

The three candidates also spoke in favor of ways to reduce the influence of money in elections.

“It is time to replace the corporate-controlled elections and put those elections back in the hands of the citizens of the United States,” said Eye, an attorney.

Barnhart, a farmer, also spoke against corporate influence of politics, saying he wanted to pursue policies that benefited the middle class “instead of the millionaires on one side and billionaires on the other side.”

All three said they supported President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Republicans have vowed to repeal.

Barnhart criticized the numerous votes by Republicans in the House to repeal the ACA, saying, “But they don’t bother to have one vote on what they would replace it with.”

Schlingensiepen said the ACA didn’t solve all health care issues, but added, “We need to build on what’s good and solve the problem of rising health care costs.”

Eye called the ACA a “step in the right direction.” He said he met a woman in Fort Scott whose great-grandchild was diagnosed with a tumor. The child’s treatment cost $1.8 million, and insurance covered most of that, but the middle class family faced a 20 percent co-pay. “They had to choose between bankruptcy or health care, and that is not a choice that any family should have to make,” he said.

Eye and Schlingensiepen said they would try to improve the economy by focusing on infrastructure improvement and renewable energy. Barnhart said the government should help small farmers.

Republican side

The state Senate segment of the forum featured four Republican candidates. They were:

  • Ron Ellis of Meriden, who recently retired after 37 years of teaching and is running for GOP nomination in District 2. The other Republican in that race, Jeremy Pierce of Lawrence, has announced he has ended his campaign. The winner will face state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence.
  • James “J.C.” Tellefson of Leavenworth, a former county commissioner who is running for Senate District 3. The other Republican in that race, Anthony Brown of Eudora, cited a scheduling conflict and didn’t participate in the forum. The winner will face state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City.
  • Casey Moore of Topeka and Matthew Windheuser of Lawrence, who are vying for the Republican nod in Senate District 19. The winner will face state Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.

On the issue of the recent tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback, Moore said he would like there to be no state income tax. Windheuser said eliminating the state income tax altogether “would be an almost insurmountable challenge.”

Both Tellefson and Ellis said they had concerns about effect the tax cuts would have on funding state government. Tellefson said he didn’t want the state to push funding problems onto school districts, cities and counties. “That is something that I am going to fight,” he said.

On school funding, Windheuser said less should be spent on schools, and Moore said he wanted to see schools run more efficiently. Ellis said he believed funds that have been cut from schools in recent years should be restored.


DeckDoctors 5 years, 10 months ago

So the Democrat candidates regurgitate the failed Obumble campaign theme? How original and so apropos to our local political needs. None of these people will defeat Lynn Jenkins, but let them waste their time and energy lobbing the same old tired class warfare barbs at the GOP. Money gets behind good ideas, since the Democrats have not good ideas they want money taken out of the equation...typical. They would hope to muffle sound thinking in hopes of fooling the electorate like they did when 'Dear Leader' was elected president.

50YearResident 5 years, 10 months ago

Is this the same Robert (Bob) Eye that has delayed the building of the Southern Bypass for 20 years by filing numerious law suits aginst the project and costing the project hundreds of millions of dollars in extra construction costs? Now he wants to work on the economy by focusing on the infrastructure! If so, don't count on my vote.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

I have to agree. Bob Eye has not shown a lot of respect for the Douglas County taxpayer or to the needs of highway infrastructure. He has cost the state and community tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. If he gets the nomination I will have no choice but to abstain from voting because there is no way in hell that I'll vote for Lynn Jenkins.

always_correct 5 years, 10 months ago

Really? Couldn't you instead frame it as a man who showed dedication to his clients' interests for years. That would seem to show a man who is also likely to be dedicated to his constituents for years. Vote as you wish, but I don't think fighting for those you represent is a unflattering character trait.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

He supposedly took the case on pro bono. He obviously had a personal interest in the outcome. I can only imagine the damage Bob could do if given some real power. No thank you.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

He also abused the legal process with the precise goal of making the entire ordeal as expensive and drawn out as possible. His last appeal, he lost unanimously on every single issue he appealed. His representation was borderline unethical.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

It's not his willingness to fight that is at issue, it's his choice of fights that's bothersome.

KS 5 years, 10 months ago

As long as those folks are paying him, why not? My bet is that if they ran out of money, he would run out of the room. He knew going into the trafficway thing that he could make this part of his careet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Eye is doing the SLT work pro bono-- that means he isn't getting paid.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Building the highway will cost taxpayers money-- at least $50 for every single Kansan, the vast majority of whom will never drive on it. Hell, a large majority of Douglas County residents won't even use very often.

Not building it will cost taxpayers nothing.

You really ought to take a remedial class in addition and subtraction.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

You need a remedial class on basic economics.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

and that's funny coming from a guy that thinks that wasting millions a year on an empty bus system is a good idea. The South Lawrence Trafficway, half built, carries 10,000 times the number of people per month than the M-T ever will.

50YearResident 5 years, 10 months ago

Bozo, You can save yourself a ton of money if you go on a 90 day fast, turn off your electricity, water and gas. Think of the money you will not have to spend. It will cost you nothing. It will be like a remedial class in addition and subtraction.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

you could say that for most roads. So what.

KS 5 years, 10 months ago

bozo: If you believe that, then I want a refund of my tax dollars for interstate roads built in other states that I will NEVER drive on. I want a refund of all of my tax dollars that go for any project that I do not directly use. Please tell me you did not go to KU. If so, I want a refund from there too.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

I was merely correcting Jack, who contends that not building a road costs money. That's clearly illogical.

Clearly4Kansas 5 years, 10 months ago

Vote for Bob Eye! Only he will stop all federal infrastructure and highway spending in and around Lawrence. He will put a stop to the Southern Bypass and he will bury any hope for an eastern bypass in the future. Congressmen have the power to do those types of things.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

Are you campaigning for Bob Eye or against him?

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

"...ACA a step in the right direction."

Lets turn America's Healthcare System over to what ammounts to the DMV. Yeah right...

meggers 5 years, 10 months ago

That sort of hysteria isn't remotely connected to reality.

jj14 5 years, 10 months ago

I watched the forums, and Robert Eye won the debate by FAR. He was EXTREMELY well spoken, and appeared to be the only one who will actually fight for issues. Tobias was a "nice guy" but did not appear to have a backbone. He kept repeating the same things over and over, Eye on the other hand had perfect answers to all the questions.

Steve Stucky 5 years, 10 months ago

Does not Mr. Scott Barnyard, with his black collar shirt over another black shirt, unshaven face, long unkempt dirty hair, bloodshot eyes and scowling face represent the typical 'honk for hemp' lawrenceonian whatever? Why, yes he does. A perfect representative. In fact when I look at the other two and then the individuals I see on Mass there truly isn't any representation other than Barney? Scotty, my boy, you got my vote. Now, go forth and represent.

hipper_than_hip 5 years, 10 months ago

Barney lives outside of Ottawa so that would make him a honk for hemp Ottawaian.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

It says he's a farmer. It doesn't specify a farmer of what. Nice scowl on the face too. I wonder what possessed Scotty to try to run for political office?

CLARKKENT 5 years, 10 months ago


ivalueamerica 5 years, 10 months ago

How humiliating for you to not be able to reply to any actual thoughts or ideas of his, but his admittedly poor clothing choice.

I guess that is all you

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

I think it's generally a good idea look like you mean business if you want people to take you seriously. Comb the hair. Put on a suit. Shave off the sideburns. Scott looks like he's heading to a gig as a bouncer at the bird, not running for a U.S. House of Representative seat.

Jana Rea 5 years, 10 months ago

I attended this forum last night at City Hall expecting it to be slanted with soft lobs to the Democrats and body slam questions for the Republicans. I was pleasantly surprised by the obvious effort at equal handed treatment by those who organized and moderated it. Well done and thank you! This report however falls short of characterizing the evening fairly. I would summarize the evening up differently: The three Democrats running for the 2nd U.S. House District blame Republican “obstructionism” and evil corporations as the culprits causing all national havoc while promising to work together with those of different views if elected. I however found it very disingenuous that none of the panelists and few in the audience stayed to listen to “those of differing views” in the second half of the forum. Instead they stood in the lobby and talked loudly before exiting the building.

In sharp contrast to the Democrats, every one of the Republican candidates in their own way reiterated the fundamental platform premise that “we the people” are the government and that the elected bodies, whether federal, state or local are to be small enough to be responsive to us. This stark difference between the two parties should have been the primary distinction in the coverage (because it was very obvious to those of us who listened to the entirety) rather than to dissipate the debate into the particular weeds of one issue. I believe this will be the determining factor of this election--whether more government will entice the entitlement recipients to turn out in droves or whether the backbone of American enterprise can stand up again and throw this yoke of oppressive government off of the backs of our children and grandchildren.

Therefore, I encourage readers to visit for replay broadcasts and watch the coverage for yourself. Get the whole story.

Megan King 5 years, 10 months ago

I also watched the forum entirely and thought similarly. How can the democrats running for this seat say something so opposite in premise to the republicans, and then pretend they are going to reach across the isle and some how meet in the middle? This is the most devided I have ever experienced our nation thanks to our great devisive leader. Let's hope the backbone of America decides to stand up and defend the Republic!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Well, you certainly demonstrated the ability to see these proceedings through your wholly ideological lens.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

"Therefore, I encourage readers to visit for replay broadcasts and watch the coverage for yourself."

I didn't find any links to this event. Do you have a link?

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