Two political newcomers are vying for the Republican Party nomination to try to defeat the longest-serving member of the Kansas Legislature, Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.
Casey Moore of Topeka and Matthew Windheuser of Lawrence are the GOP contenders in the Aug. 7 primary for Kansas Senate District 19.
The winner faces Hensley, a 35-year member of the Legislature and leader of the Senate Democrats.
Senate District 19 includes eastern Topeka, western Douglas County and all of Osage County.
Both Moore, 35, and Windheuser, 23, are running for political office for the first time. Windheuser had originally filed to run against Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, but the redistricting plan ordered by a three-judge panel put more of Douglas County in District 19 and threw Windheuser’s residence into that district.
Moore, a commodity trader who has lived in Topeka since 2006, said he wants to reduce government spending and cut taxes.
The candidates outlined their positions on several topics during recent interviews and public forums.
Windheuser, who is unemployed, has said he wants a comprehensive review of state spending on public schools.
When asked whether he would work to restore cuts made to schools in recent years, Windheuser said he thought schools needed less money than they are receiving now. Moore said he thought the money schools receive now should be spent more efficiently.
On the issue of taxes, some have expressed concern that the tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback will short funds to schools and social services in future years.
Moore expressed support for the tax cuts that reduce income tax rates and eliminate income taxes on nonwage income for businesses.
“Ideally, I would like no income tax,” Moore said. He said lower taxes will boost the economy and create jobs.
Windheuser said he disagreed with Moore’s desire to eliminate income taxes because it is a major funding source for the state.
“Eliminating it would be an almost insurmountable challenge,” he said.
Both Moore and Windheuser said they would oppose the expansion of Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal government has promised to fund all of the expansion costs for the first three years and 90 percent after that.
Windheuser said he is prepared to work in the Senate after having had a chance to serve as an intern to Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, in 2009.
“I love this, and I really want to do this,” he said.
Moore said his engineering background and experience as a project manager has taught him how to budget and manage people.
— Statehouse reporter Scott Rothschild can be reached at 785-423-0668.