Archive for Saturday, March 24, 2012

Redistricting battle pits Chamber of Commerce, governor vs. moderates

Democrats call actions an ‘unprecedented intrusion’ into the Legislature

March 24, 2012


— Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce are pressuring the state Senate to adopt a redistricting map that could produce a much more conservative Senate.

“For years, the left wing of the Republican Party has held power in the Senate,” stated an email from Ivan Crossland, chairman of the Kansas Chamber Political Action Committee, to senators.

“Those in control are grasping to hang to their power while it is seemingly slipping from their hands as voters become more attuned to their liberal voting record of overspending and overtaxing,” Crossland said.

Last week, Crossland and Brownback contacted legislators urging them to vote against a redistricting map called Ad Astra that was approved by the Senate redistricting committee.

After a bruising debate in the Senate, the process stalled, and senators will again tackle the issue this week. After each 10-year census, the Legislature redraws legislative, congressional and State Board of Education boundaries to accommodate population changes.

The Ad Astra map drew district lines in a way that placed declared challengers to moderate Republicans in other Senate districts, Crossland said.

“We strongly urge you to vote ‘NO’ on the Ad Astra map and all other maps that draw out these announced opponents. It is a vote against Kansas voters,” Crossland said.

Brownback said one of his concerns was that the Ad Astra map didn’t respect communities of interest because it failed to make Leavenworth County self-contained in one Senate district.

Such a move would jeopardize two Democratic senators, Tom Holland of Baldwin City and Kelly Kultala of Kansas City, Kan., who each represent a portion of Leavenworth County. Holland was the Democratic nominee for governor who ran against Brownback in 2010, and Kultala was Holland’s lieutenant governor running mate.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, who has been through the redistricting process five times, said the actions by Brownback and Kansas Chamber were an “unprecedented intrusion into the legislative process.”

“It’s an assault on the Senate moderate majority and is open warfare on them in the session and next election,” Hensley said.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the Kansas Chamber is no longer a business organization.

“They have just become an advocacy organization for the right wing of the Republican Party,” Davis said. He said the chamber hasn’t endorsed a Democrat in years, and seldom endorses moderate Republicans.

“If a pro-business Democrat comes along, we would be happy to endorse them,” said Jeff Glendening, vice president of public affairs for the Chamber.

The Chamber has been working against legislators who in 2010 voted for the temporary increase in the state sales tax from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar. The Chamber said it was an unfair burden on taxpayers and would hurt Kansas’ economic recovery. Supporters of the increase said it was necessary to avoid harmful cuts to schools, social services and public safety.

Under the temporary increase, the sales tax is set to decrease to 5.7 cents per dollar next year.

But the Chamber now supports keeping the sales tax at 6.3 cents per dollar and paying down income tax rates. Brownback’s tax plan endorses that position.

While the Ad Astra map didn’t make it out of the Senate, neither did one pushed by conservatives that was introduced by state Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City.

State Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said that proposal would have wiped out most of the current eight Democrats in the 40-member Senate. Kelly said she probably would’ve survived the election under the Abrams map, but the Democratic caucus meeting could have been held “in the fourth-floor bathroom.”


kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

no- I disagree with you-- Brownback most definitely needs to stay!

jlw53 6 years, 2 months ago

Paul Davis is a pompous jerk from The party of "no". Every quote of his in this author's stories is nothing more than criticism of his opponents. Never has an idea to otherwise improve things.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

With the rightwing of the Republican Party trying furiously to take the state of Kansas backwards 150 years, "no" is completely appropriate.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 2 months ago

Have you ever met him? I've actually worked with him a bit in the past, and he's always been very nice.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Just being "nice" does not make one a good legislator!

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

If the question is, " should women be treated like chattel instead of as people?". Then, the answer should be "no!"

If the question is, "should we slash taxes for businesses and the super wealthy while raising them drastically for the middle class and the poor?" then the answer should be "no!"

If the question is, "should highway funding be slashed?" then the answer should be "no!"

You must be a home schooled, religious zealot that prays to the GOP.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

How in the world is that the issue? First, no one is treating or suggesting that women should be treated as "chattel" Second, no one wants only the super wealthy to get tax cuts to the exclusion of the middle-class and poor. In fact, all of the Republican tax proposals include all groups. Notice no Democrat tax cut proposal? Third, where do you get the highway funding issue? fourth, Parents can decide how to educate their children, and I doubt you would like many of our "religious zealot" founding fathers who put God first in their lives and the dedicated this nation to Him! Face it- we have figured this out and we know what the liberal agenda is and we are interested in seeing it defeated!

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

I've met him in person, and he was far from a pompous jerk.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Which has nothing to do with the fact that he is acting like a do-nothing and criticize always legislator! Read his comments in the papers and try to find one idea he has proposed for passage in Topeka recently!

TinmanKC 6 years, 2 months ago

Kansas Chamber of Commerce is not pro-business and not pro-Kansas. It is pro-Koch. Check with your local chamber of commerce to see if they are part of KCC and if they are - ask that they dis-affiliate.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

If you are a liberal! If you are a conservative you might want to join!~

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

“If a pro-business Democrat comes along, we would be happy to endorse them,” said Jeff Glendening, vice president of public affairs for the Chamber.

And they define pro-business as being anti-everything that doesn't directly benefit the Koch brothers and their ilk.

guess_again 6 years, 2 months ago

"the left wing of the Republican Party"

What a stupid, and yet revealing, expression.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

The US Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce are PAC's for right wing governments. In fact both organizations campaigned against sensible medical insurance reform.

Not only that according to national news the US Chamber of Commerce was distributing $1.4 million a day to defeat any chance of Single Payer Medical Insurance coming up for discussion. The news sources used the term "money laundering".

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce will team up with Sam Brownback to defeat all republicans who have taken a stand against the facist position of Gov Sam Brownback. The Chamber will receive funding from Koch money and Wal-Mart Money to eliminate republicans as well as democrats. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce will do the money laundering.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Here we go with the name-calling "fascist"! Get real and face the fact that you are just upset because you are a liberal and these other political leaders are more conservative that you are! They might even believe in limited government!

question4u 6 years, 2 months ago

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce first opposed an increase in state sales tax and now supports it. Is this a group that should be determining state policy? They are pushing for drastic changes, but if they can't even figure out whether to approve or disapprove of an increase in sales tax, who could be stupid enough to take their advice? Who but members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce would think that this organization has their interests in mind?

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce could easily prove to be its own worst enemy. Will business prosper in a state that can't educate or retain its workers. Will it thrive in a state that is losing its younger population? Some businesses might, if they have few employees and do most of its business out of state. Why does that merit tax breaks? How does that benefit Kansas? Of course, we're talking about the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, so benefits to Kansas aren't a concern.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce is the best reason that Kansans could have for being thrifty.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 2 months ago

They are dirty rotten you know whats.

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

In Kansas we don't have a "left wing". We have right wing extremists and everyone else.

If these dimwits aren't careful they're going to create a very strong Democratic Party in Kansas with all the disaffected Republicans they are running off. I hope it happens.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Really- I guess you are not aware of liberalism in the academic community or in the legal profession???-- this state has been infected with left-wing opinion for a long time.

wastewatcher 6 years, 2 months ago

Where does ULTRA LIBERAL HENSLEY get his nerve to lie about Governors involvement in the redistricting process? The Governor and his office has always gotten involved in the process and he should, afterall he has to approve the Bill that ultimately passses the Legislature . Another example of when things are not going his way, LIBERAL HENSLEY will resort to anything to try to get his way. As far as LIBERAL KELLY'S comments, with only eight Democrat Senators, they could meet in any bathroom in the capital today.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 2 months ago

"Ultra liberal"????

Wow. You must have led an incredibly sheltered life.

KSWFB 6 years, 2 months ago

What does the sales tax issue have to do with redistricting? Rothschild is simply trying to undercut the Chamber by adding that little tidbit. Once again, Rothschild inserts personal bias and commentary into an article about an unrelated issue.

woodscolt 6 years, 2 months ago

It is the moderates against the "anti people party". The rightwingnuts are against everything people.

William Weissbeck 6 years, 2 months ago

If the moderates really want to keep this state, then they need to run against the Kochs and the Chamber. They may need to third party to swing some seats to Democrats. It is clear that moderate GOPs can no longer work within the party structure - they no longer have access to campaign funding. To quote MSNBC, there are some conservative Democrats, there are no moderate Republicans. Which party really tolerates a difference of opinion? Which party openly puts forth primary challenges simply to enforce orthodoxy?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

It's interesting to watch a state where the inmates are running the asylum.

softsun 5 years, 11 months ago

softsun (anonymous) says…

To focus on the new Lawrence Chamber of Commerce leadership at local, regional and national level, MU Chancellor “Gary Forsee was on the hot seat over alleged insider dealing in a transaction between the University of Missouri, under which Cerner would provide healthcare information services to the University of Missouri and explain to members of the Missouri University's I.T. department, the process! Forsee's son worked at Cerner for several years prior, and Forsee served on corporate boards with Cerner's CEO, Neal Patterson. Employees said it was the first time they’d heard the name “Tiger Institute.” When asked about that request, Forsee replied: “We’re done here.” Then George Carr, chief information officer for MU Health, canceled a regular staff meeting which could have shed light on the situation. “I am going to postpone the town hall meeting for a little while until we can cover the status of the Tiger Institute (MU/Cerner Partnership) with some certainty,” Carr wrote in an e-mail to staff that the Tribune obtained. He went on to say: “I do realize that this is a huge issue to everyone, so I want to make sure we spend our time wisely and get the results we need.” The matter quickly fell to back pages of the news and the uproar died down, but mistrust of Forsee was evident within UM's ranks, according to news reports published at the time.” Shortly after his sponsor, Gary Forsee resigned as President of the University of Missouri, MU officials announced that due to budget considerations, Greg Williams position at MU was being eliminated. What? Williams, who was supposedly responsible for developing the 10 Missouri University research parks and incubators across Missouri, working closely with tenants to negotiate leases and nurture existing relationships position eliminated due to budget considerations??? Forsee was named one of the "Worst CEOs in America. After taking an extended leave in December, 2010 to care for his wife, Sherry, who was diagnosed with cancer, Forsee announced his immediate resignation to the MU Board of Curators on January 7, 2011.” Soon, MU officials announced elimination of Greg Williams position and the Waver Partners “head hunters” for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, closely allied with the Kansas Chamber again placed several applicants on their placement list. The Lawrence Chamber Board Chairman and Search Chair changed their focus seeking this economic development “Rock Star?” Shooting star? falling star? or flash in the pan, who less than 2 years ago was being anointed the darling of the University of Missouri economic development community.

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