Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kansas Senate, District 2: Marci Francisco vs. Ron Ellis

October 27, 2012


While the rest of the political world is torn apart by turmoil, the race between state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Ron Ellis, a Republican from Meriden, has been relatively tame.

The two, who face off in the Nov. 6 election, seem to agree on many issues but disagree on how judges are selected.

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Francisco, a former mayor of Lawrence who is seeking her third four-year term in the Senate, has said if re-elected she will propose a change to the massive tax cut that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law after the last legislative session.

Francisco said the tax cut will “dramatically reduce our state revenues, spur businesses to reorganize to avoid taxes and make the Kansas tax system more unfair.”

A portion of that tax-cutting package will exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from state income taxes.

Francisco says she will propose limiting the pass-through business income tax exemption to the first $100,000 of nonwage income.

Ellis, a retired teacher, said he also is concerned about the effects of the tax cuts on state revenues and would consider limiting the tax break to smaller businesses, too.

Ellis has been endorsed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which pushed for the Brownback tax cuts. Ellis notes on his website that he has been a tireless campaigner for many years working for Republican candidates, including Brownback.

Both Ellis and Francisco say the state should restore cuts to public schools that were made during the recession.

Ellis said he saw first-hand in the Oskaloosa school district how those cuts led to larger class sizes, employees laid off and staff reductions from not replacing retired teachers. “We should replace the money that has been cut,” he said.

Both candidates also said they would oppose increased reliance on local property taxes to fund schools. “One of the strengths of our statewide funding for education is to equalize costs across the state,” Francisco said.

But the two candidates part ways on the issue of judicial selection.

Ellis said he would support a change proposed by Brownback that would allow the governor to select judges with approval of a supermajority in the Senate. Ellis said that would make Kansas’ system more like the federal system.

Francisco supports the current system in which a nine-member nominating commission reviews and interviews applicants for openings on the Kansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and forwards three names to the governor, who picks from that list. Every few years, each judge is subjected to a retention vote.

The nominating commission includes five attorneys, plus four non-attorneys named by the governor.

Francisco said the current system reduces the influence of politics in the judicial nominating process.

Giving Brownback, who opposes abortion rights, more say in selecting judges has been a priority of anti-abortion groups.

Since the last election, the Senate district’s boundaries have changed when three federal judges redrew the legislative maps after the Legislature and Brownback failed to do the job. The district includes a large portion of the city of Lawrence, Lecompton and nearly all of Jefferson County.

Candidate profiles

Ronald Ellis, Republican nominee for state senate's 2nd district.

Ronald Ellis, Republican nominee for state senate's 2nd district.

Ron Ellis-R

Age: 59

Occupation: Cattle rancher; retired teacher; served 37 years in the Oskaloosa school district

Married: Wife, Paula

Children: None

Religion: Christian

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history and physical education and master’s degree in history from Emporia State University

Experience: Has volunteered in numerous Republican campaigns and served as party delegate

Quote: “I believe I can be that voice in the Senate to fight for more funding for education and help small businesses … be successful.”

District 2 candidate Marci Francisco

District 2 candidate Marci Francisco

Marci Francisco-D

Age: 62

Occupation: Analyst with the Center for Sustainability at Kansas University

Married: Husband, Joe

Children: None

Religion: Unitarian

Education: Bachelor’s degrees in architecture and environmental design from Kansas University

Experience: First elected to Kansas Senate in 2004; mayor of Lawrence, 1981-83; city commissioner 1979-83; member of Democratic Party precinct committee

Quote: “Experience counts. I have had a seat at the table in the Kansas Senate as a member of the budget committee and as a ranking minority member. Working through the details of legislation with legislators from both parties, I have demonstrated my support for education and a fair tax system and my commitment to representing my constituents in the 2nd Senate District.”


Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Marci is the most inarticulate and ineffective legislator in the legislature.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

You clearly don't know marci. I do.

While she might not be able to glibly vomit the meaningless soundbites you prefer to hear, she knows what she's talking about, usually in great detail, and that's probably why you don't like her.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

--- Ron Ellis was selected by Brownback and his backers. Otherwise he would not be seeking election. Additionally Ellis has two different sets of campaign material. One set for we Douglas County folks and one for Jefferson County folks.

--- Being Pro-Life makes him definitely anti woman. I believe his pro-life position is missing from Douglas County campaign materials.

--- Ellis is seeking to support Sam Brownback not his entire voting constituency nor the state of Kansas.

--- Ellis will not stand by public education as he will backing the Brownback choice aka vouchers which will cost taxpayers more money because in general private schools are more expensive. And they are free to discriminate.

--- A perspective on vouchers.

countrygirl 5 years, 7 months ago

My son was lucky enough to have Ellis as a teacher before he retired and he was one who still cared a bunch about the kids. I truly believe he will work hard to make things better for our schools.
Merrill--you know nothing about the man and you make that pretty obvious with your comments. Go crawl back under your rock.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"I truly believe he will work hard to make things better for our schools."

So, are you saying that he'll oppose Brownback's agenda as vigorously and Fransisco does? If not, then your statement above is completely false.

cinnamontwist 5 years, 6 months ago

Ron is blessed with common sense, a sense of humor, and cares deeply about helping others. After knowing him for a couple of decades now, having children who loved having him as a teacher, mentor, and now friend, I have seen Ron go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to contributing to his community and those truly in need. I have lived/worked in Jefferson and Douglas counties and would definitely vote for Ron Ellis.

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