Archive for Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kansas House, District 44: Patrick Bengtson vs. Barbara Ballard

October 28, 2012


In the race for House District 44, veteran legislator Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, faces a political newcomer, Republican Patrick Bengtson.

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Ballard was first elected to the Kansas House in 1992 and says she has formed relationships with Republicans and Democrats that are helpful when trying to push legislation that benefits Lawrence.

“I will continue to support policies in the Capitol that reflect the values of my constituents, both as Kansans and residents of Lawrence,” she said.

But Bengtson said it’s time for a change. “I believe it’s time to turn the page and start a new chapter,” he said.

Ballard says the state needs to restore funding to public schools that suffered cuts during the Great Recession. Bengtson has said more state funding is needed for schools and that education would be his top priority.

Ballard voted against the tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback, and Bengtson said the tax cuts were too large and will need to be adjusted.

Ballard said her experience in the Legislature has helped Lawrence. Ballard said in 2010 she made a politically difficult vote for a temporary sales tax increase that was used to avoid further cuts in schools, social services and public safety.

Bengtson said the Legislature is too divided and needs new members to break down that divide.

Candidate profiles

District 44 Republican candidate Patrick Bengtson

District 44 Republican candidate Patrick Bengtson

Patrick Bengtson-R

Age: 28

Occupation: Full-time candidate

Religion: Protestant

Married: Single

Children: None

Education: Bachelor of Arts in economics from Kansas University; law degree from University of Pennsylvania; co-valedictorian at Lawrence High School

Experience: Attorney at Jones Day in Dallas, 2009-10

Quote: “Sound reason. Thoughtful policy. Ideas matter.”

District 44 Democratic candidate Barbara Ballard

District 44 Democratic candidate Barbara Ballard

Barbara Ballard-D

Age: 67

Occupation: Associate director of the Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University

Religion: Christian, Plymouth Congregational Church

Married: Husband, Albert

Children: One

Education: Bachelor of Arts from Webster College, Master of Science in counseling from Kansas State University and doctorate in counseling from K-State

Experience: First elected to Kansas House in 1992; served eight years on the Lawrence school board and elected board president twice. President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and serves on the boards of directors of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Cottonwood Inc.

Quote: “Lawmakers have a responsibility to protect Kansas’ most fragile and vulnerable citizens. The state must be an active partner in providing opportunities for our children, our aging parents and our neighbors in need.”


Shelley Bock 5 years, 7 months ago

"Bengtson said the Legislature is too divided and needs new members to break down that divide." So the solution is to vote Republican and make it a "one-party" legislature? That's an interesting reason why to vote for the challenger.

lgrant 5 years, 7 months ago

Usually the republicans say "vote republican that is the only way things will get done". To heck with "divide", they want a one-party legislature to ensure that Brownback to the 50's will get everything he asks for. This guy sounds like he just needs a job and has no clue what is involved.

Bob Forer 5 years, 7 months ago

Bengston is indeed a very bright fellow. Co-Valedictorian of Lawrence High's class of 2002. Graduated from KU with highest distinction and departmental honors and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, a top-notch Ivy League Law School. Upon graduation he accepted employment with Jones Day in their Dallas office. Jones Day is a highly respected international law firm with offices in more than 20 countries world wide. The associates Jones Day hires are the cream of the crop from the top law schools in the nation, and they are offered employment with a mutual view that after seven years they will become partners with salaries starting in the multiple six figures.

Ambitious and talented guy, no?

But here is where it gets very fishy. He only lasted at Jones Day for one year, and has been unemployed since then. Reasonable, ambitious, educated and highly capable people simply don't voluntarily leave a job like that after one year, unless it's for a way bigger and better deal.

In this case, it appears that Patrick may have gone from Jones Day to living in his parents' basement--literally. His official biography lists no employment after Jones Day. HIs residential address on Lawrence Avenue listed in his biographical information is also the residence of his mother and father. His father is a KU professor.

Apparently, something unusual and unordinary happened in this young man's life two years ago. Health problems? Mental or emotional problems? Other issues? We can only speculate. Nonetheless, his recent life history is exceptionally odd. Do we want someone with his history--and many unanswered questions--representing us in the Kansas House?

Patrick_Bengtson 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for your interest and the compliments. I take pride in my education, my experiences, and the values that got me where I am today. Growing up in Lawrence made all that possible.

I left Jones Day of my own accord. I decided to go down a different path. While I was considering an offer of admission to a graduate program at Northwestern University's Medill School, my father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Once his condition was stabilized, after a medical leave of absence, I decided that someone needed to step forward to make a difference and challenge people who have served in office since I was in third grade. Just as Anthony Hensley lives in the home he grew up in, I do as well. (Watch Sen. Hensley's ad:

For those who are interested in the issues, or my story, please visit or just ask around. I am proud of my family, and if you talk with people around town, you will soon know why. I stand by my reputation--and that of my family--in this community.

Patrick Bengtson

Bob Forer 5 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for clearing that up, Patrick. It isn't easy to choose a different path after all that schooling and just one year in the profession, but knowing many "recovering attorneys" I can't fault you for having the courage to separate yourself from a profession I surmise you found distasteful.

You are also to be commended for making yourself available to your father and family.
Good for you. I wish more young people were as committed to their parents and families as you apparently are.

I read your statements, and frankly, you really don't seem compatible with today's Kansas Republican Party. You are very intelligent, and are obviously reasonable and moderate. I wish you the best of luck turning the republican party back to its traditional roots. You have a tough road ahead.

Bob Forer 5 years, 7 months ago

P.S. YOu mjght be one of the few republicans I will ever vote for. Barbara Ballard is a very nice lady, but in twenty years of public service I haven't a clue of what she has done for the people of Lawrence. A very moderate and intelligent republican might very well be better for the State than a do-nothing democrat, assuming, of course, that you don't sell out to your party as most politicians end up doing.

And by the way, if you think the law is distasteful, well, the political system is worse. Principled and honest people simply don't last as politicians.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 7 months ago

I read The Sychophant comments and was going to respond. Then, I scrolled downward and found this response.

My initial comment was going to be that I can understand why someone would bail from a high pressure situation. Now, with the explanation from the candidate himself, it is very comprehensible.

I didn't vote for him (and honestly, wouldn't had I the chance for a do-over), but do respect his course change reasoning. Commendable to be involved with family care. The candidate doesn't fit the mold of "tea bagger", which is good.

But, I would suggest that he not read these comments in the future. It is difficult to digest; even more difficult to respond. Best not to read the raging nonsense of anonymous people like myself.

Jean Robart 5 years, 7 months ago

Just because he is a Republican doesn't mean he's a "tea bagger". The Tea party is not mainstream Republican.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Patrick Bengtson-R a man going to work for Sam Brownback not Kansas. Brownback does not like republicans or democrats which means Bengston could be an imposter. He wants to push that reckless republican in name only supply side economics down our throats is my bet.

If he is elected he'll vote to sink public education is my speculation = tons of job losses. Not smart economics.

Patrick Bengtson-R as a full time candidate indicates he might also receive a salary so to speak from right wing special interest groups.

He stands by the high dollar medical insurance industry which is not healthy for the economy. The industry pockets too much money from Kansas families. It's been a rip off for at least 65 years.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Barbara Ballard has been good for Kansas. Yes she challenges our current governor which is good. A one party state is unbalanced and not democratic as a whole.

We know Barbara Ballard is for fair taxation and will support public education both very important to economic growth in our community and all communities.

Supply Side economics of the past 32 years has put millions upon millions out of jobs,their homes and put an end to retirement plans. Supply side economics is simply not acceptable in Kansas. It has been a mammoth failure nationally and has not created jobs ..... only job losses.

After 32 years of tax breaks where is USA industry and USA jobs? China and India. After 32 years of tax breaks one thing is for certain.... they don't create new industry or jobs. Supply Side Economics does support loopholes, Cayman Island secret accounts and the Chinese Communist Government.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

--- Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses

--- Where is the $47 million tax dollars that belong to Kansas taxpayers?

--- My congratulations to workers in 16 states – from Maine to Georgia, New Jersey to Colorado! Many of you will be thrilled to know that the income taxes deducted from your paychecks each month are going to a very worthy cause: your corporate boss.

--- Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

--- These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state.

--- Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff!

--- Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Posted by Jim Hightower

blakec 5 years, 7 months ago

I knew Patrick in high school. He is a man of intelligence and is open-minded, something that is rare in the Republican party today. For what it's worth, I, as a left-leaning independent, would gladly vote for Mr. Bengston based on the few years I personally knew him and his ideas listed in this article.

  • Blake Crabb

oldbaldguy 5 years, 7 months ago

what do you know about that? glad i read this today.

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