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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Democrats plan strategies to take on Brownback, Kobach and others

August 17, 2013, 7:34 p.m. Updated August 17, 2013, 8:31 p.m.

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— Approximately 200 people met Saturday at the Kanas Democratic Party's annual DemoFest to prepare for the group's 2014 campaign to try to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback and other Republican elected officials.

"People are absolutely dead-set on getting rid of Brownback," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon. She said that dissatisfaction with Republican policies has lit a fire under Democrats to get organized between now and the 2014 elections. Twice as many people showed up to DemoFest as was initially expected, she said.

Clayton Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, disagreed with Wagnon's assessment.

Under Republican leadership, Barker said, Kansas has added jobs, cut taxes and produced a budget surplus.

"The Kansas Republican Party is working hard every day to register and turn out voters who share our values of individual opportunity, limited effective government and personal responsibility," Barker said.

Democrats will face a steep deficit among registered voters. Of the state's 1.73 million registered voters, approximately 45 percent are registered Republicans, 30 percent are unaffiliated and 25 percent are Democrats.

But Democrats said they can win if they can focus the electorate on Brownback's fiscal polices and what event-goers called voter suppression efforts by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican.

In addition, Democrats say they are going to increase their efforts at getting more Hispanics involved in the election.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence has announced that he is considering a run against Brownback.

Speaking at the event, Davis said Brownback's agenda runs counter to Kansas values of strong schools, a strong middle class and cooperation.

Davis said of the 2014 election, "It's not about putting a Democrat in the governors office. It's about putting a common sense Kansan in the governor's office."

Tax cuts and voting rights

With large Republican majorities in the Legislature, Brownback has won significant changes in Kansas tax law. These changes include cuts in income tax rates; exempting from income taxes non-wage business income reported by LLCs, Subchapter-S corporations, and sole proprietorships; eliminating or reducing deductions aimed at helping low- and middle-income Kansans; and increasing the state sales tax.

Brownback has said the tax changes will improve the overall Kansas economy.

Democrats have argued that the changes mostly benefit wealthy Kansans and will result in property tax increases and slashes in public services such as education and health care.

Jill Docking, a former chairwoman of the Kansas Board of Regents, said Brownback's cuts to higher education are being driven by the loss of revenue from the tax cuts. "There is no revenue," Docking said.

Recent polling has shown that Brownback has low job approval ratings. In addition, Kobach has been under fire for a new law that he helped get approved that requires proof of citizenship for new voter registrations. The law has put nearly 15,000 would-be voters in limbo because the proof of citizenship process hasn't been completed.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union notified Kobach that it will file a lawsuit in 90 days if the state doesn’t fix the situation. Kobach has said he will continue to enforce the law.

Businessman Randy Ralston has announced that he will challenge Kobach in the next election.

Focusing on the Hispanic vote

Juan Sepulveda, senior advisor for Hispanic affairs for the Democratic National Committee, said if Democrats continue to contrast their policies with those of Republicans, the party will continue to win a large majority of Hispanic votes.

"The Hispanic vote is a persuadable vote," Sepulveda said. "It's not part of the base. We're up for grabs. We have to make the case. Here is what we stand for, here is what they stand for," said Sepulveda, who grew up in Topeka.

Sepulveda, with the DNC, said the concerns of the Hispanic community match those of the rest of the country and include jobs, the economy and education.

But, he said, immigration reform is also an important issue with Hispanics because it affects their community.

He said religious and business groups and law enforcement have joined together to back "common sense immigration reform." He said Kobach stands in contrast to this effort, pushing for tougher immigration laws and proof of citizenship voter laws.

And, Sepulveda said, Hispanics will benefit by the implementation of Obamacare, while Republicans want to repeal the measure and Brownback has refused to expand Medicaid under the law.

The Kansas Democratic Party also has hired Carlos Lugo as its Hispanic Outreach and Field Director.

Born in Mexico and raised in Washington state, Lugo most recently served as Field Director for U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., where he oversaw the management of a field organization that resulted in an 18-point electoral victory.

"There is so much we can do here in the state of Kansas," Lugo said.

Comments

sciencegeek 7 months, 4 weeks ago

ajr--Kobach is NOT the only Republican who can be defeated. There are plenty of legislators who could be sent home if people just showed up to vote. Sam couldn't get away with all this garbage without the wingnuts in the Legislature.

SOOOO--if all the people who are complaining about Brownback would vote against him and his minions, we could stop the nonsense. Too many peoploe sitting on their duffs is how we got this crowd in the first place.

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smileydog 8 months ago

Just a little food for thought regarding Brownback's policies creating jobs.....read it and weep http://www.kansascommerce.com/index.aspx?NID=485

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mikekt 8 months ago

With Brownback and his crew in charge of inventing the numbers, I do not trust any of the numbers to be real .

If there was any job growth anywhere in the state it had to do with the efforts of Democrats in Wyandotte County and moderate republicans in Johnson County........and the fact that crime and bad schools are driving people across the state line from KCMO to Johnson & Wyandotte Counties we are actually loosing Boeing jobs I Whitchita.

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bearded_gnome 8 months ago

Under Republican leadership, Barker said, Kansas has added jobs, cut taxes and produced a budget surplus.

---all true. our unemployment rate is far less than the Obama national rate. if not for 'red states,' obama would have an economic disaster going now.

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bearded_gnome 8 months ago

One question is why do well known politicians such as Sam Brownback always need to to spend the most money to win re-election? Name recognition is not the issue. I say after years of observation it is to spend a ton of money on distracting voters from the real issues which is basically lying and lying about the opponent.

---oh Merrill, so by this logic, you must also oppose Obama. he spent ooooodles of $s to get elected/reelected, lied voraciously about his opponent, etc. etc.

glad you're antiobama now.

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Richard Heckler 8 months ago

What exactly has Kris Kobach done to get re-elected? He spends a lot of time not in Topeka or even in Kansas.

Why does Brownback hire so many beltway associates to fill his administration? Essentially Brownback is truly NOT from Kansas anymore.

Beware another 4 years of Sam Brownback and his crew will put an end to public education pure and simple. Taxpayers will take a monster hit believe it.

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Richard Heckler 8 months ago

First of all we know Sam Brownback will spend a lot of money to get re-elected. This man has been on a tax dollar payroll since 1986. Since his first beltway office adventure Koch money has been in his bank account. This obviously is not a new relationship not by a long shot.

One question is why do well known politicians such as Sam Brownback always need to to spend the most money to win re-election? Name recognition is not the issue. I say after years of observation it is to spend a ton of money on distracting voters from the real issues which is basically lying and lying about the opponent.

The issues are still the same when Sam Brownback took office so nothing has changed except real bad management about tax dollar spending, a ton of state employees were asked to leave, education is not important and well where the hell are all of the jobs Brownback was going to deliver. On the jobs the opposite took place as I mentioned Brownback put lots and lots of people out of work.

Moving jobs from KC to Overland Park did not create any new jobs. People simply had to take a different route to work. This shenanigan did cost plenty of tax dollars. The AMC stunt alone cost taxpayers $47 million tax dollars.... nearly enough to fund USD 497 school district.

Of courses ALEC and Brownback are waging war on wages and women. We can include the State Chamber of Commerce PAC, The Kansas Club for Growth PAC and of course the ill named Americans for Prosperity PAC. Who knows how many bogus out of state PAC's will be funneling money into the Brownack campaign perhaps laundering the money through the Chamber of Commerce.

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gjharris90 8 months ago

I think you all are forgetting one thing. There has been some jobs brought into Kansas and Governor Brownback has made all of us tighten our belts, by putting into place a Budget. Yes, we would like for something to happen by now, but I believe he and his cabinet are doing the best they can. I have been raised and still am listed as a PROUD Republican.

Everyone is upset because Governor Brownback put Kansas on a Budget and Why not, do you not live on a Budget. Oh, I see you spend more than you take in, so you want to blame us, DO NOT BLAME ME!!!

Farmers need to be paid for what they are worth, whether it's cash crops, or through the insurance. Remember a Farmer feeds 155 people + YOU!!!

Governor Brownback has my vote. I vote only Republican we all need to come to the Kitchen table and discuss the good and bad and come up with a solution.

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justoneperson 8 months ago

"Democrats will face a steep deficit among registered voters. Of the state's 1.73 million registered voters, approximately 45 percent are registered Republicans, 30 percent are unaffiliated and 25 percent are Democrats."

I'd be interested to know how many Republicans changed their party ID in the last few years. To me the 45% figure is right in some ways and wrong in others. How many of those 45% are right-wing Republicans, and how many are moderates?

Also, moderate Republicans, please pay attention and vote in the primary elections! Stop allowing the right-wing candidates to win those legislative, board, etc. seats. Many of those seats are essentially elected in the primary race.

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William Ballard 8 months ago

The article has an error. I was at DemoFest Saturday, but Paul Davis was not. I do not know why he was not there. You would have to check with his office. As for Armstrong's remark that 200 people does not sound like an upset in the making; the people there were for the most part party officials. They were county chairs and precinct people, and they organize and motivate others in their area into action. The Republicans think that with their numbers and their money they can just sweep over everyone. They are in for a surprise. The average Kansan sees what they are doing, and will throw them out of office.

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/2013/aug/18/260188/

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Steve Jacob 8 months ago

I think all energy (and money) should go into defeating Kobach, the only beatable Republican. And with that you would have a Democrat to win statewide office, which gives the party a chance to take the governorship, someday.

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Larry Moss 8 months ago

While it's nice to get together and pat each other on the back, it's quite another to win an election. I doubt democrats will make any significant gains this time around let alone the Governorship.

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jpebcac 8 months ago

Brownback has, over the last few years, instituted a set of policies that is absolutely detrimental to the long term economic growth of the state of Kansas. It ends up a matter of delayed investment.. save a penny now to spend ten dollars later.

Continuous cuts to mental health spending is a giant step backwards, in that you save small money -now-, but in the long term, you will have more mentally challenged residents who now have no skills, and will find themselves on long-term medicaid without taxes being paid in, meanwhile, spend some money now, and many of these individuals would provide for themselves on some level.. and kick some of that paycheck back to the state.

On other angles, Brownback's social policy has been a significant detriment; large scale employers have noted that top-notch candidates out of colleges are uninterested in coming to Kansas in part because of our egregious social policies. This is a significant factor in the growth of technology within our state; if you don't give the best and the brightest to stay or to move here, they won't.. and businesses in those sectors will leave. When Boeing left, one of their complaints was the inability to attract top flight talent to Kansas.

Recently, at the approval of Brownback and others, Kansas became one of the first states to allow AT&T and others to "opt out" of providing home phone (that's analog line phones) to communities where AT&T won't make a profit.. (despite the fact every phone bill pays a special tax to subsidize just that activity, and that tax isn't going away).. putting those in rural areas at a significant longterm disadvantage from joining the connected world, and putting many schools in Kansas at a serious disadvantage for their students.

Kansas failure to approach things in a reasoned policy that evaluates short term savings, long term expenses and ability to attract talent is slowly killing us. Either we decide to change, or in about 15 years, we're going to find out exactly how bad this is when major name talent won't come here, and our cost of service skyrockets because early investment was neglected.

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Armstrong 8 months ago

Approximately 200 people met Saturday at the Kanas Democratic Party's annual DemoFest

Twice as many people showed up to DemoFest as was initially expected,

Those kind of numbers don't indicate a big upset in the making.

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Patricia Davis 8 months ago

I agree with Mr. Getto. Adelman's millions could not elect Romney. We need to rise up all of us—whatever political party we are in and—together prove we are better than Brownback's lab monkeys for the Koch brothers' dimwitted Liberterian utopia. But unless we organize, donate and most importantly, vote, we deserve to be abused.

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Paul R Getto 8 months ago

The Kochs have money. The people have votes, should they choose to exercise their right. 30% Sam is hoping they will stay home in droves again. Call his bluff, SHEEPLE! Register, organize and actually go to the polls.

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smileydog 8 months ago

If the Democrats can have access to what "the president has put into place - an organization that contains the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. That's going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it's never been done before." -Congresswoman Maxine Waters, CA Democrat. If they can have that kind of access on Kansans like Obama has on the United States, then they will win, always, just like Obama.

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Michael LoBurgio 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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trinity 8 months ago

There are many Rs, at least down here in the sticks, who are very disgruntled with blowback. And have no intention of voting for him again. He's p'd off a number of moderates, too.

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redneck 8 months ago

"The Hispanic vote is a persuadable vote,". The Democrats are going talk the Hispanics into voting their way! Good ole American ingenuity! While you are at it, why don't you see if you can lower the voting age to like may 10 years old. You could persuade them into voting your way even easier. Just give them an ipad or something cool. The Republicans hit the nail on the head, by making people prove they have the right to vote. Those nearly 15,000 would-be voters who are in limbo, may want to present their paperwork showing they are citizens. I'll be more than happy to present my birth certificate, if it is ever required.

Obamacare may be a good thing, but we will have to wait until October to see what those premiums will be. I'll bet they will not be as affordable as the Democrats claim they will be.

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JayhawkFan1985 8 months ago

There are two problems that need to be addressed. First, the democrats need to finally get organized with national support. Second, the independents in Kansas need to visit the Wizard of Oz and get a brain like the scarecrow did...the GOP in this state is evil, corrupt, incompetent, racist, uncaring, and whatever other negative adjective one can imagine. The last good the republicans did in this state ended with Eisenhower. The rural bumpkins have drank the koolade. Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence, Kansas City (including Johnson County) need to get behind whoever the democrats put forward. A brownback 2nd term would be like a swarm of locusts after a river of blood or some other biblical plague.

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Robert Burnham 8 months ago

"To pull off a dictatorship the government in power needs three key ingredients. Ingredient number one is an army of devout followers who are willing to go to any length to advance the party's agenda. ... Ingredient number two is a weak or unwilling opposition. ... The third and final ingredient to a totalitarian state is a large portion of the population that is either apathetic or blissfully ignorant of how their government tramples on their rights. As long as the check arrives, the food stamp card gets updated, the television has over 100 channels and the people invest in media that tell more of popular celebrity activities than the doings of their government, the 'ruling' party will continue to do whatever they wish with impunity. So long as the doings of government leaders don't cut off their access to these shallow entertainments, these people will not take a stand to those 'leaders' who erode their freedoms. ... Unfortunately we have coddled millions to the point that they will play a key role in the loss of the greatest government conceived by man. But these people will never be awakened as long as their exists a weakened opposition unwilling to awaken them." GOD BLESS AMERICAN AND GOD BLESS KANSAS!

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Robert Burnham 8 months ago

Leaningleftist, He may not have your vote but he will have mine and all of my friends and family..we want big government out of our lives, lower taxes, and people to work and get educated...not take leftist handouts for votes....11 states now how more people on state and federal subsistence than people working, all run for years by Democrats...look at Detroit, another city run for years by Democrats...Chicago 100 billion bucks in debt for Democrat stealing and conniving...people have had enough...Obama got his chance, and he has to go!

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weeslicket 8 months ago

@scott: lots of one sentence paragraphs in this. lots of puzzle peices to place together. thank you for time and patience and knowledge.

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leaningleftist 8 months ago

Clayton barker is correct about turning out voters in the truest sense of the word. The repubs have done nothing but disenfranchise voters. Don't think they'd be doing that if the were secure in their ideas but their ideas are so out of the mainstream it hopefully will cost them in this election. We've had democratic guv's in the recent past now lets work on the crazy legislature

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