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Posts tagged with Kansas Politics

Brownback has ‘serious concerns’ about Sotomayor

Sen. Sam Brownback's meeting on Wednesday with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor did not quell any of the conservative Kansas senator's concerns about her judicial philosophy.

"I wanted to hear more from her as I have serious concerns about her philosophy as it relates to an activist judiciary," Brownback said Thursday in a statement.

Senate Republicans have complained about the timing of the July 13 start date for the appellate judge's confirmation hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee. They say senators need more time to review her record.

Brownback met with her Wednesday afternoon in the Capitol. Since President Barack Obama nominated her in May to replace retiring Justice David Souter, conservatives have voiced concerns on a Sotomayor quote about the role of the appellate court.

"As Chief Justice John Roberts said, a justice should be an impartial umpire, not a player in the game. I am afraid Judge Sotomayor wants to be more of a player than an umpire," Brownback said.

He and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., voted against elevating Sotomayor to be an appellate judge in 1998.

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Specter party switch leaves Brownback ‘stunned’

Few people probably thought Tuesday would entail huge developments involving two politicians with Kansas ties.

Most people expect the Senate in the afternoon to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, but the major story of the day in Washington has become the announcement that Pennsylvania moderate Sen. Arlen Specter would switch parties to align with the Democrats.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., told CNN the announcement stunned him. He said he had no idea it was coming.

"Arlen's his own man, but it's not good," Brownback told CNN.

Specter was born in Wichita, and he grew up in Russell, also the hometown of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1996.

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Early poll shows Moran-Tiahrt Senate race ‘essentially tied’

Rep. Jerry Moran's Senate campaign claimed a fundraising victory last week over Rep. Todd Tiahrt in their race for the 2010 GOP nomination.

But results of a SurveyUSA poll conducted over the weekend for KCTV in Kansas City and KWCH in Wichita show "the race is essentially tied."

Moran received support from 39 percent of voters in the poll and tiahrt received 35 percent. About 26 percent of voters were undecided.

But the numbers in the Moran-Tiahrt contest suggest a tight race among several types of voters as both candidates try to rebuild their statewide profiles after serving several terms in the House. Moran, of Hays and a Kansas University graduate, represents the state's massive First District of western and north-central Kansas. Tiahrt, of Goddard and a former Boeing employee, represents the Wichita area and southeastern Kansas.

Moran received more support among northeastern and western Kansas voters, and Tiahrt had the edge in voters from the southeastern part of the state.

Moran received support from 42 percent of voters who are 50 or older compared to 33 percent for Tiahrt. Tiahrt had a 37 percent to 35 percent edge among voters ages 18 to 49.

Another indication of how close and how early it is in the race, Tiahrt received more support from voters who labeled themselves more conservation but also ones who said they were more liberal. Moran had a 45 percent to 20 percent lead among moderate voters.

The two House members are both running for the seat currently held by Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor.

In that race, the same poll shows Brownback with a whopping 64 percent to 17 percent lead over Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh.

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Brownback says he hoped coal plant project could move forward

During a visit to Lawrence Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback said he had hoped construction of two coal-fired, 700-megawatt plants near Holcomb could have moved forward.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, vetoed a bill the Legislature passed that would have allowed for construction of the plants.

The issue has been a hot topic in the last two sessions, and Sebelius has now vetoed four bills related to the plants, saying they would be bad environmental policy.

Brownback said the project would "be a big economic driver for the state." The project would also allow for construction of power lines to the south and into Colorado, he said.

"That lets us plug our wind into it, and one of the biggest problems for our wind energy is getting it to market," Brownback said. "We've got to be able to get it to places and that gave you somebody paying for the power lines that you could hook it into."

The senator and likely GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2010 made the statement about the coal plant legislation during a visit to the Bowersock Mills and Power Co. on the Kansas River. Brownback, a member of the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is gathering information about renewable energy as the Senate considers energy legislation.

Republican Congressman Jerry Moran, who is running for Brownback's Senate seat in 2010, also criticized Sebelius' veto.

"I am deeply disappointed the governor vetoed legislation that would have authorized a facility that proposed to use cutting-edge technology to reduce carbon emissions and would have been one of the most environmentally sound and efficient coal-fired plants in the country," Moran said in a statement. “Failure to allow Sunflower Electric’s proposal to move forward will likely lead to an increase in electricity costs."

Sebelius, President Barack Obama's choice to be secretary of Health and Human Services, on Monday said it appeared federal legislation would penalize new carbon emissions.

"I vetoed that legislation because while the rest of the country was trying to reduce greenhouse emissions, Kansas would be creating massive new emissions for power we don’t need," she said.

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Brownback threatens to block Iraq nominee

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., on Thursday said he would do everything he can to hold up confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee to be Iraq's ambassador, Chris Hill, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs.

Brownback and four other Republican senators earlier this week sent a letter to the administration about their opposition to Hill being nominated for the post, which has been vacant since Ryan Crocker left in January.

Brownback has said Hill would need a "crash course in Iraqi affairs." He also criticized Hill's involvement in six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear disarmament, mainly for not making human rights a major issue in the talks.

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Two groups say letter with Brownback signature was ‘misuse of religion’

Two groups say Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback should set the record straight on his position about a letter sent by the Catholic Advocate one day after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Brownback for the letter that criticized Sen. Ted Kennedy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as not being real Catholics.

Brownback's spokesman Brian Hart has said the ethics complaint is unfounded, and Hart has also said Brownback's office has already asked the Catholic Advocate to discontinue using Brownback's letterhead or signature. Politico is reporting that a campaign staffer approved the use of Brownback's name with the letter several months ago.

Members of Faithful America and Catholics United say the events have led to "conflicting news reports about Brownback's position on the letter."

They are asking him to denounce the letter, and they insist he demand any funds the Catholic Advocate raises either be returned or donated to charity.

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