State senate candidates file for two district races

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN STAFF
Long-time Marion County resident and third-generation family farmer

Diana Dierks has filed for the Kansas Senate, 35th District.



The district includes the majority of Dickinson and Marion counties

and all of Rice and McPherson counties.



?I will be a voice for the local business owner, for the local farmer

and rancher, and for the local working men and women in this

district,? said Dierks, who filed as a Democrat. ?The incumbent

senator prefers to step up to the plate only when big business calls.

The 35th District needs a senator who will go to bat for local

concerns. I plan to be that Senator.?



Dierks said two issues of primary concern to her are education, from

pre-kindergarten to continuing adult education, and providing a level

playing field for farmers and small business owners.



?I earned an associate?s degree from Butler County Community College

at age 50, and I am currently working toward a BS in business,? Dierks

said. ?At the same time, I learned the value of strong K-12 education

for my children, and I want my grandchildren to have at least the same

quality education. I will make education priority number one in

Topeka, because I know how important our schools are on the local

level.?



Dierks and her husband, Heinz, have operated a dairy farm in Marion

County since 1978. In addition, she operates a realty business. She is

a member of the Kansas Association of Realtors.



Dierks is a former member of the Ramona City Council, where she has

been mayor, and a past member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce and

the American Agri-Women Association. She and her husband have raised

four children and have nine grandchildren.



?My husband and I can relate how important it is to preserve the

family farm,? she said. ?We were caught in the 1982 farm crisis and

lost a great deal of what we had worked for. We survived along with

our neighbors and came out with the renewed sense of how resilient

farm families and rural communities can be when faced with adversity.



?The state faces its own adversity in the form of a fiscal crisis,?

she added. ?I will not go to Topeka and attempt to solve our budget

concerns by coddling large corporations while balancing the budget on

the backs of students, the elderly, and state retirees. I will face

the adversity head-on, and find a solution that is consistent with the

views of the hard working men and women of this district.?



Dierks said her experience as a small business owner gives her insight

to the concerns of the majority of business in the 35th senate

district.



?This is not a district full of Southwestern Bells or Boeings,? she

said. ?This is a district with locally owned restaurants and shops,

where your nextdoor neighbor owns the gas station and your friend down

the road runs the bakery. I will go to bat for these businessmen and

women, as opposed to following the lead of the incumbent, who is more

interested in large corporations.?



Dierks is the only Democrat to file for the seat. Two candidates have

filed for the Republican nomination, which will be determined by the

Aug. 1 primary. The two are incumbent Don Steffes of McPherson and

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