Primary election features key races for Republicans

The primary election campaign season will end Tuesday as voters in Marion County and across Kansas go to the polls to select candidates either from the Republi?can or Democratic parties.

On the local scene, Republi?can voters will have the most decisions to make, including a spirited contest for the 70th District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives between incumbent Bob Brookens of Marion and Cheryl Green of Rosalia.

In the First District of Marion County, incumbent Bob Hein and Roger Fleming, both of Hillsboro, are running for a seat on the county commission. This will be the first time Hein has been challenged for his seat since being appointed to the commission in 1996.

On the national scene, Repub?licans will choose from among six candidates to succeed Jerry Moran as the party?s choice for the state?s ?Big First? District seat in the U.S. House.

Jim Barnett of Emporia, who currently represents most of Marion County as a state senator in Topeka, is competing for the nomination against Marck Cobb of Galva, Tim Huelskamp of Fowler, Tracey Mann of Salina, Rob Wasinger of Cotton?wood Falls and Sue Boldra of Hays.

The race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback, now running for governor, is a four-man contest headed by Moran and Todd Tiahrt, both currently serving in the U.S. House.

Brownback is being opposed in the governor?s race by fellow Republican Joan Heffington of Derby.

For the Democrats, the most populated race is for the U.S. Senate, with Charles Schollen?berger of Prairie Village, Patrick Wiesner of Lawrence, Robert A. Conroy of Shawnee, David Haley of Kansas City and Lisa Johnston of Overland Park in the running to succeed Brownback.

Alan Jilka of Salina is the lone candidate for the U.S. House from the First District.

No candidate has filed for the 70th District seat of the Kansas House.

Marion County Election Clerk Carol Maggard said advance ballots can be picked up as late as Monday noon, Aug. 2, as long as they are filled out in person at the courthouse.

Anyone wishing to mail an advance ballot should mail it by Friday, July 30, to ensure its delivery by Tuesday.

For a look at the ballots for each party, as well as a list of polling sites in the county, see Page 6.


Meet the Candidates for Kansas House

Bob Brookens

? Identify two or three life experiences that would make you an effective representative for the 70th District.

BROOKENS: I have been an attorney for 32 years; I understand the bills and their language, and I was able to author and revise bills that improved Kansas laws. As an attorney, I also counsel people in good and stressful times; I understand what issues face Kansans.

I?ve also prepared income tax returns for 32 years. I understand the tax issues that farmers, small business owners and families go through each year, and what hurts our businesses and families.

Lastly, we sent our four sons to public schools, and I?ve been on the schools? site councils for 14 years. I understand the system?s strengths, weaknesses, needs and excesses.

*?*?*

? If elected, what is the one piece of legislation you believe is most important to the people in the 70th District?

BROOKENS: It is critical we fund our priorities and eliminate spending on non-priority or ineffective matters. We should pass a bill designed to review complete programs and tee some up for elimination; it?s based on the concept of the federal Base Re-alignment And Closure Commission (BRAC), making it difficult to amend the proposal, just vote to keep or eliminate the program.

This would apply to all departments, and to areas not funded by the state?s general fund. We have spending, tax credits and exemptions related to off-budget programs, and we don?t review them for effectiveness or worth.

*?*?*

? As you look back at the 2010 legislative session, is there one vote that you think helped your district the most, and if so what? One you wished would or would not have passed?

BROOKENS: The budget we passed helped this district immeasurably. (1) We avoided nursing homes having to close and prevented job losses in this sistrict; (2) The budget funded K-12 education at the same level as last year rather than cutting $172 million in funding, which had the effect of avoiding a property-tax increase imposed by local school districts. (3) The funding for this budget had less ?funny money? than the originally proposed budget, putting us on sounder footing; (4) We saved money, curiously, through increased funding of infirm people by keeping them out of institutional living (a costly alternative).

As for the second question, I wish we would have overridden the governor?s veto of the abortion reporting bill. It was designed to require more accurate reporting by doctors of the circumstances of late-term abortions. It would have made it nearly impossible to evasively report facts surrounding abortions.

I voted for the bill and voted in favor of overriding the veto, but it failed. I do expect it will come up again next year.

*?*?*

? If the state faces another budget year with projected deficits, in what way(s) could the state increase revenue that would be acceptable/desirable to you?

BROOKENS: What would be acceptable? I would prefer cuts through procedures set out in Question 2 instead of increasing revenue. Having said that, to answer your question, I would prefer eliminating exemptions and credits?there are several with no apparent value to economic growth, but are still granted?to any tax increase.

*?*?*

? If budget cuts are required this coming session, which three priorities/programs would you protect from further cuts, and which three priorities/programs you would nominate for additional cuts?

BROOKENS: To protect: First, pre-kindergarten programs are so valuable I would protect them first?a healthy start sets a child on a road to success, not failure, and we reap financial results with substantially less special education costs and ultimately a better-prepared workforce.

Second, K-12 basic education must be protected because our children?s education is our ?tomorrow,? too. Statistics tell us education is the key to so many things that it cannot be scuttled or delayed.

Third, take care of the elderly who have no means of caring for themselves. Even in the 1930s we provided homes for the aged who had nowhere to go.

To cut: We should re-evaluate what parts of Medicaid funding are essential and which create a ?better life.? If we have to cut again, ?better life? is trumped by necessities?and probably shouldn?t have been funded anyway. Medicaid funding of hospice care has grown nine-fold in about five years and the reimbursement rules must be curbed. Hospice is an honorable ?service,? but something is out of kilter in its cost.

*?*?*

? Do you believe state funding for K-12 public education should be increased or decreased from the current level? What leads you to believe that?

BROOKENS: Right now, I don?t think it can be increased?we don?t have the money and now is not the time to raise taxes to do so.

Given a better economy, we ought to increase it. We were beginning to see the fruits of our increased school funding with better-informed principals, increased test scores, better retention rates, partially brought about through a new program of support systems for teachers and students.

Had the economy not tanked, I think we would be seeing amazing results from that program. Funding it and insisting on its full implementation takes money we don?t have.

*?*?*

? What two or three things could the Kansas Legislature do?or not do?in the next two years that would have the most positive economic impact in the 70th District?

BROOKENS: We could look at our overall tax structure and re-balance it. Businesses are being killed by property taxes?owners get hit at the office and on their houses. While business owners understand their duty to pay their fair share, we ought not place an undue burden on them.

*?*?*

? In summary, tell us why Republicans should vote for you in the primary election instead of your opponent.

BROOKENS: I am beholden to no one other than the voters of this district. I may receive contributions beyond the district, but no one has run my campaigns but me.

What you got in the weekly column and two letters was my writing and no one else?s. I did not publish ?facts? created with smoke or mirrors. I have sought your input. I have listened, I believe I understand your frustrations and advocacies, and I respond to your inquiries. I have voted consistent with your calls, letters and survey answers.

I remain a pro-life man in all respects, and I?m a fiscal and social conservative Republican; I?m just not mad about it.


Cheryl Green

? Identify two or three life experiences that would make you an effective representative for the 70th District.

GREEN: I am a fifth generation Kansan and have lived in many parts of the state. My background is in agriculture, which gives me a particulary good perspective to represent the 70th District. I currently have two young children in the school system and personally know the challenges that face Kansas schools. I?m smart, tough and I have a stiff backbone that will allow me to fight for our best interests in Topeka.

*?*?*

? If elected, what is the one piece of legislation you believe is most important to the people in the 70th District?

GREEN: Bringing Kansas spending under control. At a time when Kansas families are struggling and 100,000 Kansans are out of jobs, the Legislature chose to increase spending by over $200 million, and increase the sales tax by 18 percent, while raising the salaries of state employees as much as 15 percent.

This irresponsible decision has made Kansas significantly less business friendly, will drive millions of dollars out of the state, and is going to cost Kansans millions in future revenue and even more in jobs.

*?*?*

? As you look back at the 2010 legislative session, is there one vote you would have given your 100 percent support, and if so what? Is there one you would have fought against with all your energy, and if so what? In each instance, why?

GREEN: Our representative claims to be pro life, and yet he voted against the bill that would further regulate abortions. I will vote on the side of life.

I would have fought against the current budget. The balanced budget went through the proper channels and committees, had public input, did not increase taxes, cut services to the elderly or disabled and took months to assemble, then was gutted in the house in 1.5 days. But mostly because the democratic process was hijacked, and it was passed in the wee hours of the morning.

Mr. Brookens again sided with the Democrats and passed it.

*?*?*

? If the state faces another budget year with projected deficits, in what way(s) could the state increase revenue that would be acceptable/desirable to you?

GREEN: I believe that by making Kansas a more business-friendly climate, we can increase Kansas revenue by encouraging business to come to the state versus leaving the state.

Currently, Hawker Beechcraft is looking to move from Wichita to louisiana or Mississippi because the business climate in those states is far superior to that of Kansas.

I don?t think that increasing taxes does anything but burden the people and drive jobs out of state, thus ultimately causing a continual loss in Kansas revenue.

*?*?*

? If budget cuts are required this coming session, which three priorities/programs would you protect from further cuts, and which three priorities/programs you would nominate for additional cuts?

GREEN: I would like to see current spending levels maintained if at all possible. During times of recession, everyone should be expected to tighten their belts, and I know that there is significant overlap in several state programs. I’d like to see an audit that identifies duplicate programs, and deletes those programs to eliminate waste.

I think we also need to prioritize our spending to those programs that are essential to the immediate welfare of Kansas citizens.

*?*?*

? Do you believe state funding for K-12 public education should be increased or decreased from the current level? What leads you to believe that?

GREEN: I do not advocate increased spending during a recession. Spending for most Marion County schools has increased 30 percent in the past five years.

Our current representative voted against assuring that 65 percent of that funding makes it directly to the classroom (House sub for SB572).

Currently, Kansas schools have a $1.135 billion cash balance on hand, a portion of which could be reprioritized as schools deem necessary to help them get through any budget shortfall. (Statistics are available from Kansas Department of Education.)

*?*?*

? What two or three things could the Kansas Legislature do?or not do?in the next two years that would have the most positive economic impact in the 70th District?

GREEN: Reduce the tax burden on Kansas families and make Kansas one of the most friendly states in which to do business.

If we can increase Kansas ability to attract businesses, jobs will follow as will revenue and prosperity.

*?*?*

? In summary, tell us why Republicans should vote for you in the primary election instead of your opponent.

GREEN: Time and time again, Mr. Brookens has voted with the Democrats on issues that are a fundamental part of the Republican platform. He?s increased taxes, increased spending and voted on issues against life and yet he presents himself as a ?traditional, pro-life conservative.?

I believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, economic growth and personal property rights and, above all, the Constitution.


Meet the candidates for County Commission, First District

Bob Hein

? Identify three life experiences that would make you an effective county commissioner for the First District.

HEIN: I was a farmer first. I have owned my own tank and filling service, delivering gas to the community and surrounding areas. I ran my own propane business. I started and ran my own wholesale tire business.

All of these experiences have helped me reach out to the community to meet the needs of the people in various ways.

*?*?*

? How would you (or do you) balance your obligation as the First District representative to (1) advocate for the interests of the voters and communities within your district, and (2) represent the interests of the entire county?

HEIN: (1) I balance my obligations by making myself readily available to all of my constituents. I am continuously out and about in the community, talking with people and listening to concerns.

(2) I am constantly available to anyone in the Marion County area to help with concerns that community members have, regardless of the issue.

*?*?*

? What would you initiate or support to improve the condition of roads and bridges in Marion County?

HEIN: Maintain a work force that is trained to handle the problems that arise in the county. Keeping enough funds in the budget to handle the problems and upgrade the county roads without raising taxes.

*?*?*

? What role should the county commission play when it comes to economic-development initiatives for Marion County?

HEIN: The county commissioners need to continue our roles of offering leadership and discretion to the economic development department.

Economic challenges are continuously arising due to the recession that the country has fallen in. These challenges have provided hardship to business owners resulting in a loss of growth.

We are working diligently to improve the quality in growth that business owners need in order for the community to thrive and be successful.

Marion County has been providing micro-loans for start-up businesses and expansion of prior businesses by investing funds into the initial program.

Recently, Marion County has invested funding in the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant for business loans, which will be continued in the future.

Also, we are working with the communities to sustain the excellent quality of life that brings families here.

*?*?*

? If major funding related to the TransCanada pipeline does not materialize for Marion County, what would you propose as the solution to the ongoing jail issue?

HEIN: We have continuously been making improvements to the county jail and its facilities. These improvements have been made without relying on the possibilities of funds from the TransCanada pipeline.

This has been an ongoing process, but no matter how it turns out we will make improvements and updates as needed until the jail and its facilities are brought up to state standards.

*?*?*

? Would Marion County be better served by hiring a professional manager/admini?strator or by maintaining the current commission-management structure? Why?

HEIN: I feel the current system works well for Marion County having a commission-management structure. I believe this works because we have a team of trusted and highly qualified individuals who support the commission-management structure. If you were to hire a manager/administrator it could become very costly and cause taxes to increase.

*?*?*

? What can county government do to help preserve the future of Marion Reservoir as an economic asset (recreation and tourism) and a major source for drinking water?

HEIN: We must continue to support efforts made by WRAPS (Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy). This program has the continued support from many other agencies as such: K-State Research and Extension, Kansas Department of Health and Environment), Kansas Association of Conser?vation and Environment Education, EPA Section 319 Non-point Source Pollution Control Program, Natural Resource Conservation Service and Flint Hills RC&D.

We will continue to market the reservoir for recreational opportunities for individuals and families locally and across the state.

*?*?*

? With our population in decline, name two or three things the Board of Commissioners could do (or does) to make Marion County a more attractive place for people to live, work and play.

HEIN: Marion County needs to continue creating a warm and inviting community for families. This can be done in many ways. For example, we need to keep the towns clean and accessible with sidewalks and amenities for all families to enjoy.

Marion County is very appealing to many families due to its low crime rates and the excellent school districts and church activities for families of all types. If we continue to improve and expand on local businesses this will also help to increase the families that join our communities.


Roger Fleming

? Identify three life experiences that would make you an effective county commissioner for the First District.

FLEMING: First, my experience in leadership with the fire service has given me the tools to work with others in making important decisions in stressful situations.

Second, having served in various business and organizational leadership roles, I understand the importance of good employee relations and the need for proper maintenance of buildings and equipment.

Third, as a resident and active business owner in Marion County, I understand the issues and concerns relating to living and working in our community.

*?*?*

? How would you balance your obligation as the First District representative to (1) advocate for the interests of the voters and communities within your district, and (2) represent the interests of the entire county?

FLEMING: While it is true that the county commissioners are to represent the districts from which they have been elected, their job is to make intelligent decisions for the good of the entire county. Marion County has about 10 communities with an estimated population of 12,5000 people. It would be irresponsible for any one commissioner to lobby for all county resources to be spent in his or her district.

At the same time, the residents of each district need to elect a competent advocate to voice their issues and concerns for the decision-making body of the county.

*?*?*

? What would you initiate or support to improve the condition of roads and bridges in Marion County?

Fleming: I would only support new improvements as budgets allow. I?believe we must ensure that our present roads and bridges are safe and properly maintained. For example, we should never compromise safety by using inferior materials to chip and seal our highways.

Our roadways are the first impression people get as they travel into and through our county. I would advocate for scheduled maintenance of our roads and bridges on a rotating basis.

*?*?*

? What role should the county commission play when it comes to economic-development initiatives for Marion County?

FLEMING: A county-wide economic-development program is difficult to administer in that the needs and goals of each community vary. However, a facet of economic development that affects the entire county is tourism. The reservoir attracts some 400,000 visitors each year from across the county. I believe the county commission must be intentional in promoting the county at fairs and tourism shows.

*?*?*

? If major funding related to the TransCanada pipeline does not materialize for Marion County, what would you propose as the solution to the ongoing jail issue?

FLEMING: We all recognize that our county jail is outdated and something needs to be done. In my opinion, we cannot afford a large, elaborate facility that causes the county to be in ?business? to pay for it. We need a facility to take care of the immediate needs of county prisoners. If needed, we can send out long-term prisoners to other ?pay to stay? facilities in our area.

If the TransCanada pipeline does not provide the resources needed, our choices may be to cut county services or increase our taxes to cover our obligations.

*?*?*

? Would Marion County be better served by hiring a professional manager/admini?strator or by maintaining the current commission-management structure? Why?

FLEMING: The current management structure has served us well for many years. However, we are now living in a complex political and business environment. Perhaps our county should look at what an administrator could bring to the table.

I see the commission as a policy-making body having the big picture in mind. As administrator may be able to handle day-to-day operations with greater efficiency. Both Hillsboro and Marion have smaller budgets than the county, yet both have city administrators to assist in taking care of daily operations. A good administrator may benefit the county by finding resources otherwise untapped.

*?*?*

? What can county government do to help preserve the future of Marion Reservoir as an economic asset (recreation and tourism) and a major source for drinking water?

FLEMING: This is related to the question regarding our county roads. With a large number of people visiting the reservoir each year, we must have safe and properly maintained roads. Many people have vehicles pulling boats and/or RVs, which are expensive; they are reluctant to travel on poorly maintained roadways.

The county commission needs to cooperate with the Corps of Engineers and others to find ways to estimate unwanted runoff contaminating our water supply and filling the reservoir with sediment.

*?*?*

? With our population in decline, name two or three things the Board of Commissioners could do (or does) to make Marion County a more attractive place for people to live, work and play.

FLEMING: Marion County is located in the middle of a million people within a one-hour drive. It is important that we make sure we maintain our communities so people will be attracted to us.

The county is proactive in offering tax abatements for business and residential construction. Without an available workforce, we will not be able to support new business.

An increased county valuation from new business and residential construction will enable us to have funding for maintenance and offer better service to county residents.

?


?

BLAINE: Tampa Senior Center

BURNS (city): Burns Community Center

CATLIN: Peabody Senior Center

CATLIN (city): Peabody Senior Center

CENTRE (part south, all north): Emmanuel Baptist Church, Marion

CENTRE (part south): Our Savior Lutheran Church, Marion

CLARK: Lincolnville Community Center

CLEAR CREEK: Lincolnville Community Center

COLFAX: Tampa Senior Center

DOYLE: Florentine Senior Center, Florence

DURHAM (city): Tampa Senior Center

DURHAM PARK: Tampa Senior Center

EAST BRANCH (part): Goessel AGAPE Senior Center

EAST BRANCH (part): Peabody Senior Center

FAIRPLAY (part): Florentine Senior Center, Florence

FAIRPLAY (part): Peabody Senior Center

FLORENCE (city): Florentine Senior Center, Florence

GALE: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Marion

GOESSEL (city): Goessel AGAPE Senior Center

GRANT: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Marion

HILLSBORO 1ST (West): Hillsboro City Building

HILLSBORO 2ND (East): United Methodist Church, Hillsboro

LEHIGH (city): Hillsboro City Building

LEHIGH: Hillsboro City Building

LIBERTY: United Methodist Church, Hillsboro

LINCOLNVILLE (city): Lincolnville Community Center

LOGAN: Tampa Senior Center

LOST SPRINGS: Lincolnville Community Center

LOST SPRINGS (city): Lincolnville Community Center

MARION (North city): Emmanuel Baptist Church, Marion

MARION (South city): Our Savior Lutheran Church, Marion

MENNO: Goessel AGAPE Senior Center

MILTON: Burns Community Center

MOORE: Tampa Senior Center

PEABODY (city): Peabody Senior Center

RAMONA (city): Tampa Senior Center

RISLEY: Hillsboro City Building

SUMMIT: Burns Community Center

tampa (city): Tampa Senior Center

WEST BRANCH: Goessel AGAPE Senior Center

WILSON: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Marion

?

Ballots will vary on some items according to city and township. For simplicity of presentation, we are displaying the Democratic and Republican ballots Liberty Township, Marion County District 1. Ballots for other precincts may list different candidates for state school board as well as township and precinct positions.

UNAFFILIATED VOTERS CAN VoTE<p>IN THE KANSAS PRIMARY ELECTION<p>Contrary to the belief of many Kansas residents, registered voters unaffiliated with a political party can vote in the primary election. Since 2004, Kansas has had an open primary for the Democratic Party and a closed primary for the Republican Party. An open primary for the Democratic Party means unaffiliated voters may choose to vote Democratic without affiliating with the Democratic Party. A closed primary for the Republican Party means unaffiliated voters may vote if they officially affiliate with the Republican Party.

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