GOP candidates for 70th District make their primary case


With the Aug. 5 primary less than two weeks away, the Free Press will introduce the candidates competing for their party nominations?all of which happen to be Republicans. With this issue we feature the candidates for the 70th District sat in Topeka. We asked each candidate to respond to the same three questions with a limit of 300 words per answer.

Bob Brookens, Marion, has been an attorney in Marion County for 30 years. The firm of Brookens & Collett has offices in Marion and Hillsboro

Bob Brookens

QUESTION: What life experiences or personal qualities prepare you to be an effective state representative?

As a young man growing up in Westmoreland, a town of about 450 in those days, I developed my values through church and church activities, and through Boy Scouts. I earned my God and Country and Eagle Scout awards at 15.

The values and commitments I learned during that time of my life have influenced me and guided me ever since. Those values are to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

I also learned to work for the common good, and not look selfishly at my own interests. For 30 years in Marion County, I have been active in my church; for 25 of my 30 years in Marion County, I have worked with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, trying to pass on what I had gained in my youth.

I have been an attorney in Marion County for 30 years, and daily I analyze and evaluate information I receive from clients, other attorneys and other sources (both verbal and written). I also negotiate matters between parties regularly. Part of my job is to get people to reach agreement on the tough issues.

I believe the skills I possess as an attorney, as well as the qualities I gained while growing up in Westmoreland, have prepared me to be an effective representative for the 70th District.


QUESTION: What three issues do you see as being most critical for the future of Kansas as a whole? And, in a nutshell, what strategy, outcome or objective do you see as the best ?solution? to that issue?

Education: Kansas was built on public education; Kansas will thrive or fail on public education. The legislature has under-funded education, and because of that, local option budgets have been raised by school boards sometimes simply to pay salaries and patch roofs. This raises local real property taxes.

Adequate state funding of education is likely to lower local funding, and therefore lower real property taxes in the 70th District, under the current formula. We want to keep strong teachers and attract new strong teachers into education.

Energy: Kansas has wide open spaces and many distances to travel, so energy costs and conservation must be topics we address. Kansas can be part of the future by using a variety of energy sources. We are the No. 3 state in favorable conditions for wind energy; our summers are ideal for solar energy generation.

We have the prospect for a coal-fired plant which, if built efficiently and cleanly, will provide electricity for the future. The proposed untried technology deserves to be tried; if it fails, there must be an alternative plan to address possible pollution.

We are talking about Kansas? economic viability, not only whether a coal-fired plant should be built. Kansas should use a mix of energy sources, and capitalize on those which are our natural strengths.

Attitude: We need a legislature that looks for the common good, a legislature that is less cranky and divisive. I appreciated the debate over the coal plant at Holcomb; the topic was important to Kansans, but the tone of the debate was problematic. It seemed to be about attacking the opponent, not setting out or explaining issues. I had to dig to discover the real issues and real problems of each side.


QUESTION: What is one thing you can do as a state representative that would help the 70th District grow economically and/or in population?

What we all dream of is living in a thriving, healthy small Kansas community. We need viable businesses on main street and job opportunities in small-town Kansas to service rural areas and keep them as attractive places to raise families?our youth need something to come back to?a reason to stay.

Quality of life issues are what bring people to and keep people in rural Kansas: quality schools with a chance to participate, good health care and good jobs.

I can encourage, and hopefully cause, Kansas? economic development dollars to be spent in rural Kansas, not in cities or in bedroom communities to cities (e.g. Paola?great town, but a bedroom community to Kansas City, essentially).

Rural Kansas lags behind cities in growth, health care, job creation and in some cases, educational opportunities. Tax incentives and economic development dollars geared to truly rural areas, such as District 70, would assist with economic development.

As representative, I can assist in defining or re-defining rural development to meet specific criteria to accomplish these goals.

Roger Hannaford lives in Marion and is president of Hannaford Title and Abstract Co. there.

Roger Hannaford

QUESTION: What life experiences or personal qualities prepare you to be an effective state representative?

I am president of Hannaford Abstract and Title Co. It has been a family business for 137 years. Being a business owner has given me an enormous amount of experience in fiscal responsibility, managing, adapting and overseeing health care costs for employees and understanding the tax burden on small businesses.

I am a lifelong resident of Marion County, graduate of Marion High School and Kansas State University. I have been married to Sally (Ferguson) for 29 years and we have three children and one grandson.

I have served eight years on the USD 408 School Board, I have been involved in community organizations and held numerous offices. I am past president of the Marion Kiwanis Club and past lieutenant governor of the Kansas district. I am a member and elder of the Presbyterian Church. I am presently executive board member of the Kansas Land Title Association.

I am running for state representative because I am passionate about the issues that face us today.

I am a strong leader and will listen to what you want for our 70th District. I feel comfortable communicating your ideas in Topeka to make necessary changes to make our lives and state better. I will lead with honesty and integrity. I will be available to hear your con?cerns. I will make common-sense decisions to benefit all of us.


QUESTION: What three issues do you see as being most critical for the future of Kansas as a whole? And, in a nutshell, what strategy, outcome or objective do you see as the best ?solution? to that issue?

Economic development. We must make Kansas competitive in attracting and retaining businesses. We can do that by:

n lowering the Kansas business tax burden;

n re-examining incentives for bringing and keeping business in the state;

n creating regional foundations to administer a regional business development fund to carry out economic development projects. The majority of the money in the fund would be spent on job creation and retention and no more than 10 percent on administrative costs.

Education. We must continue adequate funding for quality education. In addition, I would favor:

n creating a Special Education Funding Task Force.

n changing the state finance formula to make taxation more equitable to less advantage districts.

n developing a support structure that will assist schools that are not meeting the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

n legislating state assessments.

Energy: We need affordable, reliable and abundant energy. To achieve that we should:

n actively pursue the use and further development of wind and solar energy.

n construct additional coal plants using modern and innovative technology that will be safe for our environment.

Kansas must become energy independent. We need an energy policy to avoid increasing costs as we are presently experiencing with our fuel prices. We need to be proactive before we experience an energy crisis.


QUESTION: What is one thing you can do as a state representative that would help the 70th District grow economically and/or in population?

I would support the Kansas Commission on Rural Policy. This commission will be tasked with developing recommendations for rural economic development based on the following four points:

n Fostering leadership;

n Youth retention;

n Promoting and financing rural entrepreneurship through the coordination of existing programs;

n Wealth retention and generation.

This is one of the programs we need to embrace in rural Kansas. The four points are crucial for the development and economic survival of small towns in Kansas. We must work to expand existing businesses and be open and aggressive in the pursuit of new business opportunities for our towns.

I feel this all works hand in hand. If we have jobs in our communities, either by expansion or new jobs, our communities grow, our school system will grow and flourish once again, and you will have a healthy community where people want to live and raise their family. You are stabilizing the economy, education, health care industry, retail and the quality of life.

Bill Spangler, Burns, is a retired laboratory scientist and administrator.

Bill Spangler

QUESTION: What life experiences or personal qualities prepare you to be an effective state representative?

I have earned bachelor of science, master of science (two) and doctorate degrees in microbiology, microbial physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology.

Also, many years of laboratory and administrative experience has qualified me in environmental science and toxicology.

I worked and paid all educational expenses without benefit of loans or scholarships. I do owe citizens and taxpayers for their contribution to my education, which I will repay in part by serving the constituents of District 70.

I know and understand the agricultural issues, energy requirements, educational problems and needs and, by virtue of my education, background and hands on experience, I can help solve the problems facing Kansans in a real-life manner.

Having 35 years of actual research and administration experience in working with water supply, pollution control, sewage, water and wastewater testing, consumer product testing, research into environmental mercury pollution and abatement, agricultural pesticides, toxicology studies, I am well suited to address legislation in some of these same areas.

I am against illegal immigration and am very much pro-education. I will strive to improve education for our kids, and not only to make the system more economical and efficient but to aid our children in schools to better deal with life?s issues and to face the future with hope and by way of preparation.


QUESTION: What three issues do you see as being most critical for the future of Kansas as a whole? And, in a nutshell, what strategy, outcome or objective do you see as the best ?solution? to that issue?

Three critical issues for the future of Kansas are the education of our children, to encourage and sustain agriculture and agribusiness and to provide for more plentiful and economical energy without undue stress on the environment.

Some additional monies may be needed in the future for education, but for now attention to efficiency, curriculum and tenure of teachers can offset some of the immediate need for more funding.

In the short term we must increase available power by the startup of some clean, efficient, coal-fired generating plants as well as research and application of solar energy and wind power for our state. These can pay for themselves while contributing to the economy and workforce in Kansas.

Ethanol and biofuels are a big concern. Fuel alcohol helps with the oil supply and should be important in the future. But humans and livestock are competing for the cereal grains used to produce alcohol, necessitating the need for cheap alternate feedstocks such as cellulose from grass, weeds, paper and wood.

Also with research, planning and good management, some of the wastes from the process can be converted to animal feedstuffs.

Along these same lines, agriculture and agribusiness needs stimulation, education and research to increase production of cereal grains, livestock and other farm commodities.


QUESTION: What is one thing you can do as a state representative that would help the 70th District grow economically and/or in population?

We need to encourage and develop business in Kansas in conjunction with improved education and understanding of problems by our youth. We need to encourage our youth to stay in Kansas and to use their knowledge and skills to promote and expand business.

We need to develop, sustain and conserve our water supplies and resources so that plenty may be available to encourage new business to establish and current business to expand.

Work needs to be done on other areas of the state infastructure to acquire and sustain new businesses.

I can help as a state legislator by contributing my knowledge and skills to promote and sponsor legislation that will not only promote business and employment but to help promote other areas of interest as well.

As your candidate, I have the time and motivation to help in any way that I can. My family is grown, I am retired and I have the experience to apply myself to accomplishing goals and needs of Kansans.

I also do not have a business that requires my time to keep going or expand, so I can direct those energies to Kansas legislative work.

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