Bonita L. Peterson (D-Kansas House District 120)


  • Born and raised in Colorado, moved to Kansas 13 years ago
  • Small painting business, painting houses, commercial buildings etc.
  • Past chair of the Rawlins County Democrats


I am the mother of two grown children. My mother and I share a home in rural NW Kansas.

What is your plan to deal with the Kansas Budget?

The tax cuts have to go. I will work tirelessly to restructure our revenue system with the average working citizen being my top priority. I am a firm believer that every person has an obligation to contribute. Anyone who benefits from collected tax money should be contributing. Entitlement goes both ways. Those able-bodied people who will not work yet expect to reap the benefit from those who do, as well as those who use the benefits at a much higher rate than the average citizen all should be required to contribute. Using a trucking company as an example, they are using the roads much more frequently, causing greater wear and tear with trucks than the family car person, and having many, many vehicles on the road vs one. For them to not contribute to funding roads is unfair to the folks working hard and paying the taxes that provide and repair those roads. Every one of us need to contribute to the well-being of our state. We all need to invest in the future of our state. It has become very clear that the average working citizens are not able to provide free benefits to all the businesses in Kansas.

What kind of changes do you support in rewriting the school funding formula? Do you support additional funding for Kansas schools?

A lack of transparency leaves all of us wondering what the solution will be. Our current leaders are not providing us with accurate data to work with. In my opinion there are a couple of rules of thumb that are always effective. The first one is to look at our own past as well as the record of other states and use models that have a proven record of effective policies. We must also look at what has not worked and not do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Kansas at one time had well-funded, excellent schools so it is my belief we can do that again, with the proper policies. I believe in complete transparency and public involvement. I think there is room for trimming on virtually all budgets however indiscriminate slashing of every area is unacceptable and ineffective. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul will never solve our problems. My children have been grown for sometime and school systems have change drastically since my ki ds attended school, however having observed schools for decades I feel comfortable saying there are better ways than our current system. Taking the retirement funds from people who have devoted their lives to our children is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately. Publicly funding schools is one of the main reasons we have always been the envy of the world. Without educated citizens that way of life is seriously jeopardized. I do believe we need to put additional funding into our schools or at very least replace what has been taken. Our children are one the top of my list of people worthy of my support. I don’t mind for one second contributing to our children’s education, they are our future.

What is your number one priority for the upcoming legislative session and how do you plan to address it?

The economy. We are experiencing problems in so many areas that it is next to impossible to choose just one. However, almost all of our problem are a result of poor financial management. Attempting to fix our economic situation will allow for the repair of our schools, health care, services for the elderly and disabled, etc.. We must address our economic situation if there is any hope for solving our other problems.

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