- My professional career began as a broadcast journalist, including work as an on-air reporter and newsroom manager at KWCH-TV in Wichita
- For much of the past 25 years I have been self-employed as a writer, consultant and film producer on behalf of businesses, non-profits, and municipalities
- B.A. in Mass Communications, with Minors in English and Political Science
My wife Cindy and I have been married for 31 years and together we have raised five children in District 85, including a son with special needs. My widowed mother also lives in our home under our care. Three members of my family are teachers–two daughters and a son-in-law. Our children have attended Wichita public schools and Catholic schools. Our youngest son currently attends daily high school welding classes at WATC.
What is your plan to deal with the Kansas Budget?
The Kansas economy is under pressure on many fronts: 1) A lackluster national economy, and 2) a Kansas commodities economy–oil & gas and grain–that many believe is in a recession. In addition, approximately 10,000 aerospace jobs have been lost since 2008. All of these “outside factors” contribute to intense pressure on the Kansas Budget.
While I have not signed a “no new taxes” pledge, I want to first look at how we can reduce spending and inefficiencies in State Government as identified in the A&M Efficiency Study.
What kind of changes do you support in rewriting the school funding formula? Do you support additional funding for Kansas schools?
The school funding formula is highly complex due to taxpayer-funded lawsuits and a diverse system in Kansas that includes rural and urban schools, rich and poor communities-among other factors. Perhaps the most disconcerting situation is the achievement gap between low income students and everyone else. This is an unacceptable disservice to citizens as the quality of education should not be based on zip code. Discussion about a new funding formula and additional school funding–already at record high levels–should be the responsibility of the Legislature and not the courts. This discussion should include all stakeholders–the current Education Establishment as well as ideas outside of this specific viewpoint. Benchmarks for progress can and should be set. My bottom line question in terms of school funding is simply this: How much more money might be needed, and what can Kansas taxpayers expect as a result of any investment?
What is your number one priority for the upcoming legislative session and how do you plan to address it?
The Kansas Economy and our ability to attract businesses and create high paying jobs and more taxpayers is my #1 priority. Doing whatever I can to create and/or enhance a business-friendly environment is crucial. As an “emergency” measure, we need to restore the 4 % Medicaid reimbursement cuts for the providers of services to the disabled, elderly and mentally ill made by the current Administration. My plan of preference in doing this is to increase the “privilege fee” paid by KanCare Insurance Companies, which will create enough revenue to restore these cuts.
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