Gabriel Costilla (D-Kansas Senate District 16)


  • High School English Teacher
  • Bachelors in English
  • No previous political positions or military service


Married, one 8-year-old son, and two dogs.

What is your plan to deal with the Kansas Budget?

Our immediate budget issues, which Brownback and his cronies put us in, are going to require some tough cuts across the board, but unlike Brownback’s lackadaisical approach to budget and tax cuts, I will insist that we make well researched and fair tax cuts. This is a huge issue, and where my opponent will make cuts with the precision of a hacksaw, I plan on attacking the budget crisis with a razor-sharp scalpel.

In addition, my opponent and his allies in the Senate are responsible for the largest tax increase in Kansas history, and what makes it worse is that this tax increase (sales tax) predominantly affects working class families. Meanwhile, he also orchestrated tax cuts that predominantly benefit upper class Kansans and big business.
When I say, that I will work to reverse Brownback’s failed tax policy, I mean that I will decrease or eliminate sales tax, increase taxes on the upper class so that they pay their fair share, and eliminate the LLC loophole that enables certain businesses to pay no state taxes. Doing this will eventually lead to a budget surplus, enabling us to adequately fund vital state programs, and create jobs across the state.

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

I do not support the block formula, and while I know that the previous funding formula was complicated it was still better than our current formula. I would heed the advice of educators and experts in the field on this issue, but coming from the perspective of a teacher, I believe that our funding formula must look at the needs of each school according to their unique student body. I also know that we are not adequately funding our schools, and every day we spend arguing over the failed ideology of Brownback and his allies, is another failed opportunity to provide our children with the education they deserve and need.

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

My number one issue is reversing the Brownback tax plan, and bringing in new revenue to fund vital state programs and adequately fund public schools. Democrats in Kansas don’t have the luxury of a majority in the house or the senate. We know that we have to work across the aisle to accomplish anything of value, and that is just what I plan to do. Moderate Republicans have had enough of this disastrous tax policy, and together we can bring this state back from the brink of collapse.

WEBSITE | Gabriel Costilla for State Senate