- VP Government Affairs for Westar Energy. I have worked for Westar Energy for 37 years, beginning at the Wolf Creek Generating Station
- Graduated from Garden City High School and Garden City Community College before attending Emporia State University, earning a B.S. and M.S. in aquatic biology
- This will be my first elected government position
I have been married to my wife, Angie, for 34 years. We have two adult children, Ben and Gretchen. Angie runs the Cradle to Career Literacy Center in Emporia.
What is your plan to deal with the Kansas Budget?
Unbalanced tax policies have created the gap between the budget and actual revenues. We should return to a balanced approach that doesn’t shift all of the burden onto sales and property taxes. Reliance on borrowing, fund sweeps and delayed payments to support the budget should stop. We should develop tax policies that are broad-based where everyone pays their fair share, including amending the LLC loophole that unfairly gives tax breaks to some while others pay more.
What kind of changes do you support in rewriting the school funding formula? Do you support additional funding for Kansas schools?
We need a new school finance formula to replace the current block grant program. The forthcoming decision by the Kansas Supreme Court on the adequacy of school funding will have an impact on the new formula, and after that decision is released, I will work to ensure our schools are funded appropriately. I would support additional funding for schools, which further necessitates the need for a fair and sustainable tax policy.
What is your number one priority for the upcoming legislative session and how do you plan to address it?
The state’s budget would be my number one priority as it affects the many critical needs in our state, such as schools, higher education, mental health, health care, infrastructure. This would include creating fair and sustainable tax policies. This transformation will take time, but we need to begin in 2017 so our state can stabilize and grow.