Fort Scott, KS — Monday night at Fort Scott High School, starting promptly at 6pm, the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum. About 100 local citizens heard from many candidates who are on the ballot for the November 4th elections.
The evening kicked off with a welcome from Chamber Executive Director, Lindsay Madison and the forum was moderated by Larry Gazaway. Candidates were allowed two minutes to make opening and closing remarks and asked three questions chosen from public submissions.
The following are snippets from candidates remarks and responses throughout the evening.
U.S. House of Representatives
Margie Wakefield (D) Dysfunction in congress – Over 29 year’s experience as a lawyer, looking for solutions to complicated problems. Can take this experience to the US House is real ways to make real impact.
Lynn Jenkins (R) – Background in accounting and after serving Kansas, ran for US House of Representatives. We are making headway and looking forward to building on accomplishments so far.
- Should we continue investigating the IRS for targeting of political organizations?
LJ – Absolutely, this is one of the most disturbing mismanagement of the IRS. We will continue oversight. People shouldn’t be targeted for their political beliefs. We have oversight and will continue to move forward in accountability and seeking fair
MW – Shutting down the gov’t is not going to help us have an efficient gov’t. We need to work together to come up with a solution.
- Border issue – What is your definition of immigration reform?
Mw – I don’t not support full amnesty. We are not going to depart millions of people. We need to have a real conversation about immigration reform and we need to make them tax payers, quickly. Unfortunately, all the finger pointed is not helping.
LJ – This is a real concern with border security. Those in the House passed border security measure and is stuck in the Senate right now.
Pastor are being sued for not performing same-sex marriagin what protecgtion do they have
LJ- Tthe supreme court, has pretty much put this issue to bed. I anticipate this being a state issue and will land in the judicial branch.
MW – Scotus has sealed the deal, but most likely will fall to the states to decide.
Kansas Attorney General
AJ Kotich (D)
Remarks: Joined Marine Corp in 1969, became an officer and become part of JAG. Biggest issue right now is reducing cost; 8.3 million spent on private outside lawyers.
- Do you support ID voter laws?
We are here to support the constitution and enforce the laws on the books and that’s what I would do, regardless of my personal opinions.
- Clerks are issuing same sex marriage certificates, how would your office be involved in that?
We are here to support the constitution and that what I would do, regardless of my personal opinion.
- How would your administration be different from the current administration?
It would be run more efficiently, would cut spending and utilize the in house resources unless there was a conflict of interest with a case.
Kansas State Treasurer
Derek Kreifels, Assistant State Treasurer bring remarks on behalf of Ron Estes (R), State Treasurer
Manage 24 billion dollars a year. Over the last four years, through our unclaimed property division, has returned more than 60 million dollars to Kansas. This can be seen through www.kansascash.com. Ron Estes was the first elected treasure from Wichita, KS.
Kansas Commissioner of Insurance
How does party affiliation affect the job?
DA – It shouldn’t affect the job at all. We are elected to serve the gen. pub. and really need to serve the questions and protect the interest of all people. It’s regulated because there are large sums of money at stake.
KS – Should not be a political office at all. I’m a business man and will work to bring private business practice to this department.
- What is the most pressing issue
KS – there have been some long term people in this position. We have had officials for 24 hours – the pressing issues is the affordability and availability in coverage of home owners, affordable care act, etc. I’m not in favor of Obamacare, there are better ways to deal with the mandates.
DA –The most pressing issue is making sure the people have an advocate that best represent the people. Second, is that we need an office that will make sure to hold insurance companies accountable. 3rd thing – is to make sure we have a competent, efficient department.
Kansas House of Representatives District 4
1. Do you support raising taxes this next fiscal year and why?
MR – I don’t believe growing the government is good, but rather growing economy. Best thing the government can do is leave the creative business person alone.
LC – I paid no income tax this past year due to state policies to increase small business revenue, in theory to help business’ grow. However, we aren’t seeing revenue for the state increase and we need a new tax structure.
2. Should we require mandatory drug testing on all pregnant women?
MR – Doesn’t seem like the government needs to be involved in this.
LC – I believe this is too invasive procedure.
Bourbon County Commissioner – District #1
Clinton Walker (D) – Dist #1
8 good roads, life cycle replacement program, manage personnel with respect. Heavy on maintenance
Lynn Oharah (R) – Dist #1
- Gravel roads / dust control?
LO – Gravel roads are in poor shape, we need to have an aggressive program to address these road to protect the public and school vehicles.
CW – First thing is to apply more gravel on the roads, ditches cleaned out and mowed, keep all that road signs clear of obstructions.
- Economic development, what are your ideas
CW – Three things need continue improvement: education, good roads, workforce. If you have these areas continually improving, you will have businesses coming into our county
LO – Bourbon County has opportunities, but we need to have people dedicated to making proposals to draw business’ to BC. We have a great team, but they need more help to extend their outreach further.
- Bourbon County Jail is in disrepair – would you support, how big and how pay for it?
LO – Neither bond issue or tax increase is going to work. We are taxed to the max and the jail is in disrepair, something needs to be done. We don’t need to focus on the creature comforts, but we do need to make sure it’s safe. Put it on the ballot and let the people decide.
CW – 75 bed facility (build) or remodeled. Before we do anything, we need to have different options and present to the public. Once we have a unified approach and strategy then we need to put it on the ballot.
Bourbon County Sheriff
- As an admin, how would your admin be different?
MF – I would focus on building a team. Currently, there is not much teamwork and communication
BM – We are working to exchange information protocol on shift changes. We have established a new records information system.
- Illegal drugs, what are the plans to combat this?
BM – We need more personnel, so we can assign manpower to the hotspots and following up investigations. We are working with area agencies, but we still need additional manpower to combat these issues
MF – Worked many cases alone. I don’t receive much information on current cases or calls. We need to focus on what we have and make it work.
Where does $$ come from to provide more?
MF – Tax payers, yes, I would support a small tax increase.
MB – The best route is to work a plan with the commissioners to develop a strategies to release the funds. There are grants out there to increase personnel and other options. It’s critical to develop relationship with commissioners to ensure our citizens are getting proper security and safety.
Early voting has started at the courthouse already. For more information on the November 4th election, including a sample ballot, you can click here.
See you at the polls!