EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of stories on the League of Women Voters of Great Bend Public Forum Tuesday night at the Crest Theater in Great Bend. This part covers the Kansas House of Representatives Dist. 113 race, and the unopposed candidate for the Dist. 112.
Republican candidates running for the 113th District of the Kansas House of Representatives are incumbent Greg Lewis and Jon Prescott. Tory Arnberger is unopposed as she seeks election in the 112th District, since John Edmonds will not seek re-election. All three introduced themselves Tuesday at the Great Bend League of Women Voters Forum. Here are some highlights from their comments.
Lewis: “Like many of you who have served on committees and boards, you simply saw a need and stepped up to serve. That’s the way it was with me. ... The state I love is being dismantled one bill at a time — I am an independent voice that can stand up to Topeka lobbyists.”
Prescott was born in Great Bend, where he lived for many years. He now lives in Ellinwood and is running for state representative because, “it’s an opportunity to give back to the State of Kansas and its residents because it’s been so good to me. And to bring some fiscal stability back to the state.”
Arnberger, Great Bend, is a Fort Hays State University graduate. “I’m excited to listen to you guys. I want to be a voice for you and I hope to work for you as your next state representative.”
Each candidate answered two questions, drawn from a bowl. They did not see questions prior to the forum.
Lewis drew the question: Do you think it is ethical for state government to use the highway fund to borrow money, which by law state government cannot do, and transfer that money to the state’s general fund to help balance the state’s budget?
“I have never voted to do this, to transfer money out of the (Kansas Department of Transportation) into the state general fund.” He said $400 million in highway bonds were swept into the general fund two years ago. “My grandchildren are still going to be paying that bill.” Reform is needed, he said.
Arnberger’s question: Do you favor the idea proposed in the Senate that is should be easier to impeach a Supreme Court justice than to impeach a member of the Legislature or the governor?
“I am not in favor of this idea because we are a three-branch government.”
Prescott’s question: Do you support the gun laws passed in the last few years?
“Yes, I do. I’m a strong advocate for our Second Amendment. ... The right to bear arms is a Constitutional right.”
Arnberger: Do you support the bill that allows the state to control whether local governments can raise taxes?
“No I do not support this bill. We have local governments for a reason and need to utilize their powers.”
Lewis: Do you approve of the idea that school districts must purchase their supplies through the state?
“No. Our local businesses do a lot to support our communities and our schools. ... To take the local businesses out of the loop ... is just not right, and I would strongly oppose it.”
Prescott: Are you in favor of retaining the 2012 tax plan that has allowed the wealthiest in the state to have the biggest income tax reductions, raised taxes for the poorest taxpayers, and allowed companies who are classified as LLCs to pay no taxes?
“I am totally confused with the tax reform act of 2012. ... We all need to pay our fair share. ... Very simply, no. It definitely needs to be re-looked at. It needs to be rethought – possibly not totally repealed, because some of the middle class income folks did get some tax relief and some of the lower income folks as well. But it definitely needs to be look at for the LLCs paying no taxes.”