The greatest investment we can make for the future of Kansas is in the education of our children. This happens when we hire the best and brightest teachers and support them fully. Every student and educator needs to have access to the resources they need, such as high-speed broadband, equipment, and technical support. Diminishing the digital divide in rural communities is essential – especially at this time in history. Even after students are able to return to the classroom, the need for new technology will continue to play an important role in high quality education. We need to level the playing field, and provide each and every student with the opportunities they need to succeed. I have the deepest respect and love for teachers. My mother-in-law, my wife, and my treasurer have collectively taught school for nearly a century. In truth, it’s the teachers, not the CEOs or politicians, who will change the course of history.
The working poor continue to be overlooked. 140,000 working Kansans make too much money to qualify for basic medical benefits, but not enough to afford ACA coverage. Expanding Medicaid will help not only this specific group of people, but all of Kansas. This expansion would bring an estimated 6.5 million dollars in revenue to Cowley County alone, money that will certainly help small, rural hospitals all across Kansas. Most states have already passed expanded Medicaid. If you’re standing still, you’re moving backwards.
With no clear solution for the pandemic, local leaders have been hard-pressed to find ways to ease the burdens placed on Kansans by these trying conditions. Without clear federal leadership or statewide regulations, it is up to us, as members of District 79, to make the hard decisions. We know our community members best and what our neighbors need. We have the ability to take care of one another; I promise to aid you all in any way I can. We need leaders that will actually lead, not just “pass the buck.”
Kansans’ can-do, entrepreneurial spirit has always been a hallmark and point of pride. Especially now in the face of COVID-19, it is important that we nurture and foster innovation. This imperative is also tied to the ever-growing economic disparity in our state. Figuring out how to support Kansans in creating new 21st century ideas will jump-start our economy.
People are struggling, now more than ever. We need to enact policy changes that will help support our communities. Taxing essential food items adds undue burden. Many states have already eliminated this tax. Kansas should follow suit.