HPPR Government & Politics

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Politics:
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Meet 7 Candidates For Kansas Governor

Jul 24, 2018

Kansas is electing a governor this year, a pick that'll go a long way in deciding what direction the state goes on school funding, health care, gun control, taxes and spending.  

The Republican primary field tilts to the right, with the contenders tussling over whose credentials and attitude would be the most effective in fulfilling a conservative agenda. Democrats voting on Aug. 7 have to wrangle with whether to go moderate or hold tight to a progressive platform.

Host Steve Kraske interviewed the leading candidates from both parties on KCUR’s Up To Date. 

If there’s one common refrain from nearly all of the Kansas candidates for governor — Republicans and Democrats — it’s support for the Second Amendment.

The punishment was swift for a Republican state senator who crossed party lines to endorse a Democrat trying to unseat Congressman Kevin Yoder.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, a moderate from Mission Hills, Wednesday morning threw her support behind educator Tom Niermann, one of six Democrats running in the August primary.

Creative Commons

The former lawyer for the Oklahoma State Department of Health is facing felony charges for allegedly emailing herself threatening messages.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, Julie Ezell is accused of sending threats to her own government email account, regarding the state’s new medical marijuana law. Ezell then alerted health department investigators of the threats.

The Kansas Democratic party hasn’t had a gubernatorial primary since 1998. The unfamiliar competition this year is forcing Democrats across the state to wrestle with their identity ahead of the Aug. 7 election.

Should their nominee be a candidate who aligns strictly with the progressive ideals of the party platform, or someone with broader appeal? Do they go with experience and name recognition, or youthful exuberance?

Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a boost in his run for Kansas governor from Donald Trump Jr. at an event Tuesday night in Wichita.

As the crowd cheered "U-S-A! U-S-A!," Kobach introduced Trump as a man who "needs no introduction."

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

Seven Texas Republicans In Congress Just Got Outraised By Their Democratic Rivals

Jul 17, 2018
The Texas Tribune

Candidates for Congress recently filed their second-quarter fundraising reports. In some districts, Democratic candidates raised more than double what the Republican incumbents reported.

From The Texas Tribune:

Tooling through parades in a flag-themed Jeep with a faux machine gun mounted on the back apparently wasn’t enough for Secretary of State Kris Kobach to win over the National Rifle Association in the Kansas governor’s race

The country’s largest and most influential gun lobby on Monday instead endorsed Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer in his Republican primary. That left Kobach claiming that he still has the backing of grassroots gun rights voters.

The NRA said its endorsement reflected Colyer’s “strong support for the Second Amendment and the hunting heritage of Kansas.”

From Texas Standard:

Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke wants to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. O'Rourke's campaign has enjoyed record fundraising success, and he's a star among national Democrats. But to win, he needs to generate excitement among potential voters, especially those who don't normally turn out to vote in Texas elections.

A restructuring of how Kansas hires agencies to manage foster care and adoptions could allow widespread exclusion of placements with gay parents — a revelation Monday that prompted objections from some lawmakers.

A revival of rural Kansas can come from drawing businesses and housing to the centers of small cities and by building better highways, gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly said Monday.

In a plan she says could invigorate rural areas, the Democrat also calls for propping up small grocery stores, expanding Medicaid coverage, reopening state offices closed in recent years and fixing deteriorating housing in those areas.

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. "We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred."

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn't support a tax increase.

Ben Kuebrich / High Plains Public Radio

At a Republican governor candidate forum in Garden City, Wednesday, former doctor Jim Barnett said expanding Medicaid would save lives and communities – by keeping rural hospitals running. But he was alone in his support of the state and federal program that defrays medical costs for people with limited income and resources.

Other candidates decried Medicaid's cost and the management of Kansas’s privatized Medicaid delivery system, Kancare. Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced his intention to massively overhaul the system.

Abbott Agrees To Debate With Valdez, Who Says, 'Call Me, Maybe?'

Jul 12, 2018

Gov. Greg Abbott has accepted an invitation from a TV station group to debate Democratic opponent Lupe Valdez on Sept.

Some Republican gubernatorial candidates are calling for the end of in-state tuition for undocumented students at public universities in Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants undocumented students to pay the more expensive non-resident tuition rate. Gov. Jeff Colyer expressed a similar view during a Republican forum Tuesday night hosted by KWCH and KMUW.

Kansas residents have until Tuesday to register to vote in the upcoming primary election.

The primary election is Aug. 7. Only voters registered with a party can vote in the primary election.

Kansas voters cannot change their party affiliation until Sept. 1, said Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County’s election commissioner. Voters who are unaffiliated may select a party when they go to vote in the primary.

Kansas has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging the state’s Medicaid program sets too many barriers for hepatitis C patients to receive potentially life-saving but expensive medications.

Terms of the settlement have yet to be finalized, but the parties filed a notice with the court Tuesday afternoon that they had resolved the case after mediation. 

Gov. Jeff Colyer was on the defense during a Republican forum sponsored by KMUW and KWCH on Tuesday night.

He was targeted by his Republican gubernatorial opponents over Kansas’ budget issues during his time with the Brownback administration.

Former state Sen. Jim Barnett was one of several candidates who attacked Colyer over the Brownback era tax cuts.

“The Brownback Colyer tax experiment brought this state to its knees,” Barnett said.

Texas Democrats are campaigning on the issue of how lawmakers draw political maps ahead of the 2018 elections. They say partisan gerrymandering is solely a state issue right now, because the U.S. Supreme Court didn't rule this term on whether the practice is legal.    

Both of Kansas’ U.S. senators have released statements of support for President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

From Texas Standard.

Texas is facing lawsuits over some of its abortion laws, including House Bill 2, which restricts access to abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires abortion clinics to maintain the same medical facilities as hospitals. The state is also being sued over the Fetal Burial Law, which requires clinics to bury remains from abortions and miscarriages.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat, has so far resisted pressure from grassroots groups to call for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The agency has become a lightning rod under the Trump administration.

The corn and soybeans growing in Glenn Brunkow’s fields in the rolling Flint Hills north of Wamego, Kansas, got some much needed rain recently and look healthy.

Brunkow has reason to expect a good harvest, but the way things are looking globally, he’ll lose money on the crop. Trade disputes with China, Mexico and Canada threaten to slash U.S. food exports by billions. About half the soybean crop goes overseas, most of that to China — and since mid-April, soybean prices have plunged about 20 percent and corn about 15 percent.

There’s a common thread among the campaigns of several men aspiring to replace Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — promises of administrative competence.

So says Emporia State political scientist Michael Smith. It jumped out at him as he perused some of their websites.

“To me,” he said, it “has sort of a subtext, that that has not been Kobach’s focus.”

Twelve percent of teenagers in Texas said they attempted suicide in 2017, according to a report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's higher than the national average of 7 percent.

Seventeen percent of ninth- through 12th-graders surveyed in Texas said they seriously considered suicide last year, and 14 percent said they had made a plan for how to do it.

Kansas Department of Agriculture

Representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture traveled to Japan on an agribusiness trade mission led by the USDA last month. The purpose of the mission was to strengthen the relationship between Kansas agriculture and Japan and to explore potential new markets.

Kansas was represented by Mary Soukup, KDA assistant secretary, and Chad Bontrager, director of the KDA agribusiness development division.

Soukup said the trip provided a chance to meet with government officials and companies that rely on agricultural products in their businesses.

After months of verbally sparring with trade partners, the United States is poised to implement wide-reaching tariffs Friday on imported goods, and one in particular has the agriculture economy on edge: soybeans.

The Canadian consul general to the Midwest is urging Missouri farmers to voice their support for renegotiating the North American Free-Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

Garden City To Host Governor Candidate Forums

Jul 3, 2018
Greater Garden CIty

The Garden City Chamber of Commerce will host a Republican governor candidate forum on Wednesday, July 11 and a Democratic gubernatorial forum on Tuesday, July 24. 

Republican gubernatorial candidates Secretary of State, Kris Kobach,  Insurance Commissioner, Ken Selzer, and former Sen. Jim Barnett have confirmed plans to attend the Republican forum, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. On Wednesday, July 11. Governor Jeff Colyer will not attend but is sending Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann in his place.

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