I was born in Kansas before it was a southern state. By that I mean no disrespect to our friends in the South. What I do mean is that the values and attitudes of the Kansas legislature today remind me more of Alabama or Mississippi in the 1950s than they do of the Kansas that I know and love – not of the Kansas before the Civil War, where our ancestors came to fight against slavery – not of the Kansas of the 1890s, when Kansas was at the forefront of the national Populist movement, and for a while was the most progressive place in this country – not of the Kansas of the 1920s, where William Allen White led the crusade against the Ku Klux Klan – and certainly not of the Kansas I grew up in.
The Kansas I grew up in was conservative, to be sure, but it wasn’t mean, it wasn’t selfish, it wasn’t willfully ignorant, and it wasn’t short-sighted– but these are the things I see driving much of the agenda of the Kansas legislature today. I don’t believe for a second that the actions of our current legislature reflect the values and beliefs of a majority of Kansans.
In the Kansas of my childhood, people – like my parents, for instance– understood the value of education and were willing to make sacrifices to ensure that their children had a better future. In the Kansas of my childhood, people understood the importance of a good transportation system for a strong economy– and they were willing to pay for it. In the Kansas of my childhood, people understood that to have a just society, we had to work together to provide assistance to our fellow citizens who needed help taking care of themselves. I firmly believe that a majority of Kansans still understand these things.
I think that reason, fairness, compassion, and tolerance are the real Kansas values. I think that most Kansans still have a vision of a better future for their children and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Those are the values and that is the vision that, if I elected, I intend to bring to Kansas House of Representatives. If you share those values and that vision I would appreciate your support, and I look forward to working with you to build a Kansas that our children and their children will be proud of.