In the past week since I announced my run for the Kansas Legislature, I’ve spoken with a lot of curious people. “Why am I running?” Or as some of the more outspoken have asked, “Why would anyone run for office?”. Often I have been tempted to answer based on specific issues. I want to run because I am sad to see Kansas make national headlines for failed fiscal policies. I am frustrated that the legislature passed a sales tax hike in the dead of night and shifted the burden onto middle class families in stead of owning up to the failed income tax cuts. Or finally, I am running because I am fed up with hearing Governor Brownback tell us that “the sun is shining in Kansas” and his experiment is working while freezing school funding and sweeping away our highway funds to plug the gaping holes in the budget.
While all of these individual issues play a part, I think the core of the issue is much simpler: the interests of Kansans are not being represented in Topeka. The members of our communities were not crying out for radical fiscal experiments or accounting gimmicks to cover stagnant investments in schools. There was no mandate to drain reserve funds, and mortgage the future through unlimited transportation bonds to pay for self inflicted revenue shortfalls. Certainly no one sent representatives to Topeka to give Kansas some of the highest sales taxes on food in the nation. And yet, that’s what we have been given.
We deserve better. That is why I am willing to sacrifice the money, free time, and privacy that come with running for office. That is why I’ll be wearing down the soles of my shoes getting out to speak with voters in my community. I believe that we deserve candidates and representatives willing to work for the privilege of representing the needs of their constituents. And if you believe as I do, I hope that you will join me in the work.