Responses are from the candidates and have not been edited.
2020 Equality Kansas Endorsement
Kennedy Stover, Daughter
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What is your response to the Black Lives Matter movement?
Black Lives Matter is a critical organization for all Americans because it brings attention to the ongoing abuses inflicted up African Americans. Its mission statement is clear in that it was formed to ensure freedom, liberation, and justice in our society and to intervene where society has failed to do so. Where people stand quiet when members of their communities are abused and far too often murdered.
For me, I am sickened every day that it is 21st century and we are still battling racism at this level and intensity. History is to learn from and to grow into better society and we seem stunted at best when it comes to race relations. Having lived in Los Angeles after the beating of Rodney King, and the riots that followed, I am thankful that Black Lives Matters have organized and have a voice.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere – Martin Luther King, Jr.
What do you think needs to be done to promote social and racial justice?
To promote social and racial justice, people need to stop, listen, and have real conversations about reality for people of color. We need more people of color in elected office and in positions of power in local, state, and federal office and they in turn need to be heard, consulted with, and law and policy need to created and enforced.
Are you in favor of police reform? If so, what should it look like?
Police reform is a must. While I believe that there are many hard working, ethical members in our law enforcement community, there are those who are racist, toxic, drunk with power, and not worthy of wearing a badge.
The reform/changes must be made during hiring process, in each review and when grievances are filed against an officer. Further, there needs to be peer-to-peer reporting and accountability.
Did you or do you support business shutdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus?
I absolutely supported business shut-downs to protect both the owners, as well as the employees. I also expected that when our government said they would help these businesses it would be fast and without fail, but instead corporations and multi-million-dollar organizations received funds while smaller businesses got nothing.
To save lives – shut down, but ensure protections are put into place for our small businesses and their employees.
Would you support another statewide shutdown if coronavirus cases continued to rise? If so, what are the factors that would lead you to that decision?
I would support a statewide shutdown to save lives and to protect our most vulnerable populations. It is my belief we could learn a great deal from how states that were successful did their re-openings and recreate the multi-phase reopening, with strict guidelines.
Doctors need to be the guidance, with an economic plan to accompany.
What do you think should be done to help the Kansas economy recover?
First, we ensure public safety, then invest heavily in human capital. Get people back to work by providing work-sharing incentives for employers so the masses at least have the ability for some work versus none at all. With this, offer as much government training as possible so that some can consider career changes, including work from home or telecommute options.
The list economy stimulating ideas is long, but there are many outside the box ideas that help us rebuild faster, rather than struggle for years.
Would you cut money for social services if it means lower taxes? Would you favor higher taxes for more social services?
I honestly cannot say without a full budget review. I say this because there is generally waste somewhere and we should be interested in finding that money and putting it to use.
Further, Kansas is barely recovered from the Brownback experiment. In the wake of those tax cuts and other financial mismanagement, social services are already cut to the bone.
What should Kansas do to balance its budget? Will you support budget cuts for schools?
School funding is 60% of the state budget. It requires the KS Supreme Court to mandate education be funded, so there is a huge issue with the budget in this state. I would analyze the budget with serious scrutiny and then bring educators to the table to see what is critical, what is needed, and what is nice to have but what alternatives are there.
An honest person cannot answer this question in a truthful way until they have done the budget work. A politician or political insider will say what you want to hear which isn’t reality until you do the work.