WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN News sent a questionnaire to each candidate facing a challenger in the November general election. We are still waiting for Eric Smith’s response. In the meantime, we have filled in some of the answers that he provided for our August primary questionnaire.


Biographical Information:

Eric Smith

Currently serving as the Undersheriff for Coffey County. Also about to graduate with a Bachelor in Criminal Justice with a minor in pre-law from Liberty University. Served 4 years in the United States Air Force from 1988 to 1992 during Desert Shield/Storm. Married to Becky Smith for 12 years and we have 6 adult kids.

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

EricLSmith4House76.republican

What do you think should be done to help Kansans dealing with high costs?

We need to look at tax breaks for those in most need, especially those on fixed incomes. Retirement incomes don’t move as well with the changes in the cost of living. These folks shouldn’t be taxed as much as wage earners and we need to devise a way to encourage retirees to come to our state or stay in our state, starting with the removal of state income tax on retiree and fixed incomes. 

Share your thoughts on abortion rights and restrictions.

Awaiting the candidate’s response.

Do you think KanCare should be expanded? Why or why not?

I don’t agree with creating more debt for our federal government or our state. We talk about getting federal dollars as if it is unused money sitting around in Washington, waiting to be designated to someone. The money that will have to be available for adding Kansas to medicaid expansion hasn’t been printed yet. There is no extra money in D.C. waiting for Kansas to expand. We are in debt and going further down into it. Every state that adds medicaid expansion adds to that debt.

What is your stance on the legalization of medical marijuana? Recreational marijuana?

I am not for the legalization of marijuana for a wide range of maladies, as Kansas has tried to do. The bill that passed the House chambers during the 2021 session was not well constructed and allowed for a person to use marijuana as they saw fit, for any “condition” that might need daily treatment. So, that definition would include athlete’s foot, acid reflux, dry skin, etc. As well, the bill provided no reasonable limit to the amount of THC that could be found in the products. Even Colorado has backed off to 15%, and Amsterdam, a city in Europe who legalized marijuana more than 20 years ago, set the same limit after years of debate on how much harm was being witnessed in chronic users of high levels of THC. This legislature did very little to examine the problems experienced by other states who have legalized it. The true use of most monies derived from marijuana sales in legalized states goes back to mental health and law enforcement. Drug cartels grow and have exploited the legalized market and compete with it on the street. Why pay tax on marijuana when you can buy it from drug dealers and claim you got it legally?

Share your thoughts about transgender athletes in sports.

Awaiting the candidate’s response.

What are your thoughts on election integrity in Kansas? Across the United States? Would you change the election process and how?

Awaiting the candidate’s response.

What are the issues you would address for farmers and ranchers?

Groups and governments are making it harder and harder to make a profit in agriculture. Our food producers have too many variables that have to line up just right in order to survive. Every producer in the production chain is an important link that keeps our grocery store shelves full. We need to back away from regulating the industry any further and look at ways to encourage more production into the global market. Grain producers and livestock producers, alike, are competing with South American countries, China, Russia, and the rest of the world and we need to educate people how fragile that market can be, given the reliance it has on the weather and the economy.    Protecting our processing plants is an issue that I believe is not getting enough attention.

What are the key education issues in Kansas for K-12? For universities?

We have created an education process that relies too heavily on meeting percentages on testing and too many tests. Teachers I talk to feel that all they have time for is getting students ready for the next test and training them to pass tests. We have to find a way to standardize tests over periods of years so we can easily discern outcomes and changes in knowledge building between classes. Covid had a negative impact on the learning process for young students and we need to acknowledge that our methods need to be improved for distance learning. Students do not learn as well remotely, so we should avoid the long term use of it in the future. The focus on college education should share the spotlight with technical and vocational training schools. Nursing, electrical, plumbing, etc. are as important and in need as any other. Certainly more so than racking up $50,000 in debt for a degree in political science. Our universities are a valuable resource for our future and we have to continue to make sure they are funded appropriately, but alternatives should be advertised just as much for students who are capable of further training and education after high school.  

What do you think needs to be done to promote social and racial justice?

Use the mechanisms we have in place now. Justice is not just for certain classes or certain races. Justice is not justice unless it is equally applied to ALL.   Due process has been replaced by media frenzy. No investigation is needed before news outlets have pushed out emotional reactions to the public on situations that need to be investigated thoroughly. How we report the news today has as much blame as those who continue to perpetuate racist ideas. For instance, our law enforcement is under attack and much of it has to do with negative press about what color the people were rather than what actions led up to the actions by law enforcement. This is intentional because this style of media gets much more viewership than genuine journalism. It’s like the media world decided the National Enquirer got it right, somehow, and 24-hour news takes no responsibility for the sensationalized misinformation they provide. The lack of media accountability is one of the leading causes, in my opinion, of negative attitudes toward this country by our young generations. This is not to say the consumer has no ownership in that, but how do you avoid “Breaking News!” when that is supposed to be the cue to pay attention?