WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN News sent a questionnaire to each candidate facing a challenger in the November general election. We have not made any edits to the candidate’s answers.

Kim Zito

Biographical Information:

Former journalist (under Kim Vlach) for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Dow Jones Newswires, CNBC Europe, and NPR station WUSF
Army wife
Mother of a 5yo son who just started kindergarten in USD 383

BA, New York University
MA, City University of London

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

Facebook: Onward with Kim Zito
Twitter: @KimZito67

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

We could’ve and should’ve eliminated the food tax. My family’s average grocery bill is $200 a week. Getting rid of the tax could buy us two more whole chickens in that same visit to the grocery store – that’s four extra meals that week.

We MUST also reinstate the property tax relief fund so that the sales tax we Kansans pay comes back to our communities. It’s not right that we pay state sales tax on all goods while also paying higher property taxes to cover local government budget shortfalls.

Share your thoughts on abortion rights and restrictions.

August 2nd was the shot heard round the world. Kansans came out in droves, fighting and clawing to retain our basic human rights. We were fighting to keep the status quo. I repeat: to keep the status quo.

The people have spoken. It is time to move on. For any legislator to attempt any further restrictions, it would be a dereliction of duty.

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

Yes. Expand Medicaid so that local hospitals can stay open. People deserve to have immediate access to health care services. If these go away, people will be forced to leave their communities, in search of work, in search of care. Hospitals not only employ health care staff, they feed an entire economy of residents and businesses in the community and the visitors who use the services.

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

Legalize it. Period.

Share your thoughts about transgender athletes in sports.

This is a manufactured issue for the legislature. There are governing authorities in sports to handle this.

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

There is election integrity in Kansas and across the U.S. And to suggest otherwise is giving credence to the Big Lie. Voting is a right. We should encourage vote-by-mail ballots, a federal holiday so people can vote, and multiple locations for ballot drop boxes. The fact is, not enough people vote as it is. The accusation that people are committing fraud to be able to vote is absolutely preposterous. 

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

We need figure out how to sustain our aquifer. Some locations in western Kansas have 10 years or less worth of water. Without water, those communities will become ghost towns.

We need to get Right-to-Repair out of committee so that sound legislation can be passed, protecting farmers and ranchers.

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

The strength of a local economy is directly tied to the safety and security of a community. Public schools are the number one asset a community can boast. If you kill public schools, you will kill a local economy. We are fortunate to have strong schools in Manhattan. This is by design – when we have a community of instructors and professionals associated with K-State, it is no coincidence that our remarkable schools reflect the people who live here. We will not tolerate public policy that undermines the blood and sweat we have invested in our schools.

Attendance at K-State this year dropped, and we need to figure out WHY. Are students leaving Kansas for university? Is the quality of life in Kansas not attractive to 18-22 year olds? Are trade schools or community colleges the preferred choice? Also, we need to protect our tenured professionals at universities so that we do not lose talent and so that we can also attract talent. If we lose talented professors, we will not retain students.

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

That’s such a difficult question to answer in times when a major voice in our communities refuses to discuss the issues in terms of facts. It’s impossible to have genuine discussions when a certain side comes to the table armed with hyperbole and rhetoric.

At a recent Manhattan City Commission meeting, we witnessed offensive comments from the public, vilifying the LGBTQ+ community that makes it not only impossible to have real conversations about social and racial justice, but it makes it traumatic.