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.


Biographical Information:

(Courtesy Laura Kelly for Kansas)

I began my professional career working in New York with children with severe mental illness and, later in Denver, with children with severe respiratory disease. In 1986, when Kansas became home, I became the first Executive Director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association. For 18 years, I traveled to communities, large and small, working to enhance Kansans’ quality of life.

In 2004, I was elected to the Kansas Senate, serving for 14 years. As the Ranking Member of both the Ways and Means Committee and the Public Health and Welfare Committee, I worked across the aisle to deliver for Kansans.

In 2018, I ran for Governor to use the knowledge, skill set and relationships I had developed during my time in the Senate to turn Kansas around and put our state back on the path to prosperity.

My husband, Ted Daughety, MD and I raised our daughters, Molly and Kathleen, in Topeka. Both are proud graduates of Topeka High School and the University of Kansas.

Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:

LauraKellyForKansas.com

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

Inflation has been hard for all Kansas families, that’s why I worked to eliminate the food sales tax and cut taxes for working families. I’ve fought to save Kansans money by cutting property taxes and providing tax cuts to our teachers, veterans, and critical service workers. Over the next three years, Kansans will collectively save over $1 billion in taxes.

I will continue to fight to save Kansans money in my next term. On day one of the 2023 Legislative session, I will send a bill to the legislature to eliminate the food sales tax, all the way, right away. We will also propose eliminating taxes on basic necessities like diapers and feminine hygiene products and implement a sales tax holiday in August for school supplies. We will increase the tax threshold for our Kansas retirees on social security, thus lowering taxes for seniors on fixed incomes.

Share your thoughts on abortion rights and restrictions.

I stand with the majority of Kansans who do not want the government involved in their private healthcare decisions. It’s clear that this issue isn’t a partisan issue. Kansans of all political stripes agree that maintaining fundamental rights and leaving private healthcare decisions to women and their physicians are Kansas values.

I will not support any regressive legislation that takes away rights from Kansans or threatens our ability to attract new business to Kansas.

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

I have always been an advocate for Medicaid expansion, which would expand access to affordable healthcare for over 150,000 hard-working Kansans and boost our economy, creating nearly 23,000 jobs. Kansas has lost out on nearly $6 billion due to our failure to expand Medicaid. We are losing healthcare providers to our neighboring states, all of which have expanded Medicaid.

I’ve proposed a plan to expand Medicaid every year since taking office. I’ll propose my fifth plan to the Legislature in January 2023. We cannot wait any longer. We must stop the political games and get this done.

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

I have long supported legalizing Medical marijuana.

Kansas is one of three states that does not permit some form of medical marijuana use. This makes Kansas less competitive and leaves the state at an economic disadvantage. Not only would it benefit Kansas economically, it would also help Kansans with chronic pain and illness, children with severe seizures, and veterans suffering from PTSD.

Share your thoughts about transgender athletes in sports.

Kansas kids deserve fairness on the playing field and a safe place to go to school. These judgements should be made by the experts, medical professionals, and the KSHSAA – not politicians.

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

Kansas’ elections have been proven to be safe and secure. In 2022, I signed a bill that strengthened election security, authorizing bi-partisan common sense election security reforms to protect the integrity of elections from things like cybersecurity threats without infringing on people’s right to vote.

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

Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our state, and they contribute to our biggest economic driver: the agriculture industry. I created the Office of Rural Prosperity, which focuses on policies through a rural lens. I also prioritized adding shortline rail projects to move products to market more cost-effectively and more efficiently. When natural disasters damaged our farmers’ and ranchers’ homes and livelihoods, we exempted sales tax on fencing materials and waived fees for replacement documents such as birth and marriage certificates. We also created the Wildfire Task Force to help Kansans better prevent, respond to, and recover from wildfires.

Water issues are of paramount concern to farmers and ranchers. We fully funded the state water plan for the first time in nearly 15 years so our state can be more resilient when we face droughts like we are in right now.

Because of these investments, Kansas exceeded over $5 billion in agricultural exports, something never before accomplished in Kansas.

I will continue to invest in our agriculture industry and prioritize expanding access to high-speed internet, affordable housing, and quality childcare. I will also develop a strategy to ensure Kansas has the water it needs for generations to come. This will be a very high priority during my second term.

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

After years of chronic underfunding, I fully funded our schools four years in a row – and I’ll continue to invest in our education system. That’s why in my second term, we’ll implement a robust, comprehensive early childhood education system. To give our kids the best possible future, they need access to care and education before kindergarten, and implementing a plan that extends into early childhood will create a stronger, more prosperous Kansas for generations to come. I will also add additional funding for special education, and I’m committed to supporting a college tuition freeze in my second term.

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

A Governor can best promote social and racial justice by leading by example. Throughout my four years as Governor, I have consciously ensured that all Kansans are considered when developing policy, proposing budgets, and making appointments to boards, commissions, and the courts. For example, concerns were raised that persons of color were being disproportionately incarcerated for low-level, non-violent crimes. We conducted a thorough review and determined that, while Kansas does not generally incarcerate for low-level marijuana violations, there was not a systematic, timely approach to reviewing applications for pardons and commutation. We have remedied that oversight.