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Primary race candidate profiles: Kansas House District 72

The Newton Kansan
The Kansan

Four candidates are seeking the Republican Party nomination for Kansas House of Representatives District 72 — with the winner facing a general election race against incumbent Rep. Tim Hodge (D-North Newton).

Advance voting is available at the courthouse. The polling date will be Aug. 4.

Avery Anderson

1. What motivated you to run for the Kansas State Rep. District 72 seat?

I have always been interested in politics and imagined that I would get involved at some point. I never planned on doing it at this age. I want to get Tim Hodge out of the seat as much as any Republican in the state but what drove me to run was actually on the Republican side. When I heard that Steve Kelly wasn’t going to run again, the two names being floated around at the time was Kathy Valentine and Lance Gormley. As I was sitting back thinking who I was going to vote for to go up against Tim, I was put in a tough spot. I had read about Lance’s criminal past in a Newton Now article while he was running for City Commission, and it took me only a few minutes to realize Kathy’s voting record on the City Commission was something that, as a fiscal conservative, I could never support. Kathy has voted to raise our taxes the last two years. Last year, by a 4-1 vote, she was the only Commissioner to vote against a zero mill increase. I found myself not being able to vote for either candidate and I felt that many people in the district would feel the same way, so I believed our district needed another choice — someone who will work hard for their district and be a true fiscal conservative in Topeka.

2. What do you see as the top issue facing the state at this time?

The health and safety of the citizens of our state, and balancing the budget as effectively as possible, are by far the most pressing issues at the moment. The state’s budget is something that most citizens are paying close attention to right now. With the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the budget is going to be tight not only next session, but for years to come. I believe we need to send somebody to Topeka who will take a critical look at the budget and find places we can make cuts, along with shifting appropriations around, that will benefit the state of Kansas as a whole. I believe I am that person. Seeing firsthand the impact that the coronavirus has had on local business has taught me the importance of adapting to quickly changing circumstances and how to adjust accordingly.

3. What experience do you have that you see as relevant to the position of state representative?

I think bringing youth to the statehouse and to this district is something that we need. I have interned in the Kansas Statehouse and in the United States Senate for Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. I learned a lot during those two experiences, but the number one thing I took away was the importance of communicating with constituents. I have answered and assisted thousands of constituents already through phone calls, emails and letters. We need somebody who is ready to fight for their constituents and listen to the wants and needs of the district at all times. I think that has been missing from our district the last few years and I want to restore the most important responsibility of a representative to my home district.

4. What makes you the best candidate to represent the GOP for this position?

I was born and raised in Newton and have been active in the community my entire life. Growing up in a conservative family and learning the importance of family values from a young age is something I will carry with me forever. Being brought up in a small business family has also taught me the value of hard work. I think these are the values that the Republican Party stands for, and that is why I believe I am the best candidate to represent my lifelong neighbors in Topeka.

5. Do you see support of the Heartland Flyer project as important to the district?

I absolutely believe that the Heartland Flyer project is important to the district. The connecting station between the Heartland Flyer and the Southwest Chief, which travels from Chicago to L.A., would be right here in Newton. The expansion would bring even more visitors through Newton, which is already the busiest train station in the state. I think this expansion would have many upsides for our district.

6. What will you advocate for in efforts and reforms concerning racism in Kansas?

I think listening to members of the community and our state is the most important aspect of being a representative. I am curious to see what Gov. Kelly’s commission on this matter recommends later this year. Once their evaluations are made public, we can have further discussions on what efforts are needed.

Lance Gormley

1. What motivated you to run for the Kansas State Rep. District 72 seat?

There are some real issues with current representation of citizens in the 72nd District. In talking with these citizens, it’s obvious that he has no interest in representing both major political parties and I think people are tired of political division. At some point you would think our current representative would quit “fighting” and start getting something done. It is my belief that true representation means representing everyone in our district, not just the ones that agree with my political stances. I feel compelled to step forward with my strong desire to do good for all everyone I represent.

2. What do you see as the top issue facing the state at this time?

Our budget. If anyone can understand that life has its unexpected twists and turns, it’s me. With Kansans currently facing some of these twists and our current massive budget deficit, it will be my number one priority. I understand rubbing two pennies together and still coming up short. With many Kansans facing financial hardships like never before, raising taxes to cover this deficit is a big NO for me. Having been the victim of government legislation in the past, I will work tirelessly to make sure Kansans don’t have to pay for poor management of taxpayer dollars.

3. What experience do you have that you see as relevant to the position of state representative?

Representation of every citizen is key, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or where they are going. Being a good representative for the district should include having a wealth of life’s experience and education when voting on legislation, then considering everyone in the district and their unique situations - not just a few. I often say, “I’ve walked a mile in your shoes, maybe a few miles” and this stands true today. I am very informed on current issues, understand how the legislature works and will readily represent our district if elected.

4. What makes you the best candidate to represent the GOP for this position?

When running during a Primary, there is little separating the candidates and their specific stances on big ticket issues. In our situation, the GOP should be considering who they believe will be the best contender against the current incumbent in the general election. After all the debates I feel, as a candidate, I am the most qualified, well informed candidate that has a grasp on the issues important to best representing our party and district as we move forward. In today’s political climate, I have chosen to promote what I have to offer as a representative. I think people are tired of politicians slamming their opponents just to get elected. My only interest is serving the people.

5. Do you see support of the Heartland Flyer project as important to the district?

Yes, I believe it would be a great contribution to our overall rail infrastructure in Kansas. Having a north-south option all along this Amtrak route will give more options not just for those traveling south from our District, but also for those south of us traveling north to connect with other Amtrak routes. This will greatly enhance interstate travel options and perhaps create a more economical way for our citizens to travel. Anytime you increase easy travel options in this “heartland region”, you also enhance economic development.

6. What will you advocate for in efforts and reforms concerning racism in Kansas?

I would like to sponsor a bill that takes age, race, and gender off all employment applications in the State of Kansas. I don’t see how any of these things should be a consideration for employment. I believe we as individuals should be judged by who we are, what we are capable of accomplishing, and how we will benefit our potential employer. I will also be looking for ways to address any area of institutional racism that we see and experience, while acknowledging how far we as a country and state have come.

Dwight R. McAdow

1. What motivated you to run for the Kansas State Rep. District 72 seat?

I think there is a need to change the representation of the 72nd in Topeka. We need someone that will represent all of the community and not appeal to just a select few. There are many in the community that think the same way and it shows because of the number of candidates that we have running. So, it’s the overall desire to see the 72nd be represented in a manner that shows who we really are.

2. What do you see as the top issue facing the state at this time?

There are a few huge topics that will need to be addressed but the budget shortfall is going to be the one that will drive many of the others. It is going to take great cooperation between the legislation and governor, the state agencies and the people of Kansas to come to a consensus on how we address this and really force us into deciding what we are going to fund and where that money comes from. I think this is an opportunity to rethink who we are as a people and where we want to go as a state because there are going to have to be some hard decisions made about what kinds of services we offer and how we hold them accountable as to the budgets they are seeking.

3. What experience do you have that you see as relevant to the position of state representative?

My experience is one of never accepting the status quo. I think there is room for improvement in almost everything we do and that is something I have done my entire life. In my military experience I continued to move up the ranks by exposing myself to different jobs and assignments. In my educational pursuits I continue to learn. And in my career I started off working for someone else and grew the business I was in until I was the manager over a three state region and finally left and started my own business. In doing those things I have always been someone that looks at what we are doing today and tried to see what changes we can make to become more efficient and more productive which then translates into better opportunities for those around me.

4. What makes you the best candidate to represent the GOP for this position?

I think I represent many of the things that the GOP embraces. A lot of my thought and ideas align with the Kansas Republican Party platform and I think if you look at what I have done throughout my life it proves it. I am the only one running that is a Military Veteran, Lifetime NRA member, MBA recipient from WSU and local business owner. I did all those things growing up right here in Newton. I think that once people talk to me that they will agree that I am the best person to represent the community as well.

5. Do you see support of the Heartland Flyer project as important to the district?

As a consumer I can see where this is appealing. I love to travel so having another way to do that is exciting. I can also see agree that there are instances where government involvement can be beneficial when there are huge barriers to entry. As I look into this, I am having a hard time finding a business plan that outlines projections where this project stands on its own. I am not in favor of long-term subsidies from the state. So, for me to be in support I would need to see projections that demonstrate a long term benefit to the community, a plan by the city to take advantage of it and that it can stand on it’s own without state support.

6. What will you advocate for in efforts and reforms concerning racism in Kansas?

This is a tough issue to talk about because it’s easy for words to be taken out of context but I think at the core it’s an issue that comes down to respect, trust and knowledge. The thing I would advocate the most for would be for us to get to get to know each other. We continually want to put labels on things which perpetuates the cycle of categories. If we would take the time to get to know each other it would generate an opinion of an individual. This in turn would help break the stereotypes of how we view groups of people. We don’t want to discriminate against anyone but as we make laws we are still singling groups out even as we try and create protections.

Kathy Valentine

1. What motivated you to run for the Kansas State Rep. District 72 seat?

I have been encouraged to take my experiences in City government, along with my commitment to common-sense decision making, to the 72nd District House seat. I believe that public service is a public trust, and right now there is a serious need to restore integrity, trust, and respect to this seat in the House. This means, too, a commitment to work with colleagues across the aisle, maturely and professionally, so long as strong stands on specific issues are not compromised. Through the counsel of many, locally and in the House, I eagerly made the decision to move forward with this campaign.

2. What do you see as the top issue facing the state at this time?

Certainly the nearly $1.3B budget deficit is a top priority for Legislators, and they should be keenly aware that Kansans are not in a position to bear a tax hike. Additionally, the priority of the passing of the Value Them Both Amendment on the August 4th ballot will mean that tax-payer funded abortions will not be a part of Medicaid Expansion. This I support wholeheartedly! I believe the Medicaid Expansion bill is still a front burner issue, and serious study and discussion on just how that would be funded with an already looming budget will ultimately require not being afraid to face the bleak reality that this is likely not the time to add this to the looming deficit that exists before us.

3. What experience do you have that you see as relevant to the position of state representative?

I will bring to the 72nd District seat my experiences in City government as a City Commissioner these last five years, having learned early on that common-sense decision making is the result of intense study and examination of given issues, i.e. budget decisions, development, and amenities, to name a few, to result in the best decision for use of tax payer dollars. Through my five years in City government, I have learned that these are not always easy decisions, and one who has the humble privilege to serve in government knows that it is impossible to decide to everyone’s favor.

4. What makes you the best candidate to represent the GOP for this position?

My experiences in City government in these past five years, which I believe will be an integral part of working on assigned Committees in the House, have expanded my understanding of the importance of committing time to the fullest examination of any issue before decision making. The honor that would come with being sent by the voters to the 72nd District requires the fullest commitment of time and dedication to the best use of Kansas tax payer dollars and to the best decisions that would result in great reward for Kansans.

5. Do you see support of the Heartland Flyer project as important to the district?

The Heartland Flyer project has been waiting out there for quite some time, and I fully support this. The extension of this from Oklahoma City to Newton would enable riders to pair up with Amtrak’s east / west national network through the Southwest Chief, and this would also bring a “shot to the economic-arm” of Newton’s economy. Newton has waited a long time for this!

6. What will you advocate for in efforts and reforms concerning racism in Kansas?

Because racism is directed against a person or persons in racial and ethnic groups typically considered minorities, I personally am committed to making sure that my message is loud and clear that their lives matter as much as any other ethnic group, minority or not, BUT, I will not support any movement(s) that strive to gain attention through violence, property destruction, and force and removal of the protection of law enforcement. Reform can be legislated, but it will not change where the real problem lies – the heart of man.

The Kansan