Three Olathe men are vying for a chance to be state representative for the 49th House District.
The candidates — Democrat Keith Mace, incumbent Republican Scott Schwab and Libertarian John Wilson — are facing each other in the general election on Nov. 6.
Mace, 62, says on his campaign website that education is one of the issues he hopes to address, if elected.
When asked in a Star questionnaire if he thought Kansas public schools were being adequately funded, he replied no. He also said he did not support the governor’s plan to reform education finance.
“The governor has proved that he can’t be trusted having double-crossed moderates in his own party, both on the tax vote and in the primaries,” he said. “It is clear that the goal of his reform is cutting taxes and not in meeting the constitutional requirement to fund education.”
On his campaign website, Mace stated that if elected, he plans to support small businesses instead of big businesses.
“Jobs are created by small businesses on ‘Main Street’ not on ‘Wall Street,’ ’’ he wrote. “You don’t have to worry about ‘Joe the Plumber’ outsourcing jobs to India, or paying his CEO a 7-figure salary. You can’t say the same for ‘Wall Street’ big businesses.”
Schwab, the incumbent, thinks Kansas needs to strengthen its economy and quality of education.
He thinks the Legislature needs to ask itself if Kansas should become a “no income tax state.” He supports phasing out the Kansas income tax in favor of high sales taxes.
“I do support the phase out and carried the amendment in committee to do so,” he said. “I do not necessarily agree with the premise that sales taxes will have to go up. But I am open to that if it expands out economy.”
Funding of public schools is also an important issue to the 40-year-old.
When asked by The Star if he believes the state is currently funding public schools adequately, he responded, “We cannot know if it is adequate until we have an appropriate formula in place. Most agree the current formula is flawed. I appreciate the Governor’s office and the KASB for using task forces to find the most efficient manner to fund K-12.”
He also went on to say that he has always voted in favor of increasing the percentage of local option budget authority allowed school districts under current state law.
Wilson, 67, understands education is a pertinent issue facing the Kansas Legislature right now, but he doesn’t think the state should fund education at all. Education funding involuntarily takes money from people who may not have children or parents who would rather spend their dollars on other educational sources, he said.
“Privatization of education is the only answer to supplying objective information and historical references to students,” he said. “The recent defeat of the education voucher legislation is an example of politics in education. Improvement in student success rates will not be caused by state involvement in education. Free market education is the only answer.”
Wilson also vows that if elected he will always work to reduce taxes.
He supports ending the Kansas income tax.
“I support an elimination of the Kansas income tax,” he wrote on a Star questionnaire. “Alternative funding for LOCAL government can be determined by the residents of the LOCALE. Funding a state government should be accomplished voluntarily by those who feel a state government is necessary. Those same people can be obligated to follow the rules their state government passes.”