Education is a main concern for both candidates from Gardner running to be state representative for the 43rd House District.
Democrat Kevin King is facing Republican Bill Sutton for the seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
King, a grandfather of five, does not think the state is funding public schools adequately. When asked in a Star questionnaire if he would support the governor’s plan to reform education finance, he said no.
“I am opposed to doing away with weighting for at-risk, special-education and English-as-a-second-language students, which gives districts added money per pupil to spend on those students,” he stated. “I am also opposed to allowing local school districts to raise additional revenue with local property taxes that would not be capped as they are with the LOB in the current formula. Instead I support restoring the cuts that have been made to public school funding in the last few years and rolling back the income tax cuts passed by the legislature in the last session that will lead to significant shortfalls in revenue.”
He also thinks the state should place a higher emphasis on gun safety and does not support broader “stand your ground” laws. The 56-year-old would like to see tighter restrictions on the requirements for concealed-carry permits.
“If there were a shooting on campus, how would the police be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys?” he asked.
His opponent, Sutton, disagrees.
The 45-year-old is a strong advocate for gun rights and believes every Kansan has a right to self-defense.
On his campaign website, he states, “Armed or not, the violent have always had the advantage over their victims. Only when the would-be victims are armed is that advantage reduced. I’ve never quite understood why our liberal friends have never grasped this concept.”
Sutton does agree education needs to be a top priority for the Kansas Legislature. He supports the governor’s plan to reform education finance.
“Educating our children is one of the most important guarantees of our country’s, and our community’s, success,” he wrote on his campaign website. “I’m in favor of local option funding, and I think that Gov. Brownback is on the right track with his finance formula as a first step to improving the process. Parents should have academic choices through options such as public schools, charter schools and private schools, both accredited and non-accredited, including home schools. Public policy should support parental choice. Consequently, base state aid for each pupil should follow the child, regardless of the school chosen by the parents as best for the child.”