Differences on education and abortion highlight the Kansas Senate 9th District race.
Democrat Merlin Ring, a 66-year old engineer from Lenexa, faces incumbent Republican Sen. Julia Lynn, a 55-year old sales and training consultant from Olathe, in the No. 6 general election.
Both candidates have concerns about how Kansas families are supported by the state, but have different ideas about how to address the issues.
Ring holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from University of Central Missouri and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Kansas. He has worked in Lenexa as a test engineer at B/E Aerospace in Lenexa for the past 15 years.
Ring is a supporter of strengthening the public school system. He says the state must fulfill its responsibility to provide funding for a suitable education for all Kansas children.
“This will have to begin with a tax policy that includes a balanced combination of income, sales and property taxes,” Ring said. “Property and sales taxes are already too high. The progressive income tax is the best option to restore revenues that will allow the state to fund public education and other state services that we expect.”
Ring is also a supporter of a woman’s right to choose when considering an abortion. Ring said he would not support further restrictions on abortions in the state.
“A woman’s right to choose and less government intrusion is the proper course,” he said.
Lynn has served in the Senate since 2006. She chairs the Joint Committee on Children’s Issues and is the vice chair of the Commerce Committee. She holds positions on the following: Joint Committee on Arts and Cultural Resources; Judiciary Committee; Joint Committee on Economic Development and the Assessment and Taxation Committee.
Lynn sponsored a Senate bill that would require clinics to keep written records of all pregnancies that are terminated and submit them to the secretary of health. The bill died in committee in June.
Lynn also supported the Freedom of Right and Conscience Act that allows medical workers to refuse to participate in abortion procedures or provide abortion inducing pharmaceuticals.
“The act is a statement that religious viewpoints will be tolerated in the Kansas medical community,” Lynn said in a May 29 newsletter to supporters. “I voted YEA.”
Lynn says that the Senate school finance bill passed in the spring “continues the ‘Band-Aid’ approach we (the Senate) have taken for many years.”
Lynn voted in support of the bill because it increased local control for schools by increasing local option budgets from 31 to 35 percent.
She voted against a second education finance bill that would have allowed school districts to save up to 10 percent of their general fund budget in a contingency fund. The bill would have given an additional $74 per student in state aid in order to replace part of the $18,000 cut from the education budget. It died in committee.