The answers come from the candidates and have not been modified.
I am the Manager of Volunteers at Literacy KC. I was the field organizer for Representative Sharice Davids’ 2018 campaign. Previously, I worked in human resources.
After graduating from Blue Valley Northwest High School, I studied political science and cultural anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
I am a member and former chairman of the Johnson County Young Democrats, a 2018 Kansas Democratic Party member, and a former member of the constituency committee. I have volunteered in many local campaigns, including the campaigns of Kansas State Officials Brett Parker and Brandon Woodard, as well as the City Council campaigns of Trent Boultinghouse, Jenna Brofsky, Holly Grummert and Logan Heley.
I was born and raised in Overland Park and am a proud product of our public schools, having graduated from the Blue Valley School District. My parents moved to Johnson County from rural Missouri for better opportunities and for the stellar public education system. I have an older brother who is married and also lives in Overland Park.
I live in the Santa Fe Hills neighborhood with my cat Westley. I like to run in South Lake Park and walk to downtown Overland Park. I can often be found at the farmers ‘market, having a cup of coffee at Homers’ or watching a movie at the Rio.
Campaign website / Facebook / Social media:
What is your response to the Black Lives Matter movement?
I support the Black Lives Matter movement. Systemic racism is embedded in the fabric of our society and our collective unconscious. In order to reverse this legacy of inequality, we need to start by naming the problem that black lives are valued less in our institutions, communities and government. Black Lives Matter and it is essential that we dismantle all forms of racism.
What do you think needs to be done to promote social and racial justice?
If elected, I pledge to engage communities of color to defend and support legislation that they favor and that aims to end forms of systemic racism, such as: mandate citizen review commissions, CROWN Law, Payday Loan Reform, Civilian Asset Forfeiture Reform and Inclusive Zoning Laws. I support resolution HCR5002, presented by Representative Rui Xu and several cosponsors, which condemns all acts of police brutality, racial profiling and the use of excessive and militarized force in Kansas.
It’s not enough not to be racist, we must all be anti-racist. We need to commit to listening, amplifying black and brown voices and discussing privilege. We must work together tirelessly for racial justice and social change, to achieve a more just and compassionate society for all.
Are you in favor of police reform? If so, what should it look like?
Yes. As Black Lives Matter and the racial justice movement have shown, police brutality and over-policing is a problem. 84% of black adults say white people are treated better than blacks by the police, and 63% of white adults agree. A number of Johnson County police departments have started taking action to address these issues. Some are buying more body cameras, and Roeland Park and Overland Park have set up crisis response training. The state also requires all police services to report racial profiling and provide training on racial bias. However, as many activists now suggest, increasing our investment in policing to address the over-policing problem can be counterproductive. Instead, part of the solution likely includes the diversion of funds to county mental health and social services professionals, among other agencies. We must also establish and support effective citizen review boards for police misconduct.
Do you have or are you supporting business closures to control the spread of the coronavirus?
Decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic or other public health crises must be based on scientific facts and the advice of medical professionals. We all want to keep businesses open, but we need to be committed to social responsibility and COVID-19 precautions in order to make this a reality. We must work together to adopt health policies and implement widespread health practices that will keep people healthy, while also working towards essential goals like reviving the economy and reopening schools.
Would you like to support another statewide shutdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise? If so, what are the factors that would lead you to this decision?
We want to avoid another statewide shutdown if possible. For this to become a reality, we must all be committed to social responsibility and follow the recommendations of public health experts. If coronavirus cases continue to rise and public health officials recommend another shutdown to limit the spread in order to keep people safe and prevent people from dying, then this is what we will need to do. to do.
What do you think should be done to help the Kansas economy recover?
In addition to expanding Medicaid, identifying income improvements, and returning to balanced tax policy, we need to provide more student debt relief, so that graduates can participate in the economy earlier in the day. instead of repaying excessive loans. To retain and attract business, it is also essential that we are a welcoming state, which begins with updating our non-discrimination laws to include gender identity and sexual orientation. I also support the incentive and promotion of renewable energies, which will create jobs and reduce energy costs for businesses in the long run.
Are you cutting the money for social services if that means lower taxes? Would you be in favor of higher taxes for more social services?
I am not in favor of reducing funding for social services. As we face another economic downturn, vulnerable Kansans need the safety net provided by social services. COVID has shown us that we need to be careful in our budget decisions in order to have the capacity to build a rainy day fund. We also need to make smart investments in our state agencies so that they have the resources to help the Kansans in need. It is essential to conduct a responsible, fair and sustainable tax policy. Instead of cutting money for social services, we should go back to a three-legged stool approach that wisely balances income, sales, and property taxes. I support the addition of a fourth income tax bracket, while reducing the sales tax on food and providing property tax relief.
What does Kansas need to do to balance its budget? Are you going to support budget cuts for schools?
I support Governor Kelly’s approach to balancing the budget and I think we need to focus on improving revenues rather than cutting budgets. First of all, we must succeed in the expansion of Medicaid. This will ensure that an additional 150,000 Kansans have access to the essential health services they need while injecting federal funds into the economy of our state. Potential new sources of revenue include taxing online purchases in the same way as in-store purchases (which would also level the playing field for our small, physical businesses) and taxing streaming services in the same way as the cable. Other potential new sources of revenue include the legalization, regulation and taxation of sports betting and marijuana.
As a proud product of our public schools, I know firsthand the value of our high quality public education system and I will not support K-12 budget cuts. High quality public schools are essential in creating opportunities for our students, helping them live strong lives, and attracting new businesses to Kansas. These are all essential to the long-term health of our economy. In addition, the legislature has just started constitutionally funding K-12 public schools, and the impact of chronic underfunding is still being felt. We cannot afford to roll back the progress we have made, and we still have work to do. We need to increase teacher salaries, fully fund special education, restore due process, and support mental health and mental health services, to name a few.