Below is an overview of my stances on hot topic issues. If there are issues that you feel should be addressed which are not covered below, CONTACT ME and I’ll update this post to include the appropriate information.
ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION
Illegal immigration, as it is commonly called, is often a last ditch effort by people attempting to protect their families and provide security, financial stability and an education for their children. For this reason, I choose to re-term those that fit in this category, as asylum seekers. Referring to them as illegal immigrants serves little purpose other than to dehumanize them, ignore their story, and make it easier to overlook their evil treatment at the hands of the government. America is the land of opportunity, and many in war torn, poverty stricken countries look to us with hope.
It is for this reason that I feel the need for the State to step up and provide protection to those who left everything behind to flee to us begging for security. Some even have family here that are legal citizens of our Nation and of our State, and I want to see them united with their families. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intent of sparring with the Federal government by following the mislead notions of other States in the creation of “sanctuary states”, however; as a sovereign State in the Union, we absolutely have the right to offer asylum to those in genuine need, through executive action. I fully intend to use that to the advantage of those asylum seekers, and to provide them with health care and education (secondary included), as well as implementing programs for educating the adults in a field whereby they may earn a living wage and provide for their families.
It is my goal to focus on the creation of a humane immigration enforcement system in the State of Kansas outside of ICE, whereby applications for asylum by natural born citizens of central American and South American nations residing in the State of Kansas are streamlined, require less processing time, and are more likely to be approved unless a complete lack of reason can be found. This will include pardoning them for their illegal entry and granting of asylum of those who up to this point have been “illegal” who apply for amnesty under the provision that they left their home country seeking safe haven, economic security, and asylum in this nation.
You can review my draft of an Executive Order to this effect HERE. This Executive Order naturally requires fine tuning, but I would prefer that Congress and the Senate sit down at the table and figure out a reasonable solution first, to the benefit of all residents of Kansas.
Public education is in the hands of the State, and while Federal funding is important, we are not in need of oversight when it comes to what we need to teach our children. We as a State are more than able to encourage innovation and high achievement for each and every child in our system, without things like common core. We can and will find ways to improve the quality of education available during a child’s formative years so that they will be better equipped in their latter years to take advantage of every opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Education is the foundation of a free and prosperous society. Education directly correlates with job employability, social responsibility, cultural appreciation and societal contribution. Education level correlates to earnings potential and taxes paid back into public coffers.
Educational funding needs to be rolled back to the constitutional formula embraced in the 1992 school finance law. The school finance formula needs to be restructured as a dynamic tool that ensures adequate and fair funding for all districts, regardless of their respective wealth. A cost of living index should be built into the formula requiring the state to adjust spending annually. This will help us meet our constitutional responsibility to adequately fund public schools as the economy and other factors change. Education is one of the most important issues facing our state. With many districts facing school closure or cutbacks, we must increase funding for the educational system in general, as well as bringing our teacher salaries in line with the higher end of the national average to encourage current teachers to stay, and new teachers to come to our State.
Great teachers are the foundation of a great school. At the beginning of the 2017 school year, there were 1,500 teacher vacancies in Kansas. Young people willing to dedicate their lives to teaching the next generation has fallen dramatically, and Kansas must demonstrate it’s commitment to the profession by increasing salaries and benefits for educators. We must focus our resources on the expansion of quality education by encouraging experienced, well trained teachers to come to our State by offering an above average wage and other incentives, and provide higher wages and incentives to our existing, local teachers. Our classrooms should not be so poorly funded that teachers must pull from their personal sources of funding in order to make ends meet.
None of our children should have to wear coats in a school building during winter, or sweat excessively in a school building during summer. We must minimize the gap in funding between low income and upper class schools and equalize spending Statewide to provide the same opportunities for each and every child, no matter what side of the tracks they come from.
The Kansas Department of Education has requested that we hire 150 school counselors, social workers, or psychologists every year for five years. These positions are of the utmost importance to our students, particularly for their safety in school.
We must also ensure education for children of asylum seekers so that they will be equipped to become productive members of our society.
Teenagers cannot purchase or consume alcohol until the age of 21. It’s the age that our society has deemed “safe” or “mature”. Teens use guns for hunting and for target practice. Neither of those is an endeavor necessitating semi-automatic firearms. But there’s more to protecting our children than just keeping certain guns out of their hands, which a minimum age still won’t do, their parents will still be able to purchase them, thus granting the teenager access. We need to take a serious look at school safety measures that can be taken, and add to our mental and behavioral health offerings in the State of Kansas. If our behavioral and mental health professionals are better funded and have more awareness, they can work with law enforcement to ensure that troubled youth are carefully watched and guided.
I believe that we should completely ban bump stocks, or any other mechanical device that increases a firearms firing capacity, speed, or ability to inflict damage.
I fully support preventing anyone convicted of domestic violence or sexual assault from ever purchasing or possessing a firearm.
I fully support universal background checks for all firearms purchases, including those at gun shows.
We should, expand mental and behavioral health offerings in the State of Kansas. These licensed professionals would be able to work with law enforcement in regards to troubled youth, and make recommendations to judges up to and including suspension of the right to purchase any firearm until they can show that they are stable and in control of their mental health. We know that things like depression, anxiety etc. never go away, but once they can demonstrate that they are following their treatment plan, rights could be and SHOULD be restored.
We also need local Sheriff Departments, Highway Patrol, Police Departments etc. to communicate with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and work together with firearms retailers to form a sort of temporary (until the youth reaches adulthood) background check for troubled youth that will enable them to ensure that judges orders for certain troubled youth be upheld, and the youth unable to purchase firearms until such restriction is lifted.
For ALL gun owners, there needs to be annual mandatory training to ensure that safety and security as well as some level of marksmanship is maintained. Our law enforcement has to go through this, our Kansas National Guard has to go through this. There’s no reason why citizens should not do so as well.
Lastly, I believe that all gun owners should be required to carry a liability insurance similar to that of cars, specific to their class of firearm. A level for pistol, a level for shotgun, a level for rifle, and a level for semi-automatic. Not that they should have to register their guns, but disclose the highest class firearm they have in their household, and insure based upon the level. Then, if no insurance is carried and injury occurs, certain criminal and civil action can be taken, as in the case of an uninsured car that causes damage.
It is simple to invoke religious beliefs and prejudicial bias into our discussion related to same sex marriage. Our founding fathers based many of their decision on Judaeo-Christian thought, however; they specifically excluded religious law from the Constitution, and insisted upon a separation of Church and State. Marriage in the State of Kansas requires a license to be recognized by the State for purposes of ownership, responsibilities, taxes, inheritance and banking. To get out of a marriage, one must have the “contract” adjudicated and terminated by a court of law, rather than by a church or religious court.
That makes it clear that marriage as outlined by Kansas law is a matter of “contract law.” The State Constitution guarantees all persons of legal age the right to enter into a contract. Therefore, marriage by the State is an issue of contract law, and not of religious law. What occurs within the walls of a religious institution is up to the faith governing it. What occurs within the State is an issue of the Constitution, specifically the right to enter into contract Article I, Section 10. Everyone is guaranteed this equal right and treatment under the law.
Therefore, any person of legal age may enter into a marriage contract with any other person of legal age without any exception due to race, gender, faith etc. Therefore, with respect to Kansas marriage law, religious morality has no place in the end decision.
I am personally pro-life. I believe in life from the moment of conception to natural death. But I recognize that my religious beliefs are not something that I have any right to force on others, nor would I have any right to use Governmental office to force such views upon others. I recognize the right of women to choose to be mothers, and must conversely recognize their right to choose not to carry their children to term. Additionally, I have long recognized that there are instances, such as risk to the life of the mother, rape, and incest: where termination of the pregnancy may be considered by many, to be justifiable.
Where it comes to current State law, I have no intention of further limiting or changing what is on the books. I do not, however; agree with the use of any public funds for abortion providers as it imposes a public view based upon State endorsement. I also disagree with any abortion being performed upon a living child more than 20 weeks of embryonic development in keeping with the Federal “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act“. That being said, I fully support a woman’s right to access appropriate and competent medical care in keeping with any choice that she makes related to her offspring.
It is the governments job, even at the State level to rights of the people to ensure free and fair elections, the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, communications media, petition for redress of grievances without fear of reprisal, the right to privacy, and the guarantee of the rights to adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care for all persons in their care. But beyond that, it is the duty of those governing to ensure the life and dignity of every human life, most particularly, for the poor and the vulnerable. We need to review our laws and repeal any laws on the books which restrict the civil rights of any protected or unprotected class, and pass of new laws designed to safeguard those rights for all people and for our future.
Under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person may not be discriminated against due to the following: Age, Gender, Pregnancy, National Origin, Race, Color, Ethnic Background, Genetic Information Religious Beliefs, Sexual Orientation, or Physical/Mental Disability. These federal laws make it illegal for employers of a certain size to discriminate in all aspects of employment, including hiring, benefits, promotions, pay, discipline, and termination, but these laws as written only apply if you work for a private employer with at least 15 employees (or 20 employees, for age discrimination).
I want to see it expanded to cover each and every person regardless of how many employees and organization employs with particular attention to equal pay for females and minorities performing the same function as their male or majority counterpart. In order to specifically grant further aid to those who are most vulnerable within our State borders, I would like to see an end to sales tax on all food (not to include candies, pastries, sodas etc.), a lower gas tax, an increase to educational funding, an increase to health care funding, benefits and welfare to those most in need including those seeking asylum in our State.
During such time as previously undocumented asylum seekers are in our State, I want to see them educated, and trained in a craft that will enable them to make a wage which they can support their families on to ensure that they will function as productive members of our society, without fear of unreasonable arrest and deportation.