On Monday, Republican and Democrat legislators will meet to decide who leads their respective caucuses. The Senate President and Speaker of the House have a considerable amount of power in deciding what legislation is considered, which committee a bill is sent to and whether or not a vote will even occur.
The most important of these positions is by far that of the Senate President. Current Senate President Steve Morris has been more than a disappointment to all Kansans. Morris’ past four years have seen an average increase in state spending of more than 5% every year. Is it any wonder Kansas government is staring at a 2010 deficit of over $1 billion?
But Morris is more than a black eye to Kansas, he is a disappointment to all Republicans. During his time we’ve seen one of our Republican leaders quoted in the New York Times as having no other difference with Democrat Kathleen Sebelius than the blocked coal power plants.
“But that’s the only major disagreement we’ve had since she took office,” Mr. Morris said. “She knew she would have to work with Republicans when she came in, and she’s done pretty well doing that.”
Republicans deserve a leader who supports Republicans and not just the next meal ticket they think will bring more power to themselves.
He and Vice President John Vratil used their Senate Leadership PAC to further their quest for power, not for the benefit of Republicans fighting Democrats for Senate seats.
In fact, when Republican Senate candidates needed non-monetary help in defeating Democrats, they were met with praise for the Democrat.
Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, chairman of the judiciary committee, said hers (Greta Goodwin) was one of the key races that will determine the Senate leadership next year. Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, agreed.
Could the picture be more clear?
If re-elected, Morris promises more of the same. Experience seems to be the hot word of this election season, but is experience with higher taxes and more spending what Kansans really need during these tough budget times?
Of course not. What is needed is strong, conservative leadership offered by Senator Susan Wagle. Wagle has a record of being true to the taxpayers and not to those who put her in power.
Wagle was endorsed by the KRA for her re-election bid this past November and also earned our endorsement as a Lt. Governor candidate with Jim Barnett.
Susan Wagle is the clear choice for a new direction in Kansas.
I, for one, have no interest in a governor who’s nothing more than a surrogate of Obama looking for a ticket out of Kansas. And I definitely have no interest in a Republican leader who sells out his party for a ticket on the Sebelius express.
The race for Speaker of the House showcases two familiar candidates. Current Speaker Melvin Neufeld is seeking re-election but has been hounded by his inability to pass legislation authorizing the Holcomb power plants. He’s also getting significant heat for the passage of legislation in 2007 authorizing state-owned casinos in Kansas.
Rep. Mike O’Neal was endorsed by the KRA in his recent re-election bid to the House. Rep. O’Neal has a good record of being true to the taxpayer and as chairman of the Judiciary Committee has considerable experience with judicial appointments and the power of our courts. He also lead the charge against capitulation to the Supreme Court in their mandate to increase education funding.
With over 50% of the state budget going to K-12 education, it’s virtually impossible to cut state spending by $1 billion without a tax increase or education spending cuts. It’s not yet clear that the Supreme Court would intervene again, but with its past history, another mandate is likely. A strong Speaker is needed, and Rep. O’Neal fits the bill.
And the Democrat races? Well, not that we really care, but the Senate Minority Leader race is interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, we’re told all the time about the split in the Republican Party, but not much is said about the split within the Democrat Party. It was highlighted this past election season with the recruitment of Kelley Kultala against incumbent Democrat Mark Gilstrap. The media likes to talk about the recruitment of conservative candidates against ‘moderate’ Republicans, but for some reason didn’t see much interest in the recruitment of a liberal against a true moderate Democrat.
The race between current Minority Leader Hensley and Sen. Chris Steineger is also interesting because of Hensley’s relationship with Gov. Sebelius. Together, they decided to take out one of their own and spend thousands of party dollars to do it, while loosing a Senate seat. It will be interesting to see if other Democrat Senators agree with their strategy.
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Kansas Liberty: Legislative leadership contests are ‘intimate and intense’
Kansas Liberty: Battle develops for top Democratic leadership post in Kansas Senate
Kansas Liberty: School spending cuts could set collision course with the Supreme Court
Wichita Liberty: Susan Wagle for Kansas Senate President
Topeka Capital Journal: Lawmakers to vote on key House, Senate jobs
Salina Journal: Who will be state’s leaders?