Education is around 50% of the state budget, because of that people sometimes view education as only a liability. I believe we need to change our way of thinking and view it as one of our greatest assets. I want to restore value and respect back to our education system. I will be a governor who brings a greater unity between the state and education system.
Kansas Can Education Redesign
With technology constantly progressing, the need for skilled workers is essential. Future jobs are going to require greater skill, and it’s imperative that we give our children the best opportunity to succeed after high school. That’s why I support Kansas Can’s Education Redesign. It centers on the student rather than the system and involves more partnership with the student’s family, community and local community colleges. While the student is in K-12, the program focuses on the individual plan of study specific to each student, with the goal to send students to a post-secondary school. With around 48,000 jobs not filled in Kansas it is important that we have students pursue postsecondary education, whether it be a technical school or a four-year school; they are both important to filling the needs of employers.
Although Kansas spends around 50 percent of the state budget on education, we rank 31st in spending per pupil and rank 10th in the nation across a wide spectrum of student measures. This confirms a recent study done by national school finance consultants, Dr. Lori Taylor and Jason Willis, which show that Kansas is producing at nearly 96 percent of their potential cost efficiency on average. This means, that given the funds available to us, Kansas is doing exceptionally well.
I believe Kansas’ dollars are spent well and that we are getting exceptional results for investment that goes towards schools. If we invest a little more into Kansas Can’s program, I believe we could be one of the top five states for education. A quality education system will attract more people to live in Kansas.
We are losing our teachers to Missouri and Nebraska, and young people are not pursuing teaching anymore. After visiting with many school administrators across the state, nearly everyone had a teacher shortage. We need to build a competitive field again for our teachers and make sure they feel valued and supported. Teachers in Kansas have done an exceptional job teaching our kids and often spend their own money on our kids in the classroom. It’s time we show value and respect by supporting them.
On the issue of Marijuana, I am in favor of a statewide decriminalization effort, but not a full legalization. As the country debates the legal status of marijuana, and our neighbors to the west have already legalized the plant, it is important that we do not continue to fill our prisons with more non-violent offenders. We should also explore options concerning the use of marijuana in medical and end-of-life care.
I am in favor of industrial hemp for our farmers. Hemp could spur many economical benefits for agriculture and manufacturing in Kansas because it can be used in more than 25,000 products. It also could be a great alternative to many farmers out west, as hemp is believed to require less water than some crops. Hemp does not contain enough THC levels to get you high like marijuana.
I believe we should expand Medicaid. Traveling through rural Kansas I found that they need Medicaid expansion for their hospitals and nursing homes. With hospitals being a bedrock-economic driver for many smaller communities, the state is missing out on nearly $5.3 billion federal dollars that could be used for reimbursing them. Nearly 82 percent of Kansans are in favor of Medicaid expansion, according to a study done by the American Cancer Society. Additionally, the Kansas house and senate already approved this bill, but the previous governor vetoed it.
When Louisiana expanded Medicaid, it had a $1.85 billion direct economic impact and created 19000 new jobs.
Advocate of Life
My personal belief is that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. I believe that we should protect and advocate for the unborn. Being pro-life carries into every aspect of life. I believe we should advocate for life in other areas as well, making sure we do our best to address issues such as suicide, human trafficking, and making sure our foster kids are taken care of. Being a foster parent for many years and helping raise many youth, this is important to me.
As an avid hunter and fisherman in Kansas, I understand the importance of the 2nd Amendment. I believe all law-abiding citizens should be able to bear arms for hunting, sport and personal protection; yet I also know there are many who have not been trained to handle firearms. Handling any weapon requires respect of its power and education of its use. As a part of keeping our communities safe, I believe more educational programs should be implemented for the use of a sidearm.
The phrase Keep Kansas Home is meant to embrace everyone. I want Kansas to be a place of diversity. I believe it is our responsibility to keep our state safe for everyone and the borders to be strongly secure; I equally believe in the importance of family. I am in support of finding more efficient pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and keeping families safely together.
In keeping with my pro-life values, I believe the dreamers who were brought here by their parents illegally, should be given the opportunity to obtain citizenship.