Legislature

Shawnee County Voter’s Guide for Topeka Representatives to the Kansas Legislature

With voting underway with advance and mail-in ballots, Topeka-area voters have begun the process of selecting their Statehouse representatives for the next two years.

Shawnee County has 16 candidates vying for eight seats in the Kansas House of Representatives. If you don’t know which district you live in, enter your address on openstates.org.

Not all races are contested in the Aug. 2 primary election, but The Capital-Journal has reached out to all candidates. The answers to our questionnaire and the photos submitted are below. Answers have been edited slightly for style and length.

Kansas House District 50

Fred C. Patton, an incumbent Republican, did not respond. He runs without challenge.

Kansas House District 52

1. Tell voters about yourself:

Derik Flerlage (pronounced “Flur-log”), Democrat: As a former public health official, current chief health officer, and husband and father of 3, I am interested in problem solving. Whether it’s a very stressful medical situation, a meeting with a business owner, or a conversation with my family at the dinner table, I want to know two things: what the issues are and how can I solve them? I’m tired of partisan politics. These days, it seems our legislature is only interested in attacking the other side. In my opinion, an elected official should be someone who listens to and respects many different viewpoints and opinions. After all, there is often more than one solution to a problem. As a candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives for District 52, I seek to bring the kindness of Kansas to produce positive change. A vote for Derik is a vote for benevolent leadership.

Derik Flerlage

Max Stucky Halley, Democrat: did not respond.

Jesse Borjon, incumbent Republican: did not respond.

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2. There are many substantive issues debated about education at the Statehouse (expanding school choice, school safety, school performance, special education funding). Which of these points do you think is the most important and how would you deal with it?

Flerlage: Academic performance. The effects of the COVID pandemic are still being felt and investing in our children is essential to help them in their transition to adulthood. This includes fully funding all aspects, improving tutoring programs, including educators in state legislative discussions with full transparency, and leaving decisions as local as possible to elected local councils. education.

3. What is the state of the Kansas economy and what is the biggest thing state lawmakers can do to improve it?

Flerlage: The economy continues to show growth after the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need to focus on retention to keep young talent in the state, as well as finding ways to keep family farms and our state friendly for small and large businesses.

4. Yes or no: Are you in favor of banning abortion without any exceptions for rape, incest or preservation of the life of the mother?

Flerlage: Nope.

5. Yes or no: Are you in favor of banning abortion with only one exception to save a mother’s life?

Flerlage: Nope.

6. Yes or no: Are you in favor of banning abortion with an exception for rape and incest, in addition to saving the life of the mother?

Flerlage: Nope.

7. Yes or No: Would you support accelerating the implementation of the elimination of the state sales tax on groceries, currently scheduled to come into full effect on January 1, 2025?

Flerlage: Yes.

8. Yes or No: Do ​​you support a proposal to end state income tax on retirement income?

Flerlage: Yes.

9. Yes or No: Do ​​you support expansion of Medicaid in Kansas?

Flerlage: Yes.

10. Yes or No: Do ​​you support the legalization of medical marijuana in the form of edibles, topicals or other non-smokable products?

Flerlage: Yes.

11. Yes or No: Do ​​you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

Flerlage: Yes.

12. Are there any other legislative issues you would like to address? If you feel the need, you can use this space to explain the yes or no answers above.

Flerlage: As a born and bred Catholic, abortion is something I have been dealing with since I was young. Underlying all of this, I don’t believe the government should be involved in personal health decisions. It’s an incredibly complex moral question that shouldn’t be mandated. Advocacy by pro-life groups could continue if they choose to do so when continued improvement in sex education and access to contraceptives is essential.

With some tax revenue disappearing (food, possibly retirement), we should continue to seek new sources of revenue such as the legalization of marijuana and the continued implementation of legalized sports gambling.

In general, we need to approach politics differently. Kansas can be a beacon of change for the rest of the country to prove that we can have meaningful and productive discussions even when we disagree. Let’s elect leaders who are “Kansas type”.

13. Where can voters find out more about you?

Flerlage: Website: www.DerikForKansas.com; Email: [email protected]; Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DerikForKansas; Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DerikFler.

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Kansas House District 53

District 53 is the only race with contested primaries on both the Republican and Democratic sides. The two Democrats are Joe Cheray and Kirk R. Haskins. The two Republicans are Connie Burns and Bruce Williamson.

Kansas House District 54

Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, has dropped out of the race since filing because he plans to move to Nebraska for family reasons. Despite his withdrawal, his name will still appear on the primary ballot.

Ken Corbet, an incumbent Republican, did not respond. He is running unchallenged in the GOP primary.

Kansas House District 55

District 55 has a contested primary on the Democratic side between Joshua Luttrell and Tobias Schlingensiepen. Republican Todd C. Staerkel has no opponent in the GOP primary.

Kansas House District 56

Virgil Weigel, an incumbent Democrat, did not respond. He runs without challenge.

Kansas Home District 57

1. Tell voters about yourself:

John Alcala, undisputed incumbent Democrat: I am 63 years old and I have lived all my life in the heart of the 57th arrondissement. Educated in the Topeka public school system, attended Washburn University. Retired from Hills pet nutrition after 31 years of service. I am a former City Council representative and continue to be a very active community volunteer to this day.

John Alcala

2. There are many substantive issues debated about education at the Statehouse (expanding school choice, school safety, school performance, special education funding). Which of these points do you think is the most important and how would you deal with it?

Alcala: They are all important. I won’t choose any of them as a priority — when you know that they are linked. We must keep in mind the importance of refusing to fail our children and their families in the public school system. We need to eliminate middle managers and those dollars to pay teachers’ salaries. Bureaucracy must be reduced. No buffer between teachers and superintendents. And that teachers can express themselves without fear of reprisals. Teachers are those who are in the trenches/classrooms and not sitting in a desk.

3. What is the state of the Kansas economy and what is the biggest thing state lawmakers can do to improve it?

Alcala: The state of the economy is improvement can and should always take place. Below Governor Kelly, we are above the stable bar. Medicaid expansion makes good sense for the economy and citizens. Yet we are still unable to get this essential piece of legislation passed. Don’t buy excuses – it’s VOTE YES for Medicaid expansion.

4. Yes or no: Are you in favor of banning abortion without any exceptions for rape, incest or preservation of the life of the mother?

Alcala: Nope.

5. Yes or no: Are you in favor of banning abortion with only one exception to save a mother’s life?

Alcala: Nope.

6. Yes or no: Are you in favor of banning abortion with an exception for rape and incest, in addition to saving the life of the mother?

Alcala: Nope.

7. Yes or No: Would you support accelerating the implementation of the elimination of the state sales tax on groceries, currently scheduled to come into full effect on January 1, 2025?

Alcala: Yes.

8. Yes or No: Do ​​you support a proposal to end state income tax on retirement income?

Alcala: Nope.

9. Yes or No: Do ​​you support expansion of Medicaid in Kansas?

Alcala: Yes.

10. Yes or No: Do ​​you support the legalization of medical marijuana in the form of edibles, topicals or other non-smokable products?

Alcala: Yes.

11. Yes or No: Do ​​you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

Alcala: Yes.

12. Are there any other legislative issues you would like to address? If you feel the need, you can use this space to explain the yes or no answers above.

Alcala:​​​​​Q7: I would immediately remove the food sales tax.

Q8: Because the burden will ultimately fall on the working poor.

Q9: See answer above. And because we were NOT able to get this bill passed, we have hospitals closing, the continued decimation of rural Kansas. Underpaid staff. People who cannot get the care they need or who have to drive further for it. All because politics is played by people in power who have good insurance and good paying jobs. Other states have Medicaid and there have been no problems. The apologies distributed are only EXCUSES to the detriment of ALL Kansans.

Q11: SUBJECT to the details of the legislation.

Mental health is a critical issue for ALL Kansas citizens. We need to invest more in mental health at all levels and stay consistent with that funding.

13. Where can voters find out more about you?

Alcala:​​​​​Being a grassroots elected official, those I serve can ALWAYS call me at home 785-233-7110. Email [email protected] and I can always meet with them to discuss any areas of concern.

Kansas House District 58

Vic Miller, an incumbent Democrat, did not respond. He runs without challenge.

Jason Tidd is a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Tidd.