Candidates seek GOP Senate seat
The race to claim the District 3 seat in the Kansas Senate that Republican Senator Bob Lyon will be vacating has heated up considerably in the past two weeks.
Roger Pine, who announced his candidacy May 28, Richard Rodewald, who declared last month and Chuck Quinn, who filed June 4, will all square off as Republicans during an Aug. 3 primary election. The winner of that election will likely square off against democratic hopeful Jan Justice in the November general election.
Although three of the candidates are all Republicans, they have somewhat different ideas of how to run the their respective campaigns and how they plan to represent their constituents in office.
Rodewald, a retired Eudora resident and father of two adult children, has pledged one unique promise to voters in the district. In order to avoid playing favorites as an elected official, Rodewald said he will not accept financial support for his campaign.
"I will not take any financial contributions," he said. "I am not going to owe any favors. No one will be able to count on my vote except the taxpayers."
The former General Motors employee said his expertise in the property tax system and the legal issues surrounding the matter will be a welcome addition to the legislature. His time as a lobbyist, which has allowed him to become acquainted with and work with many current elected officials and judges, has given him the opportunity to acquire crucial knowledge about the issue, he said.
"I would bet a hundred dollar bill that they could not find four people in the state who know as much as about the property tax system as I do," he said.
"It is well know in the legislature that the older houses are over valued and the new houses are undervalued and I can prove it."
Additionally, the candidate said that he has insight into the problems facing the state's public school system, given that both of his parents were teachers. Rodewald said that current legislators have "spent what they have and mortgaged the future," in regards to school funding.
"What they really need to fix these problems is to get someone in there who knows how to be conservative and knows how to work hard," he said.
Also in the running is Pine, a fifth generation farmer, a former member of the Lawrence School Board and a Lawrence business owner. Pine said he has had an interest in seeking office for some time, but only recently decided that the time was right.
"I have been interested in serving in this capacity," he said. "I like to participate in these types of things and want to help make the district a better place for all of us."
Pine said three important issues to him are the state of public schools, the rising costs of prescription and other medication and economic development. Pine said he has several qualities that will help him to understand the needs of the district and address each of the issues the legislature will face.
"I am a good listener and have been in business for 40 years," he said. "I have a lot of common sense and a good business sense."
Although Pine has been an official candidate for about two weeks, he said he has already begun setting up a campaign team and bringing his message to the voters. Pine and his family hosted a campaign kick-off dinner at their home west of Linwood June 4 in which residents from three counties got to know the candidate and his message a little more.
"I am interested in the quality of life in the district, now and in the future," he said. "That is where I am coming from and I would like to hear comments and concerns from District 3."
The most recent candidate to throw his hat in the ring is Quinn, who said he plans to fight for openness in government action and a revamped tax system. Quinn said concern over the condition of the state and past performance of some legislators has prompted him to seek the office.
"I have found that it is not enough just to get out and vote," he said. "You need to be able to use experience to make a change for the better."
What Quinn, who has lived in Perry for 13 years and worked in the transportation industry as an engineering technician, will work to accomplish is a change in the way government is conducted.
"I don't think government is open enough," he said. "Closed-door meetings happen more than they need to. If they are honestly doing what is best for people then it should not have to be done in secret."
Like other candidates, Quinn said he is not running to serve his own personal interests. Instead, the single father said his motivation is the future of his 11-year-old son, whom he has raised, and the future of the district.
Quinn also would like to see some special-interest tax exemptions repealed, an action that he said could provide a mechanism for funneling additional money into the public school system.
Ultimately, Quinn said he wants to see property tax eliminated altogether and see it replaced with a product tax that will be fairer to the individual taxpayer. He said under his system individuals will be taxed according to how much they make and spend and that people who spend more will be taxed more.
"It sounds liberal," he said. "But not when you look at it from my perspective."
Although Quinn admitted his work schedule has only allowed him to get off to a "slow start," he said he plans on taking his message directly to the voters. Next month, Quinn said he will begin a two-week speaking and fund-raising campaign that will feature one stop a night in different cities and areas throughout the district, including Basehor. He said the speeches will also include a question-and-answer session to allow voter participation.
The filing deadline for all parties interested in seeking the seat is noon today. If there are no additional filings, the only candidates who will appear on the August ballot are Pine, Quinn and Rodewald. Jan Justice, the lone Democrat to have filed so far, will face no opposition until she meets the eventual Republican winner in the November election. The Third District encompasses all of Jefferson County and parts of Leavenworth and Douglas counties.