Late filings assure primary
In keeping with a theme established in numerous other elections, the District 3 State Senate race got more interesting in the hours leading up to the June 10 filing deadline.
Republican Connie O'Brien, who filed June 8, and Democrat Ed Sass, who filed June 10, made the possibility of an August primary election a reality for both parties. Sass joined fellow Democrat Jan Justice in the race while O'Brien joined Republicans Roger Pine, Chuck Quinn and Richard Rodewald.
O'Brien said Sen. Bob Lyon's decision not to seek re-election was an important reason that convinced her to seek the office after considering a campaign for a while. She said she plans to fight for the same conservative values that Lyon held during his term in office.
"I think I can carry on the tradition Bob Lyon started," she said.
O'Brien, a supporter of Second Amendment rights and local control of schools, said what most concerns her are the interests of the average Leavenworth County resident.
O'Brien said her family moved to Leavenworth County to escape the city and she wants to ensure its legacy and reputation are protected.
"I want to help families make a decent, good living to support their families," she said.
One way that can happen she said, is if jobs are available and if state revenues improve.
As far as the educational system is concerned, O'Brien said a tax increase is not necessarily the solution
Although O'Brien said she does not have an abundance of money with which to launch her campaign, she will accept help.
"I don't have a lot, so I don't plan on spending a lot," she said.
Sass, who resides in northern Leavenworth County in Easton, is a 58- year-old county employee and former school board member who said he still "has that farming addiction."
Sass said he decided to throw his hat in the ring in order to help accomplish three things. He said he would like to adjust the school funding formula, in light of a Topeka judge's May court order calling for reform. Sass will also seek additional revenues for the state and work to provide health care to citizens at an affordable cost.
Sass said he will call for an independent committee to evaluate the funding of public schools. He pointed out that some school districts, like Blue Valley for example, have unfair advantages because a one-mill tax increase in that district will raise far more money than a one-mill hike in other districts, such as Lansing, because of the size of the tax base and the valuation of properties.
Government involvement, he said, can be one way to correct the problem schools face.
"I am proud of some of the things my party, the Democratic Party, has done," he said. "Government can do good things as long as they don't get silly. Education is just one of the things government can help with and the legislature as a whole needs to address it now."
Sass said he will rely mostly on media coverage, personal meetings and neighborhood campaigns to gear up for the Aug. 3 primary when he will face Justice to decide who will move on to the ballot in November.
"It is going to be very difficult," he said. "There are a lot of good candidates, each with their own area of expertise. But, I am able to look at questions and try to keep things simple when finding a solution."