Family ties vital to candidate
For nearly 150 years, the family line of Roger Pine, the Republican candidate for the 3rd District Kansas Senate seat, has lived, worked and thrived in the state of Kansas.
Pine, a farmer and small business owner, said he's running for public office to ensure families like his have similar opportunities in the next 150 years.
"I think Kansas has been a good place for us to raise a family and business," Pine said."I want keep it that way. I want Kansas to remain a good environment to get a quality education, get a good job and raise a family."
The 3rd District covers Leavenworth County, specifically Basehor and Tonganoxie, as well as parts of Jefferson and Douglas counties. Pine attended a candidate forum Monday night in Basehor, the second forum he's attended in the two Leavenworth County communities whose support he's counting on Nov. 2.
From his family farm in northeast Douglas County, Pine works with his wife, son and daughter growing corn, wheat, soybeans and turf grass. He said his primary campaign focus has been on economic development and helping approve legislation making it easier for small business owners like him to successfully steward a business.
Outside of economic development, Pine believes in delivering a quality education to students and that government should work efficiently and for the people it serves.
Pine said he favors creating opportunities rather than raising taxes as a solution to fixing an ailing economy and increasing state revenues. He added that Kansas can do more to promote economic growth: an easy way to accomplish that, he said, is to aid small businesses.
"I think that's the key to the future of Kansas," he said. "It's a future we need and can have, and we don't have to raise taxes. We need to encourage businesses to grow and we need to help them at the state level. That creates new jobs and in turn broadens the tax base."
At one point Monday night, candidates were asked their stance on proposals that allowed casino gaming. Pine replied that he's not a gambler, but then again, farming, like owning and operating a small business, is an inherit risk, but one that could be less burdensome with a pro-business Kansas Legislature.
"I feel like I'm not exactly telling the truth because being a farmer you're a gambler," Pine said. "It's the same with anyone who runs a small business."
It's the success of his farm that Pine points to when considering his potential future as a Kansas Senator. Pine said tough decisions must be made everyday working on a farm, much like they do in Topeka.
"I grew up on a farm, and our business is still a family operation," he said. "Anyone with an investment in agriculture knows that they're constantly faced with tough economic decisions to say the least.
"We've had to make tough decisions, a lot of business owners have, so that we could stay in business and make a profit. We've had to re-evaluate and make changes in order to survive."