Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

State representative candidates meet public in joint appearance

Joe Novak (right), Democratic candidate for the Kansas House of Representative, answers questions from Sabrina Valenta of Leavenworth County at the Basehor Community Library’s candidate open house Thursday evening.

Joe Novak (right), Democratic candidate for the Kansas House of Representative, answers questions from Sabrina Valenta of Leavenworth County at the Basehor Community Library’s candidate open house Thursday evening.

September 9, 2010

Area residents kept state representative candidates Owen Donohoe and Joe Novak busy Thursday at Basehor Community Library.

Owen Donohoe (left), R-Shawnee, incumbent in the race for the 39th District representative seat, speaks with John Foley, Basehor, Thursday evening during a candidate forum at Basehor Community Library. Donohoe will face off against Democrat Joe Novak.

Owen Donohoe (left), R-Shawnee, incumbent in the race for the 39th District representative seat, speaks with John Foley, Basehor, Thursday evening during a candidate forum at Basehor Community Library. Donohoe will face off against Democrat Joe Novak.

At the library’s open house event, the two candidates spent about an hour and a half surrounded by groups of potential voters who had no shortage of questions.

Donohoe, an incumbent Republican from Shawnee, and Novak, a Democrat also from Shawnee, are vying for the 39th District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives. The 39th District covers western Wyandotte County, northwestern Johnson County and eastern Leavenworth County, including Basehor, Bonner Springs and part of Shawnee.

John Foley of Basehor said he came to the event so he could ask Donohoe about the state’s priorities in repairing highway interchanges and about the possibility of the state challenging the national health care reform law passed this year.

“They’re supposed to be representing us, not representing themselves,” Foley said.

Marilyn Townsend, of Basehor, said she came to the event because she knew little about politics in Kansas and wanted to learn more. She said she was pleased to see that Novak supported the greater use of alternative energy.

“I’ve always been amazed that Kansas doesn’t have more wind and solar power,” Townsend said.

Novak handed out information sheets about alternative energy at the event.

“Alternative energy is not going to be the end-all for the future of Kansas, but we’re missing the boat,” Novak said. “And if we don’t get going on it, we will be a consumer of everybody else’s alternative energy and not a producer.”

Novak said the topics discussed ranged from abortion and homosexuality to education spending and utility bills.

Walter Heimbaugh, who lives in unincorporated Leavenworth County, was one who asked about utility bills. He expressed frustration that he was paying more for his water bill than for his electricity. He said he thought both candidates were trying to do the right thing.

“We’re a growing community, and we have a lot of growing pains that need to be addressed,” Heimbaugh said. “Leadership needs to address those issues.”

Donohoe said people he talked to at the event had concerns about government spending and debt, and he said controlling those things was a major focus of his.

“It’s just a simple fact that we continue to spend more money than we take in,” Donohoe said. “And so we have to discipline ourselves, just like everybody else disciplines themselves.”

Donohoe was elected to the 39th District seat in 2006. Novak, a retired high school principal, also challenged Donohoe in the 2008 election, receiving 7,657 votes to Donohoe’s 8,061.

Novak and Donohoe both said they appreciated the opportunity to meet with residents at the library.

“It’s a good use of the public dollar,” Novak said. “People paid to have this building built.”

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.