Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Kansas Equality Coalition-PAC endorses 53 candidates for state House


By Diane Silver

KEC-PAC, the political action committee for the Kansas Equality Coalition, has endorsed both Republicans and Democrats for the state House of Representative.

The state Senate is not up for election this year.

Based on each candidate's record and questionnaires, KEC-PAC selected candidates who are the most likely to support fair laws and equality for all Kansans and their families.

KEC-PAC did not endorse in every district. When an endorsement wasn't made either both candidates were awful, or the committee didn't have enough information to make an decision.

The endorsed candidates are:
District 3 Julie Menghini (D) Pittsburg
District 7 Richard Proehl (R) Parsons
District 14 Aunesty Janssen (D) Olathe
District 15 Heather Cessna ( D) Olathe
District 16 Gene Rardin (D) Overland Park
District 17 Stephanie Sharp (R) Lenexa
District 19 Thomas C. (Tim) Owens (R) Overland Park
District 20 Kevin Yoder (R) Overland Park
District 22 Sue Storm (D) Overland Park
District 23 Milack Talia ( D) Merriam
District 24 Ed O'Malley (R) Roeland Park
District 25 Terrie Huntington (R) Mission Hills
District 26 Bill Jackson (D) Olathe
District 30 Amy Kamm (D) Lenexa
District 32 Louis Ruiz (D) Kansas City
District 34 Valdenia Winn (D) Kansas City
District 38 Diane Bryant (D) Lenexa
District 39 Corey Mohn (D) Shawnee
District 41 Marti Crow (D) Leavenworth
District 44 Barbara Ballard (D) Lawrence
District 45 Tom Sloan (R) Lawrence
District 46 Paul Davis (D) Lawrence
District 47 James Robert Faris (D) Ozawkie
District 49 Bond Faulwell (D) Overland Park
District 50 Dennis Phillips (D) Topeka
District 52 Lana Gordon (R) Topeka
District 53 Ann Mah (D) Topeka
District 54 Tanya Dorf (D) Topeka
District 55 Annie Kuether (D) Topeka
District 56 Annie Tietze (D) Topeka
District 57 Vaughn Flora (D) Topeka
District 58 Harold Lane (D) Topeka
District 60 Don Hill (R) Emporia
District 65 Barbara Craft (R) Junction City
District 66 Sydney Carlin (D) Manhattan
District 67 Tom Hawk (D) Manhattan
District 76 Susan Fowler (D) Emporia
District 78 Ed Trimmer (D) Winfield
District 83 Jo Ann Pottorf (R) Wichita
District 84 Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D) Wichita
District 86 Judith Loganbill (D) Wichita
District 89 Melody McCray-Miller (D) Park City
District 91 Walt Chappell (D) Wichita
District 92 Nile Dillmore (D) Wichita
District 93 Marcey Gregory (D) Goddard
District 95 Tom Sawyer (D) Wichita
District 96 Terry McLachlan (D) Wichita
District 98 Geraldine Flaherty (D) Wichita
District 99 Charlie Mahoney (D) Wichita
District 100 Grady Kallenbach (D) Wichita
District 101 Mark Treaster (D) Pretty Prairie
District 103 Delia Garcia (D) Wichita
District 108 Joshua Lee Svaty (D) Ellsworth

The Kansas Equality Coalition is a unified, non-partisan, statewide group of fair-minded people who are determined to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The organization seeks to ensure the dignity, safety and legal equality of all Kansans.

I'm a member and serve on some of KEC's committees, although I'm not a part of the PAC.

10 comments:

Gary E. Bachman said...

The Kansas Equity Coallition endosed the candidacy ofKevin Yoder of the 20th District? Based on what? His "no" vote on the proposed marriage amendment? A vote that did not influence the outcome?

In October 2004 Yoder responding to a direct question from the Johnson county Sun for a published profile:

"I am opposed to gay marriage and I support the current law (K.S.A. 23-101) which defines marriage as between "one man and woman." I do not support any changes or amendments to this law. This law has been upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court, and the duty to define marriage continues to remain with the democratically elected Kansas Legislature. I will continue to uphold that duty and support the traditional definition of marriage."

In March 2005 he voted to move the proposed amendment forward in the house. He did change his final vote in April. But the ammendment passed anyway.

HE VOTED "no" BUT HE DIDN'T OPPOSE THE AMENDMENT. Below is his comment published in the Lawrence Journal World. ""The more I thought about it, the more I came to see this as an unnecessary exercise to put the state through," said Yoder, who was KU student body president in 1998-99. He graduated from KU School of Law in 2002.
Yoder said he received 500 e-mails and more than 100 telephone calls in response to voting against the amendment.
"But the overwhelming bulk of them were from the Wichita area -- outside my district," he said. "And I'd surveyed my district via e-mail and found that more are opposed to the amendment than in support of it. I couldn't see codifying something in the constitution that didn't have majority support."

Did the coalition do anything to seek the opinion of Yoders opponent in this race, Alex Holsinger?

I am disappointed in this seemingly shallow endorsement.

Thomas Witt said...

Hi Gary,

I won't comment directly on the specific endorsement of Yoder or any other candidate. However, I think it's important that all readers of this blog understand the endoresement process Kansas Equality PAC used to reach its decisions.

Our PAC, which is made up of representatives of each of the seven Kansas Equality Coalition chapters, reviewed the voting records, questionnaire responses, and public statements of all House candidates. For many races, there was a lively debate within the PAC about whom to endorse and on what grounds. Not all PAC representatives agreed on every endorsement, but all did agree to support the majority vote of the PAC.

I'd like to emphasize that the process used by the PAC was inclusive of all views. We have members from every corner of the state, and encourage as much participation and as open a process as possible. I can assure you that the endorsement process was not shallow - far from it!

I encourage you to join the Equality Coalition (assuming you haven't done so), and ask your local chapter to appoint you to the PAC or any other committee that you have an interest or a passion for. The success of this statewide organization rests squarely on its members and their participation in all we do.

Thanks for your comments!

Thomas Witt
Chair, Kansas Equality Coalition
chair@kansasequalitycoalition.org
316-683-1706

JeffW said...

Gary -

You asked "Did the coalition do anything to seek the opinion of Yoders opponent in this race, Alex Holsinger?"

Every candidate was sent a questionnaire to answer. Follow up calls were made to those who had not returned them by the requested date to make sure the questionnaire was received and if it had been sent back.

I have checked and Mr. Holsinger did not respond to the questionnaire.

discriminated against said...

I would like to point out that Yoder did return his questionirre either. So waht information was used to make this endorsement? Not his voting record.....Alex Holsinger has been to two local KEC Meetings and I have never seen Kevin Yoder at any. As a member of the KEC I whoel heartedly disagree with the endorsement in the 20th district. Alex Holsinger is the better candidate.

Diane Silver said...

First, thanks to everyone for their comments. I appreciate your interest in posting to this blog. Not only that, but it is good to see so many people deeply concerned about electing people to the Kansas House who will vote for fair laws for all Kansans.

I'm staying out of this because I was merely the conduit of information and did not participate in the PAC decisions.

Just a point of clarification...
Discriminated Against, did you mean to say that Yoder did NOT return his questionnaire either? I think you left out a word.

Thanks to everyone for your passion for truth and fairness.

Gary E. Bachman said...

I appreciate the follow up to my questions. I'm disappointed that Mr. Holsinger did not reply to your questionairre. I am coming to understand that the pressure and demands of running for political office are much more time consuming than most would imagine. (and even fewer would tolerate...)

As an opportunity to grow through this process, would it be possible to post the questions that were asked of candidates?

And perhaps it would be possible to see the specific responses of Mr. Yoder. I have perhaps miss-characterized his position and am curious to his true thoughts on issues such as equal opportunity for gay and lesbian couples relative to the same benefits my wife and I derive through our marriage.
Peace (but not too much)

GEB

discriminated against said...

Yes I did in fact leave out NOT thank you!

Anonymous said...

KEC endorsed a similar candidate in the 65th District race in Geary County. Barbara Craft voted against the Kansas Marriage Amendment, but only because she couldn't get part B removed. Had she been able to do that, she would have voted for the amendment because she doesn't believe gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage equality. I don't have newspaper quotes to back me up, but it was generally understood in the local community in 2004 that that was her position.

On the other hand, the Democrat Candidate, Melody Saxton, was openly a supporter of LGBT civil rights across the board. She even when to the Xcalibur Club in Junction City, shook hands, and spoke with the patrons to help get out the vote for her campaign. Barbara Craft wouldn't be caught dead in a bar which only had LGBT clients! Melody won Geary county but lost the race by 73 votes thanks to the portion of the district in Wabaunsee County.

LGBT Kansans could have had a major supporter in the legislature for our legal, economic, political, and social rights, but we don't. And KEC didn't endorse her. Humm... makes you wonder what they were smoking when they came up with their endorsements..

Moreover, because I sent an announcement to the Kansas Rainbow List and our local Yahoo Groups list informing people about Melody, The Flint Hills chapter of KEC is being censured by the state organization. NO WHERE did I say that the local KEC chapter was endorsing Saxton, I just pointed out the facts and allowed people to think for themselves. Several LGBTs form the Junction City area thanked me for takign the time to share the knowledge I had gained about what was happening in their district, and they too ask what criteria was beign used by KEC.

Apparently thinking for one's self or even having an open and frank discussion about what went wrogn with the KEC PAC endorsements and learning from it is not something tolerated by the heavy-handed administrative style of the current KEC leaders. Additionally, it is more than obvious that those responsible for the PAC weren't aware of the first rule of grassroots organizing: in order to be effective you have to DIALOGUE with a cross-section of local people -- more than just whomever sits on the PAC committee because no one else wants to.

I am glad to hear that we were not the only local community who is questioning the KEC PAC. Huge issues exits here about the direction KEC has chosen to go, the political organizing structure being imposed, philosophical approaches to what is/is not good for the community, and respecting people's right to think for themselves.

Regretably, these discussions will not take place in an fashion that allows people to learn from one another and grow and this is truly sad for the LGBT community in Kansas. On the other hand, Tom Witt has publically stated to members of our chapter that there is no such thing as a "LGBT community," which, in my humble opinion, just shows how little he is qualified to lead a state-wide organization or understands our political history built over the past century. A lot of things happened before Stonewall that were truly revolutionary...much of what has happened since hasn't even been able to lit a fire soaked with gas.

I think it is time for a revolution based on social, economic, cultural and racial justice! Not a bunch of Barbara Craft-type politicans giving us the crumbs off the table.

Anonymous said...

KEC endorsed a similar candidate in the 65th District race in Geary County. Barbara Craft voted against the Kansas Marriage Amendment, but only because she couldn't get part B removed. Had she been able to do that, she would have voted for the amendment because she doesn't believe gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage equality. I don't have newspaper quotes to back me up, but it was generally understood in the local community in 2004 that that was her position.

On the other hand, the Democrat Candidate, Melody Saxton, was openly a supporter of LGBT civil rights across the board. She even when to the Xcalibur Club in Junction City, shook hands, and spoke with the patrons to help get out the vote for her campaign. Barbara Craft wouldn't be caught dead in a bar which only had LGBT clients! Melody won Geary county but lost the race by 73 votes thanks to the portion of the district in Wabaunsee County.

LGBT Kansans could have had a major supporter in the legislature for our legal, economic, political, and social rights, but we don't. And KEC didn't endorse her. Humm... makes you wonder what they were smoking when they came up with their endorsements..

Moreover, because I sent an announcement to the Kansas Rainbow List and our local Yahoo Groups list informing people about Melody, The Flint Hills chapter of KEC is being censured by the state organization. NO WHERE did I say that the local KEC chapter was endorsing Saxton, I just pointed out the facts and allowed people to think for themselves. Several LGBTs form the Junction City area thanked me for takign the time to share the knowledge I had gained about what was happening in their district, and they too ask what criteria was beign used by KEC.

Apparently thinking for one's self or even having an open and frank discussion about what went wrogn with the KEC PAC endorsements and learning from it is not something tolerated by the heavy-handed administrative style of the current KEC leaders. Additionally, it is more than obvious that those responsible for the PAC weren't aware of the first rule of grassroots organizing: in order to be effective you have to DIALOGUE with a cross-section of local people -- more than just whomever sits on the PAC committee because no one else wants to.

I am glad to hear that we were not the only local community who is questioning the KEC PAC. Huge issues exits here about the direction KEC has chosen to go, the political organizing structure being imposed, philosophical approaches to what is/is not good for the community, and respecting people's right to think for themselves.

Regretably, these discussions will not take place in an fashion that allows people to learn from one another and grow and this is truly sad for the LGBT community in Kansas. On the other hand, Tom Witt has publically stated to members of our chapter that there is no such thing as a "LGBT community," which, in my humble opinion, just shows how little he is qualified to lead a state-wide organization or understands our political history built over the past century. A lot of things happened before Stonewall that were truly revolutionary...much of what has happened since hasn't even been able to lit a fire soaked with gas.

I think it is time for a revolution based on social, economic, cultural and racial justice! Not a bunch of Barbara Craft-type politicans giving us the crumbs off the table.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Renner - why did you post your response twice?