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Senate District 29, Democratic primary: Faust-Goudeau wants to be judged on legislative achievements

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, July 23, 2012, at 7:59 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, July 23, 2012, at 8:04 a.m.

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Oletha Faust-Goudeau

Age: 52

Occupation: Community activist

Education: Pre-law, Wichita State University

Experience: Elected to Senate in 2008; Kansas House, 2004-2008.

Phone: 316-210-4380

E-mail: oletha29th@aol.com

Website:

Are the income tax cuts Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a good thing for Kansas?

I believe that tax cuts should benefit working middle class families and people living on fixed incomes, not just big corporations and the wealthiest Kansans.

What further changes, if any, would you advocate in the state’s tax laws?

For the past three years, the state of Kansas has operated on a very tight budget and any surplus should be used as a tax relief to lower property taxes in a way that is fiscally fair and responsible.

What specific changes would you make to provide more good-paying and fulfilling jobs for Kansans?

We must stop outsourcing Kansas jobs and retain the ones we have. We must also help small businesses grow and retain sustainability by leveling the playing field for small, minority and women-owned businesses. I introduced Senate bill-268 to help achieve this goal by changing the requirements for such businesses when applying for loans helping these businesses flourish within our communities allowing them to pay employees a living wage with benefits.

How would you change the state’s laws or budget to improve K-12 education?

I voted for our 2012 budget to keep vital state services afloat this fiscal year, and although we were unable to restore full funding to public schools, I supported an increase of $40 million to provide a quality education to our children.

What was the most meaningful event or experience in your life, besides births and marriages?

In 2008, I was honored to have been elected as the first African American woman to serve in the Kansas Senate in our state history. I was truly humbled by this amazing experience and I am grateful to have the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of all people.

KC Ohaebosim

Age: 33

Occupation: Customer support specialist, Utility Division of Honeywell Inc.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Wichita State University

Experience: Has not held an elected office

Phone: 316-516-9517

E-mail: KCOhaebosim@yahoo.com

Are the income tax cuts Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a good thing for Kansas?

The tax cuts that the governor signed into law are a bad deal for Kansas. The reason is that the tax cuts will create a $2.5 billion deficit in a few years, forcing us to make major cuts in services down the road.

What further changes, if any, would you advocate in the state’s tax laws?

I feel we need to consider looking at a more progressive tax system here in our state.

What specific changes would you make to provide more good-paying and fulfilling jobs for Kansans?

The state should increase its efforts to attract new businesses so that we can broaden our state tax base. One way to do this is to lower taxes on businesses and also provide additional tax breaks to encourage companies to relocate to Kansas and to encourage entrepreneurship.

How would you change the state’s laws or budget to improve K-12 education?

The state should allocate more money from our state lottery system to fund education.

What was the most meaningful event or experience in your life, besides births and marriages?

The most meaningful day of my life was the day I graduated from Wichita State University. Ever since then, I’ve always encouraged young people who may have some doubts about going to college to go for it, because knowledge is definitely power.

Oletha Faust-Goudeau is a full-fledged Democrat. But she wants to make it clear that she doesn’t oppose Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on everything.

Just his wrong-headed plan to redistribute the tax burden.

“I did definitely appreciate the governor signing my bills into law on grandparents’ rights and continuation of health insurance coverage for the spouses and children of firefighters killed in the line of duty,” said Faust-Goudeau, 52, the incumbent District 29 state senator.

“But without question, I have stated often that his tax bill is certainly something I don’t support,” she said. “I opposed it because it unfairly forces 200,000 low income Kansans to choose between an earned income tax credit and a food sales tax rebate, working middle class families who are too rich to be poor and too poor to be rich.

“I don’t see the governor’s tax plan at all as one size fits all.”

Faust-Goudeau decries the “slippery slope” Brownback’s tax cuts have created for Kansans, and anticipates a budget crisis down the road when growth inevitably fails to follow the Brownback plan.

“I think that a lot of times we go down a slippery slope when our administration does something they feel is in the state’s best interests, and then they find out it totally devastates working middle class families and our entire state economy,” she said.

“I think that all of us, including from talking to some of my Republican colleagues, are on the same page on that one.”

Faust-Goudeau acknowledged her “bumps in the road” in 2010 and 2011 — her controversial driving stops by police and highway patrolmen for speeding, when she brandished a “challenge coin” from Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams in a thinly veiled attempt to use influence to escape the tickets.

In 2010, Faust-Goudeau also faced three property and housing violation cases at 2461 E. Eighth St. that went unpaid, but city central inspection officials confirmed this week those cases have been settled and dismissed.

“I truly regret that I handled that situation the way I did,” Faust-Goudeau said. “I sincerely apologize to law enforcement and the people of the 29th District.

“As I walk door-to-door to look people in the eyes to ask for their forgiveness and answer questions, the responses I’ve received for the most part are from people who know I’ve paid my fine and learned my lesson. The other issues are more about good education, lowering their property taxes, health care and jobs. I am not above the law.”

On education, Faust-Goudeau wants more money for schools.

“Four years ago, we were at about $4,000 base aid per pupil, and we are now at $3,886,” she said. “If we would have continued on the right path, we’d be at $5,000 per pupil. We need to fully fund education.”

She said that the state is drifting away from equal educational opportunity for all Kansas kids, and is monitoring the Kansas school finance lawsuit.

“I have always advocated for equal rights for all,” Faust-Goudeau said. “At the end of the day, I am hoping we will get some more money into the classroom and better incentive pay for teachers.”

She’s also a proponent of economic development through small-business growth.

“Growth starts at the bottom up with our small businesses,” Faust-Goudeau said.

So does a grass-roots campaign for re-election.

“I hope people will judge me on my legislative work,” she said. “I’m just determined and dedicated to continue promoting good policy that makes a difference in the lives of people in the 29th District and the state of Kansas.”

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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