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Banks, Houston vie to represent District 89

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, at 8:01 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, at 8:56 a.m.

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Roderick Houston

Age: 50

Occupation: Pastor

Education: Some college

Experience: None

Phone: 316-691-8450

E-mail: rep.houston@gmail.com

Website: www.roderickhouston.com

1. Require businesses that receive state contracts to fill a certain percentage of their workforce with Kansas workers and create a proposal to help Kansas small businesses, women- and minority-owned businesses be more competitive in applying for state contracts, and enhance job training programs to aid laid-off workers in preparing for a changing economy.

2. These cuts are not good for Kansas. Because of the excessive amount of the cuts, it is projected that the tax bill will put our state $2.5 billion in debt, which will probably require more cuts to our school funding and social services for our elderly and our disabled and it will increase the tax burden on lower income working families.

3. With approximately 365,000 Kansans that have no insurance or are under insured, I think we need to make it a priority to help those in need.

4. No. It leaves an open door for a partisan bench and corruption. There needs to be a system that will allow candidates to be appointed by a bi-partisan group of their peers based on their character, credentials and accomplishments.

5. I do not support this right now because I think more research needs to be done before determining to allow guns on college campuses. Although there are many mature adults returning to college, there are many young people that are still maturing and learning to be responsible, and I think that should be taken into consideration before we allow them to freely walk around with a deadly weapon.

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Emanuel Banks

Party: Republican

Age: 42

Occupation: Network administrator

Education: College educated in computer science.

Experience: None

Phone: 316-871-4427

E-mail: abu_naml@hotmail.com

1. I would work toward nullification of federal free trade agreements such as NAFTA, GAAT and CFTA. I would try to stimulate local businesses in the state by removing burdensome laws and regulations that cripple them.

2. Yes, because it is hoped that by decreasing taxes, business will be stimulated in the state.

3. Yes. Kansas should expand its Medicaid services to support its citizens.

4. Kansas should have a bi-partisan committee that appoints and confirms both appellate and Supreme Court justices.

5. Yes. I would support this sort of act due to the fact that these people have demonstrated that they are able to do so safely.

More online

To see where the candidates stand on issues ranging from abortion to immigration, go to the online voters guide at www.Kansas.com/politics.

More information

Where candidates stand on the issues

House District 89

This district covers part of north-central Wichita.

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

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

3. The Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act allows states to decide whether to opt in to expansion of Medicaid for low-income citizens. Should Kansas participate in the expansion?

4. Would you support the governor appointing and Senate confirming appellate court judges?

5. Do you support letting qualified people carry concealed weapons on college campuses?

Both candidates running for the open House seat in District 89 say they want to help others overcome their circumstances and deal with government bureaucracy.

Emanuel Banks, a Republican, and the Rev. Roderick Houston, a Democrat, seek to replace Democratic Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, who did not run for re-election. District 89 includes parts of northeast Wichita, Park City and Kechi.

Banks, 42, who has run for the House before, became blind when he was 30. The father of four was trained in computers but is now a full-time student majoring in holistic health care.

“We can suffer through life,” Banks said. “But with help and perseverance, you will eventually succeed. I want the people here to be successful.”

Houston, 50, says he also has a heart for the people. He worked in security at Wichita public schools for 25 years and has been pastor of Mount Olive Tabernacle of Praise Church of God in Christ for eight years. He defeated two other Democrats for the party’s nomination in the August primary.

A tax warrant issued in 2009 by the state Department of Revenue sought a little more than $7,000 from Houston for 2005 and 2006 taxes, records show. Houston said that stemmed from miscommunication between the person who did his taxes and the state. He said he paid off the amount as soon as he was aware of the issue, in July 2009.

“We hope that we can help people in similar situations,” he said. “There are a lot of people that need some help.”

The candidates differ on Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to cut income taxes.

Banks is happy with the cuts, although he thinks the sales tax should be cut more gradually than what is planned.

“I do not believe you should be taxed for your work,” Banks said.

Houston said the governor’s tax cuts are a mistake.

“The tax plan is not good for all Kansans,” he said. “The middle class, the working class and the lower class will pay more taxes. They will lose some benefits and lose some tax credits.”

Houston labels himself a Democrat. Banks calls himself a Constitutionalist.

“I believe in limited government, which means that the government is not involved in all aspects of life,” Banks said.

Both candidates say they want what they think is best for students in the area and throughout the state. But they differ on approach.

Both view a state balanced budget as a must. But Houston sees this balanced budget opening up funds for education. He wants to give teachers higher pay and fewer students. He also wants to make sure each new teacher has a mentor, which he feels will ensure they stay in the profession.

Banks said he wants to eliminate the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind act and give teachers “more say in their curriculum and more power in the classroom.”

Banks and Houston are both graduates of West High School; Houston also attended East High School.

They agree that education is paramount to success, and both want to see students achieve in both the K-12 system and the post-secondary arena.

Both candidates also agree that post-secondary education will help attract businesses to Wichita and Kansas. But they have differing opinions about other factors that could help draw employers to the area.

Banks said he wants to remove tax incentives; Houston said incentives would be negotiable.

Both candidates say property taxes should not increase.

And the two Wichita natives agree on the strength of the family and legislation that helps the underserved.

Houston said the best piece of legislation signed into Kansas law this year is Caylee’s Law, prompted by the disappearance and death in Florida of Caylee Anthony.

“This bill makes it a crime for failing to report the disappearance of a child and failure to report the death of a child,” he said. “I advocate for young people and juvenile justice.”

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