Politics & Government

July 23, 2012

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

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.

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.”

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