Miranda Allen is trying to fight off labels in her first run for office, for state senator in the newly redrawn District 32.
She says she believes in conservative fiscal planning, but she thinks the tax cuts signed by the governor and approved by her opponent, Sen. Steve Abrams, are fiscally irresponsible. She thinks it will create a budget deficit.
“They say they’re fiscal conservatives,” she said of those who favored eliminating nonwage income taxes on certain businesses and cutting individual income taxes.
Allen owns RSI, which provides safety consulting to telecommunications providers across the country. She says income tax cuts will not create jobs for her business — only an increase in demand for services will. She would have supported, for example, a Kansas Works program that would have charged new businesses a tax only on their sales within the state.
“The overall cost of doing business with Kansas is expensive,” Allen said. “We need to sit down with businesses and find out what their needs are.”
Allen also has been fielding calls from people who want to know why Kansans for Life hasn’t endorsed her. She said she’s glad they’re calling.
“Just because groups endorse someone does not mean that we don’t support the cause,” she said. “One thing I say is look at the candidate and what they’ve done.”
Allen questions why state senators who think that adoption is a great alternative to abortion voted to cut the Kansas tax credit for adoption. All three of Allen’s children are adopted. She said she follows the Methodist Church doctrine on abortion: “We don’t think abortion is a good option,” but there are situations for the life of the mother and when the baby can’t live outside the womb when women should have the ability to have an abortion, she said.
“That is between them and their God. They have to work that out when they’re done with this life,” she said.
Allen decided to get into the race after her district was redrawn. She had been the campaign manager for state Sen. Ruth Teichman in their common District 33. Then her hometown, Kiowa, became part of District 32. Allen had planned to run for office someday.
“The time was right for me to do this on my own and not compete against Ruth,” Allen said. “That is a new district to my opponent. ... It’s a unique opportunity where I live in those areas that were District 33 previously and yet I understand economic development to bring” to the other counties.
Allen is married to an Air Force veteran, Stephen Allen, and they have three children. The two older children were adopted from South Korea, where the Allens lived for a year when Stephen was stationed there.
When the Allens eventually settled back in Miranda’s hometown of Kiowa in 2005, she took over the family business, but he couldn’t find a job. In the years since then, the situation has turned around completely, she said.
“There is so much economic impact right now with all the things that are going on in our area,” Allen said, noting in particular a boom in the oil and gas industry. “You couldn’t find a job five years ago, and now we can’t find people to work.”
As president of Barber County Economic Development, she has helped bring V-plan transmission lines to the area to provide reliability in the grid and eventually help export wind energy from Kansas to other states. She said she was also active in recruiting Flat Ridge Wind Farm to Barber County and other parts of Kansas. "It will further allow Kansas to export our natural resources, wind primarily,” she said. “It’s crucial we do that in Kansas."
Allen said she serves on local and regional oil and gas planning committees that work to come up with strategies that benefit business and the community. For example, the groups look at sustainable options such as setting up housing for transient workers that would transition to senior housing for the long term, so it’s not just “temporary housing, so the community can continue to grow and thrive,” Allen said.
She said economic development is also connected to education. “We continue to cut education. ... If we don’t have the human capital, we can’t get and retain businesses,” she said.
Allen’s earliest career was in social work, and she said she has "a passion and unique insight into social service aspects." She believes in “workfare” instead of welfare: that everyone who receives a welfare check should work 40 hour a week – either paid or for a nonprofit.
“They need to go out and be productive members of society. We need to stop the cycle of welfare,” she said. “Our rolls have just gone up drastically over the past 40 years. That’s something we have to reverse.
“We have to as a society ... say everyone needs to be part of the solution. ... We need to help people and empower them and not enable them."