Democrat John Willoughby recognizes it would be a long shot if he won the House race in District 100.
The 80-year-old educator plans to be in Africa for the latter part of October and perhaps even for the election, leading a seminar on entrepreneurship during prime campaigning season.
He defines himself as a moderate who is often more at ease with moderate Republicans than he is with more liberal Democrats. He said he decided to run simply because he wanted to offer voters a choice.
His opponent, Republican Daniel Hawkins, says he is a conservative who believes in limited government and personal responsibility. He says he decided to run in 2006 after watching then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius attempt to bring universal health care to Kansas.
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The District 100 seat is open because redistricting placed incumbent Republican Rep. Mario Goico in District 94, where he is unopposed. District 100 covers a narrow strip of west Wichita that runs from Maple to 37th Street North, roughly between Tyler and Maize roads.
Hawkins, 51, is an employee benefits insurance consultant. He received his bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University.
He says he is a conservative who believes in limited government and personal responsibility. He was drawn to politics by health care. “When the redistricting came up, I felt the time was right; it was time for me to run. Health care is still an issue and it will be for awhile. My experience leads to my candidacy.”
He said he is “dead set against Obamacare. I think we have to stop Obamacare at every level we can.”
Hawkins said he would work to limit government.
“We have to get the government reined in,” Hawkins said. “I’m for personal responsibility. I am as staunch conservative as you can be.”
Willoughby, 80, is a Rhodes Scholar, a retired college administrator and dean and currently a volunteer mentor with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), which prompted his trip to Africa. He received his bachelor’s from Yale; his master’s from Oxford and his doctorate from the University of Rochester.
“If I were elected, I would be fighting for whatever could be salvaged and work for the reversal of the state’s tax plan which is going to be deadly,” Willoughby said. “I’d work to compromise and increase civility and work across the aisle.”
Willoughby said the two parties need to have a better working relationship.
If elected, Willoughby said he would work on passing an amendment to the state constitution limiting the amount of money political candidates can spend.
“I would get an amendment saying people are people and corporations are corporations. There currently is no protection in spending money or restricting the amount of money candidates can spend,” he said.