House District 96 in south Wichita has experienced some border shuffling.
Court-ordered redistricting left the district’s current representative, Republican Phil Hermanson, to run against another incumbent, Democrat Geraldine Flaharty, in District 98.
That leaves newcomers Republican Rick Lindsey and Democrat Brandon Whipple vying to represent the district.
“I had no intention on being in this race until the redistricting,” Whipple said. Because the districts were decided by court, he added, the boundaries were based on numbers and not on politics.
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Lindsey said he had already decided to run before the district boundaries were decided. He was shifted from District 98 to 96.
A little less than one-half of the residents in District 96 come from Districts 97 and 98. District 96 is now drawn into a rough square with Pawnee, 47th Street, Meridian and Hydraulic serving as borders.
Although both candidates now live in south Wichita, they come from different backgrounds. Lindsey grew up on a farm outside Eureka. Whipple, the son of a carpenter, was raised in Dover, N.H. Lindsey studied business at Baker University. Whipple earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wichita State University. He is currently finishing his dissertation for his doctorate in leadership.
Whipple, 30, who teaches part time at Tabor College, has worked in education and human services; Lindsey, 46, who works in loss prevention at Diamond Security, has managed businesses and worked in law enforcement.
Both candidates say they have a passion to help others. Lindsey serves in the U.S. Navy Reserve and volunteers at a prison ministry. Whipple has volunteered at South High School and the South Wichita Business Association.
Both men believe in their district and want what they believe is best for their constituents.
For both, that means not raising property taxes.
“I would like to see them (property taxes) go lower,” Lindsey said. “Keeping in mind that we have to fund essential services like education and senior services.”
Lindsey and Whipple also want to see jobs and businesses come to Kansas. Both men are proponents of tax incentives for businesses coming into the state. Whipple wants to give those incentives only to companies that are creating jobs in Kansas. Lindsey believes tax cuts are key to attracting businesses.
“Before recent tax cuts, Kansas was not competitive to surrounding states,” Lindsey said. He believes these cuts will help attract jobs and businesses. He said he also wants to reduce regulations.
Both men say they support higher education and the need for technical training. They see employee skills as going hand-in-hand with attracting companies.
Whipple did not support the recent tax cuts. He said, “Middle class tax cuts stimulate the economy much better than just cuts to the most wealthy. If we are going to cut taxes anywhere, we should cut it on foods.”
Lindsey is supportive of the recent income tax cuts but said he did not support lowering the sales tax.
Gov. Sam Brownback said last week that he has not ruled out trying to keep the sales tax at the current rate rather than letting it drop as scheduled next year.
Whipple said too much money has been taken from education. “Schools are being funded at the same level as they were 11 years ago,” he said. “I want to make sure in the next budget we restore revenues back to education. We want to make sure our (south side) schools are just as well funded as other schools.”
Lindsey said he also is concerned about education. He does not support any cuts to education, but he wants to examine the costs, funnel money toward the classroom, lower administrative costs and “streamline the regulatory climate imposed by the federal government.”
Both candidates say they are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and believe that citizens have the right to carry guns.
“I believe we have enough regulations,” Lindsey said. “We need to do what we can to make lives better for Kansans. To do that we need to create more jobs and make our state more competitive.”
Whipple, who also wants jobs to come to Kansas, calls himself a moderate. “I don’t buy into ideology as much as I buy into common sense,” he said. “Overall, I feel the south side needs a voice of common sense.”