The Eagle editorial board continues today with its recommendations for the Kansas House, districts 91 through 105. We offer these recommendations as information to consider as you make up your own minds about the candidates:
Republican incumbent Brenda Landwehr is our pick in this west Wichita district. Though we disagree with her on some issues, such as her lack of support for school-funding increases, Landwehr is a valuable voice in the Legislature in other key areas, particularly child welfare. She also has championed local priorities, such as graduate medical education in Wichita, and is a powerful force in Topeka. To her credit, Landwehr is upfront about her views and votes. "You know where I stand," she said.
Democrat Dan N. Manning also is a good candidate, though he has only lived in the district about a year. The West Point graduate's top priorities are attracting jobs and education. He supported the temporary sales-tax increase, noting that it was needed to keep the education system strong.
Democratic incumbent Nile Dillmore is the clear pick in this Riverside-area district. Dillmore, who has been a state lawmaker since 2001, can be counted on to think through issues and reach balanced, reasoned decisions. He is the type of lawmaker we need more of in Topeka. One of his priorities is revamping the tax structure. He would like to broaden the tax base by eliminating some exemptions and, thus, be able to lower tax rates.
His opponent, Republican James A. Woomack , is making his third run for this office. His priorities include jobs, streamlining government and reforming education funding.
Democratic incumbent Melany Barnes is the clear choice in this west-central Wichita district. During her time in Topeka, she has demonstrated a willingness to work with others to find solutions. She is a strong supporter of public education and wants to make sure the Legislature doesn't shift state education funding to local property taxes. She deserves to be re-elected.
Republican Benny L. Boman , who has run for this seat before, wants to repeal the sales-tax increase and cut state spending. Libertarian Randall Batson also wants to cut taxes and spending.
Democrat Brandon Whipple is a passionate candidate and the best choice to represent this southwest Wichita district. If elected, his priorities include jobs and protecting education funding. He wants to be an independent voice who always puts his district first. He would bring some needed energy and enthusiasm to Topeka.
One-term Republican incumbent Phil Hermanson made the news this year because of a traffic accident and DUI conviction. He blamed the accident on a reaction to prescription medication and said that no alcohol was involved. Hermanson opposes both spending cuts and tax increases and favors selling unused state assets to cover budget shortfalls.
Democratic incumbent Dale A. Swenson is the clear pick in this southwest Wichita district. Swenson is a valuable defender of labor and consumer rights and strong supporter of public schools. He switched parties last year after serving 13 years as a GOP legislator, saying that he lost confidence in the Republican approach to problems.
Oddly, his opponent, Leslie Osterman , also switched parties, having previously run unsuccessfully for this seat as a Democrat. He wants to lower taxes and make the state more business-friendly.
Democratic incumbent Geraldine Flaharty is a smart, dependable lawmaker who has ably served this southeast Wichita district since 1995. She deserves to be re-elected. Her priorities include jobs and education funding and providing services to the frail elderly and disabled community. She cares about people, and it shows.
Her GOP opponent, James Clendenin , is earnest but lacks Flaharty's understanding of issues and budgeting. He wants to cut business and individual taxes to spur job creation. Also running is Libertarian David Thomas .
Republican Gene Suellentrop is narrowly the better choice in this northwest Wichita district. He has served one year in the Legislature, having been picked last year by the Sedgwick County Republican Party to finish the term of former Rep. Jason Watkins. Suellentrop is thoughtful, and his experience as a business owner offers a valuable perspective in Topeka. However, his opposition to government intervention in the free market includes such local priorities as the Fair Fares program and efforts to retain local aircraft jobs.
Democrat Jane Byrnes is making her second run for this seat and is also a good candidate. She is not as ideological as Suellentrop, and her experience as a registered licensed dietitian gives her insights on health and wellness issues.