The following are The Eagle editorial board’s recommendations in the contested races for Kansas Senate. We offer these recommendations as information to consider as you make up your own mind about the candidates.
Republican Michael O’Donnell is the best candidate in this central-west Wichita district. O’Donnell, who is in his first term on the Wichita City Council, defeated a better candidate, incumbent Jean Schodorf, in a bitterly fought GOP primary. His top priority is growing jobs by making Kansas a more attractive place for business. One way he wants to do that is by cutting corporate income taxes. “I consider myself a champion for the taxpayers,” he said.
Democrat Timothy Snow is concerned about conservative Republicans taking control of the entire Kansas government, which he says will lead to more limits on personal freedom and “Robin Hood in reverse” tax policies. He wants to help undo some of the damage that has already been done. He has a lot of passion but also has had legal and tax problems in his past.
Also on the ballot is Libertarian Dave Thomas.
Republican incumbent Les Donovan is narrowly the best choice in this race, as he seems a better ideological fit for this northwest Wichita and Sedgwick County district – though either candidate would be a good pick. Donovan, who was first elected to the House in 1992 and the Senate in 1996, has considerable influence in the Legislature, having chaired the Senate Transportation Committee for eight years and the Taxation Committee for the past four years. Though at the time he described the tax cut that was approved this past session as “the worst tax bill ever,” he is taking a wait-and-see approach to whether it will need to be changed because of a revenue shortfall.
Democrat Diana Cubbage is also very capable and could be a good lawmaker. She is a former school superintendent and education consultant who has been very active in the community. Her priorities include public education, KanCare (she said the Medicaid reform scares her to death) and taxes (she thinks the tax cuts need to be adjusted to prevent budget shortfalls). She is also concerned about the divisiveness in Topeka and wants to work to build consensus.
Democrat Keith Humphrey is the best candidate in this south Wichita district that includes part of Derby because of his extensive business background and impressive work ethic. Humphrey is president and CEO of two companies, Jet AirWerks and Jet AirParts, and understands the need for jobs and a good business climate. He also understands the importance of education and a skilled workforce. The Navy veteran also is committed to understanding and representing the district and has personally knocked on more than 9,000 doors during this campaign.
Two-term Republican incumbent Mike Petersen is also dedicated and sincere. He supported the state’s tax cut last session but also is concerned about the many lower-income families in this district.
Democratic incumbent Oletha Faust-Goudeau is the clear pick in this north Wichita district. She is skilled at reaching across the aisle to gain support for bills, such as one she championed that strengthens grandparents’ legal rights in child-in-need-of-care cases. She wants to continue advocating for job creation and education. Faust-Goudeau came under scrutiny last year for appearing to ask for special treatment during traffic stops and for housing-code violations. Those are serious concerns, but her dedication to the district and effectiveness as a lawmaker make her the best candidate.
Republican Kenya Cox is also capable and compassionate. Cox, who works as a constituent services representative of U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, believes that she can be more effective at representing the district by being in the majority party. Her top priority is jobs.
Libertarian Carl Kramer is also on the ballot.
Republican incumbent Susan Wagle is the best choice in this east Wichita district because of her leadership potential. If re-elected, Wagle is likely to become Senate president. If so, she would be the first Wichitan and the first woman to hold that office. Though some of her crusades can be cringe-inducing, having Wagle as Senate president could be of great benefit to this region.
Democrat Patrick Cantwell is enthusiastic and could also be a good lawmaker. He is concerned about the lack of bipartisanship in Topeka. “I believe we have to work together,” he said. His priorities include jobs, education and tax fairness.
Thursday: State House districts 81-90
Friday: State House districts 91-105
Saturday: State Senate
Sunday: U.S. House, Sedgwick County Commission, sheriff, District Court judge, Kansas appellate courts, fluoridation and watercraft ballot questions