Huelskamp – Late Tuesday afternoon, in advance of the State of the Union speech, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, issued a press release announcing that his guest in the gallery for the speech would be a former Fort Riley soldier who was left a double amputee after being wounded from an improvised mine in Afghanistan. “While the president is using a bunch of political guests, including an inactive NBA player who averaged just 3.6 points per game, in a feeble attempt to score political points, I believe it more proper to focus on and not forget the inspiring heroes like Lt. (Nathan) Rimpf who actually put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country and our way of life,” Huelskamp said. Turns out President Obama also invited a severely wounded soldier to sit in the gallery. Huelskamp’s reaction? He tweeted: “Obama politicizes the military to end his speech. Totally expected, Mr. President.” The president might be the main show in the made-for-the-media production that is the State of the Union night, but Huelskamp was a sideshow. Worse yet, he seems to relish being the sideshow, no matter how much ridicule comes with it.
Judicial branch – The checks and balances provided by the three branches of government have served our state and nation well. There is a natural tension among the executive, legislative and judicial branches that serves to keep the power of any single branch from gaining too much control. That tension is particularly noticeable in Kansas right now – with both the legislative and executive branches targeting the judiciary – and it’s important that it not be allowed to boil over to the detriment of the state. It’s also important to remember that the courts serve a different purpose and different master than the other two branches. The governor and Legislature, with the help of voters, can change the laws or even amend the Kansas Constitution, but once that work is done, it’s up to the courts to make sure the intent and principles of those laws are upheld.
Anti-federal – Kansas is a state that sided with the federal Union in the Civil War. Kansas is a state that receives more federal funds every year than it pays in federal taxes. Kansas is a state with a history of providing the nation with reasonable, centrist leaders like Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Dole and Nancy Landon Kassebaum. Yes, we are in a slow recovery from a devastating recession. But there is no excuse for all this anti-federal rabble rousing on the part of our elected leaders. It costs money, divides our people and gets in the way of good government. It ought to stop.
Winfield Daily Courier
Open government – Legislation that calls for more government and more government spending isn’t exactly popular in many parts of the country these days. But a bill that would allow Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to create an open government unit within his office is something that is long overdue. Officials at the attorney general’s office – which proposes to create a two-person unit to investigate complaints about violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act and Kansas Open Records Act – say the initiative would cost about $160,000 a year. It would be money well-spent.