Governor’s race – During an Election Night interview, Gov. Sam Brownback was asked why voters seemingly were unhappy – or at least divided – with current GOP officeholders, many of whom faced stiff challenges from low-budget and lesser-known opponents. The answer – and we know you’ll be surprised by this – is President Obama, who apparently is not only destroying the economy and the world, but who has also reached his hands deep into the Kansas GOP to create a rift. “Well, I think a big part of it is Barack Obama,” Brownback answered. “A lot of people are so irritated at what the president is doing, they just want someone to throw a brick.” That’s right. People are so irritated with Obama that 37 percent of Republican voters cast a ballot for Jennifer Winn, who hardly campaigned at all, instead of Brownback.
Pitted against a political nobody, the sitting governor only could muster 63 percent of the votes. Jennifer Winn, whose platform seemed fixated on legalizing marijuana and who only spent $13,000 on the trail, attracted almost 40 percent of the GOP tickets punched. That is a protest vote if we’ve ever seen one.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s massive tax-cut strategy plunged the state into an economic mess of revenue shortfalls, money grabs from transportation and other vital funds, deficit spending and downgraded credit ratings for the state. Amazingly, the governor has promised still-deeper tax cuts when there’s already a revenue crisis to address. It’s no wonder many Kansans who understand the subsequent threat to public schools and other state-funded services want new leadership.
Regents – Gov. Sam Brownback appointed three new members to the Kansas Board of Regents on Aug. 1, saying he thought they were the right people to help raise the profile of the state’s public universities, community colleges and technical colleges. “We aspire to be the best state in America and to do that you really need high-quality education, K-12 and higher,” the governor said. Brownback is right about that, and we hope he, veteran regents and the new appointees are successful in raising the profile of the state’s universities.
A key responsibility of the Kansas Board of Regents is to promote and raise the prestige of higher education in Kansas not only in national rankings but also among state legislators and other state leaders who influence funding decisions for those schools. To do that, it helps for the members of the regents to already have some statewide knowledge and clout of their own. Perhaps the two relatively unknown Kansans Brownback appointed as regents will grow into that role, but it’s hard to see them hitting the ground running to sell state leaders on the need to invest in the state’s system of higher education.
Medical pot – More than 40 years ago, when marijuana began to get popular in Kansas, the drug got caught up in the hysteria of the phony war on drugs. No drug is harmless, but marijuana also isn’t something so destructive that people who are in pain should be denied the relief it can bring. Kansas legislators should have the courage to do the right thing and help reduce the suffering.