Elections

In District 83, recent grad challenges incumbent

Taxes and spending are the focus in a state House race between a House veteran and a recent college graduate in east Wichita and Eastborough.

Jo Ann Pottorff has been a member of the Kansas House since 1985. Kyle Amos just graduated from Creighton University.

The winner in their Republican primary in District 83 will face Democrat Sean Amore and Libertarian Gordon Bakken in the November election.

Pottorff was the only local Republican House member who voted for the temporary state sales tax increase in May. The increase passed and took effect July 1.

"I believed that a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase was a preferable option to continuing to cut essential services to the elderly and the disabled or continuing to cut education by losing teaching and invaluable resources in our children's classrooms," she said. "This would have undoubtedly forced local governments to raise property taxes — something I could not support."

Amos has said he felt he needed to run after the tax vote.

"In order to balance the budget, I feel like we need to cut spending and not raise taxes," Amos said. "We should actually lower them. It would allow Kansas to compete better with the neighboring states."

Pottorff said she couldn't remember when she last had a Republican primary opponent.

"It has been quite some time," she said. "It is unusual to see Republicans challenging Republicans at a time when we most need to unite in order to protect our common values and goals."

She is accustomed to winning her general election contests handily.

"I won the 2008 general election with 67.8% of the vote, and I won the 2006 general election with 68.2% of the vote," she said.

Amos said he is ready for the challenge.

"I really feel like our government is just taking a turn for the worse, both on the federal and state levels, and I just feel like it's my responsibility to be the conservative choice in the district," said Amos.

Although he has no true political experience, Amos said he has helped with Mike Pompeo's campaign for Congress.

"I would say since I'm going up against an incumbent, I definitely have to be the underdog, (but) I believe once we get the message out there, we definitely have the chance to win this election."

Pottorff feels comfortable with her position in this election.

"Because I communicate frequently with my constituents through newsletters and surveys, I believe I do a good job understanding their positions and representing them in Topeka," Pottorff said. " I believe they have confidence in my leadership, and I plan to work hard to continue to represent their interests."

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