2022 candidate forums: Blue Valley area Kansas House seats

Candidates in Blue Valley area Kansas House seats participate in a forum.

Abortion, fully funding schools and election integrity were some of the dominant discussion topics at two candidate forums hosted back-to-back by the Blue Valley Post on Wednesday evening at Village

Abortion, fully funding schools and election integrity were some of the dominant discussion topics at two candidate forums hosted back-to-back by the Blue Valley Post on Wednesday evening at Village Presbyterian Church in Overland Park.

The forums featured candidates vying for several Blue Valley area Kansas House seats.

Who are the candidates? These forums featured races in seven separate House districts for the Nov. 8 general election. Of the 14 candidates invited by the Post to participate, four — all Republicans — chose not to participate, either declining to appear or never responding to the Post’s requests.

The first forum featured six candidates in three House districts:

The second forum featured four candidates (all Democrats), whose Republican opponents chose not to appear:

How to watch the forums: A video of each forum is embedded in links below.

  • Immediately following the embedded videos are the questions each candidate answered during their respective forum.
  • Timestamps are included in bold to help navigate to areas of interest.

First forum: Districts 16, 27 and 29

Here are the questions the Post asked the Districts 16, 27 and 29 Kansas House candidates at the Sept. 28 forum.

  1. Certainly, the issue our readers want to hear candidates’ positions on the most involves elections. As a member of the Kansas House, you could be asked to debate and potentially vote on laws that impact the accessibility and security of the ballot in the state. Both local and state election officials have repeatedly vouched for the validity of recent election results. Are you confident in the integrity of Kansas elections? Do you think the legislature should pass any election-related laws this coming session? [12:16]
  2. Former President Trump has repeatedly made unfounded claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. Dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump’s campaign or his allies challenging election results around the country have been tossed out due to lack of evidence. Many of our readers have asked us to ask the candidates this question: do you believe former president Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him? If so, what evidence have you seen to lead you to that conclusion? [21:21]
  3. In August, Kansas voters rejected the “Value Them Both” amendment that would have eliminated the right to an abortion from the state constitution. If you are elected, it’s likely that this issue will come before you next legislative session. Are you comfortable with the current state of abortion access in Kansas? Would you like to see more restrictions on abortion in the state? Would you like to see access to abortion expanded? [26:02]
  4. Another issue that is likely to come up again next session is a so-called “parents bill of rights.” That measure was vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly and sustained by the House. The bill, among other things, aimed to give parents more power to review classroom materials, including lesson plans and books, and challenge things they found potentially objectionable. If elected, would you support this type of legislation if it were to come up again next session. Why or why not? [34:22]
  5. Twice in the past two years, Gov. Laura Kelly has vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would bar transgender athletes from participating in girls or women’s sports in high school or college. This issue may very well come up again, as it is proving to be a major talking point in the current governor’s contest. Would you vote for a ban on transgender athletes if elected? Why or why not? [43:14]
  6. Kansas ended this past fiscal year earlier this summer with nearly $1 billion in the state’s rainy day fund and more than $430 million in surplus tax revenue. Given that financial position but also given the many concerns the Post hears from readers about inflation and the economy … what would you like to see the state do with these excess funds? [50:30]

Second forum: Districts 8, 20, 28 and 48

Here are the questions the Post asked the Districts 8, 20, 28 and 48 Kansas House candidates at the Sept. 28 forum.

  1. Certainly, the issue our readers want to hear candidates’ positions on the most involves elections. As a member of the Kansas House, you could be asked to debate and potentially vote on laws that impact the accessibility and security of the ballot in the state. Both local and state election officials have repeatedly vouched for the validity of recent election results. Are you confident in the integrity of Kansas elections? Do you think the legislature should pass any election-related laws this coming session? [11:22]
  2. In August, Kansas voters rejected the “Value Them Both” amendment that would have eliminated the right to an abortion from the state constitution. If you are elected, it’s likely that this issue will come before you next legislative session. Are you comfortable with the current state of abortion access in Kansas? Would you like to see more restrictions on abortion in the state? Would you like to see access to abortion expanded? [16:30]
  3. Kansas ended this past fiscal year earlier this summer with nearly $1 billion in the state’s rainy day fund … and more than $430 million in surplus tax revenue. Given that financial position but also given the many concerns the Post hears from readers about inflation and the economy what would you like to see the state do with these excess funds? [22:46]
  4. Another issue that is likely to come up again next session is a so-called “parents bill of rights.” That measure was vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly and sustained by the House. The bill, among other things, aimed to give parents more power to review classroom materials, including lesson plans and books, and challenge things they found potentially objectionable. If elected, would you support this type of legislation if it were to come up again next session. Why or why not? [31:26]
  5. If elected, what will be your biggest priorities going into the next legislative session in January and do you think those align with the residents of your district? [38:50]