Candidates vie for 10th district seat
Unlike the contentious attorney general's race this year or the 10th district Kansas House of Representative campaign two years ago, this year's race for the seat doesn't include mudslinging.
Two years ago when incumbent Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City was running for re-election, his opponent used several tricks including mailings and church appearances in an attempt to unseat Holland. Not so this time around.
"I don't like negative campaigns," said Roy Dunn, a Franklin County Republican who is running against Holland. "I'm not going to be a mudslinger and go personal."
Holland is pleased by the much different campaign environment this time around.
"I actually know my opponent, Roy Dunn," said Holland. "He's a county commissioner down there and I've had conversations with him. Roy's a gentleman and I think he's a quality individual.
"This is my second re-election campaign," he said. "It has been turned upside down from '04."
Also new this year is a third candidate. Robert Garrard is a Libertarian candidate from Edgerton. All three candidates think taxes are at the top of the list of concerns.
"Cognitive issues would be property taxes," said Holland. "I'm hearing a lot about that going door to door, especially from seniors. I would like to see a property tax freeze for certain seniors. I think you'll see a very passionate discussion on that in the Legislature."
Dunn also thinks taxes are out of line.
"I decided to run because I've got some different political views than the incumbent on taxes," said Dunn. "He's consistently supported any new tax that comes along."
Of course, Garrard has an even more radical view on taxes with his Libertarian view of eliminating state income and property taxes.
"In the meantime, I'd be happy just to accomplish whatever reductions we can get through," said Garrard.
The big issue this past Legislative session was school funding, which was finally approved. Dunn isn't sure the money is there to fund it.
"I think one of the main issues is taxes in general," said Dunn. "Just passed a school plan for $466 million. That's a big chunk. I don't know if the revenues will be there for that. I think it's necessary to have the best education we can and it should be fully funded, but I'd like to see revenue increase, such as from gambling."
Holland supported education funding and plans to continue.
"I've heard rumblings that some are going to try and repeal the school funding plan," said Holland. "I will be working diligently to keep education funded."
He's also worried about another education issue.
"I'm really particularly concerned about No Child Left Behind," said Holland. "I'm going to make some inquiries about unhooking from that. It could be a financial disaster down the road."
Garrard said he wants government out of education and medical coverage completely.
Another reason Dunn is running is that he doesn't feel like Franklin County has been represented since redistricting took place.
"Probably more than taxes is that Franklin County hasn't had a voice in Topeka," said Dunn. "It's time we had a voice. A Republican has less chance of prevailing in District 10 because of south Lawrence being in the district. It's evenly distributed between Republican, Democrat and Independent, but south Lawrence is Liberal. I'm more conservative or moderate."
Holland hopes to continue serving the district as he has for four years.
"I'm running again because No. 1, I enjoy serving the people of District 10 and No. 2, I feel I've been effective in getting Legislation passed," said Holland. "That's my passion and I want to continue doing that."
An example of that is Legislation passed this past session that dealt with employer misclassification. He said construction companies were getting around withholding taxes, unemployment insurance, etc., to the tune of $40 million in lost tax revenue in 2004.
"Obviously, it's highly corrosive to companies trying to compete in that industry," said Holland.
Voters will decide the District 10 state representative in Tuesday's election.